Four-, six- and ten-colour B2 presses, eight and 11 years old, are being removed from the Barking factory to be replaced by an eight-colour RMGT Ryobi 928 perfecting press and a five-colour RMGT Ryobi 920. Both are equipped with LED curing systems to deliver fully dry sheets for same day turnaround, even with uncoated paper.
The SRA1 format will deliver eight A4 pages to view, double the format of the machines being replaced and with little increase in footprint. The company is switching plate production to two Cron platesetters, like the presses supplied by Apex Digital Graphics, running with UV presensitised plates.
“We believe there’s a 100% increase in the work we can get from these,” says chief operating officer Andy Skarpellis. He explains that the faster makeready will expand the capabilities of litho into shorter runs, easing pressure on the company’s HP Indigo digital machines which will be directed towards higher value personalisation and ultra short run work.
The new machines will also deliver the capacity to cope with demand from the Where the Trade Buys website. “It is doing exceptionally well,” says Skarpellis. “We can add uncoated papers to the options we can supply people for same day delivery into London or overnight elsewhere in the country.”
The format suits this type of work, meeting most of the requirements that Skarpellis would have for larger formats. “We get double the capacity than from B2 presses,” he continues. “B1 is completely different in terms machine size and cost and most sheets that we would print are cut down to the SRA formats.
“We looked at Heidelberg and Komori options, but it came down to buying a press that fits our needs like a glove. You don't buy a glove that you might grow into. The Ryobi is expanded from its B2 format, so retains that footprint, rather than cut down from a B1 press.”
Skarpellis was impressed with the engineering he saw on a week-long visit to the factory in Japan when the eight-colour press coped with the 18 live jobs he tested. “Every one was exceptionally good,” he says. “Sometimes better than conventional litho because of the LED UV on uncoated papers.” This also means a better match between the printed result on the UV presses and the Indigos than between Indigo and conventional presses on these substrates.
On the perfecting press, the first LED unit sits above the sheet after the fourth print unit so that the sheet is fully dry before it is turned. There is no need to protect either the sheet or impression cylinders when printing the reverse of the sheet.
Skarpellis has been watching the development of LED curing since its introduction at Drupa eight years ago, he says. He visited the Apex showroom as soon as an LED press was installed and has kept in contact since. The first of the new machines will arrive at the end of August with the five-colour press scheduled for installation in September. Both will be in the new livery introduced at Drupa, the first in the UK with the new styling.
It is the biggest order to date of the LED equipped presses for Apex. “It’s the culmination of what we have been doing over the last two to three years,” says Apex sales director Neil Handforth. “We have carried out a lot of customer demonstrations and have been making people aware of the advantages of LED curing. The level of interest is now phenomenal.”
Apex is also responsible for installation of two Cron 36-64GX platesetters able to expose and process 80 UV sensitive plates an hour. There is no quality difference between these and thermal plates, says Skarpellis, though there is a steep financial advantage. Precision will be using plates from the Cron Blackwood plate factory in China. “There is a huge financial difference,” he explains. “From what we have tested and researched we can’t see a quality benefit in staying with thermal.
“This is an investment about our customers. They are demanding a faster turnaround with quality as a given,” he says.
Chief executive Gary Peeling says: “If we are going to have successful offset business we won’t do it by doing the same thing we have done for the last 20 years, so we are going new and modern and looking forward to the opportunities greatly.
“We are working hard to make using more print simple for our customers. LED-UV allows us to produce wonderful looking results on uncoated substrates, which are increasingly popular. To compete, printing needs to be fast and simple. It is often the difference between printing or not from the customer perspective. This modern press technology allows that.”
The investment will not stop with the litho presses. Skarpellis is close to finalising details on finishing investment to include stitching, folding and value added systems. “We have enough guillotines,” he says. A trip to Drupa will finalise details as well as any additional requirements for its digital operation where Precision was among the beta customers for the Indigo 10000 B2 after the last show.
Precision Printing will welcome two new RMGT Ryobi SRA1 presses later this summer. They will replace a three press B2 set up and, thanks to LED UV, will introduce same day litho printing for customers of Precision and WhereTheTradeBuys into and overnight for customers in the rest of the country.
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The RMGT Ryobi 925 is a new model of the SRA1 press. It is built on the sturdy B2 press frame, and includes new feeder and styling that is now common across the press range, from B3 to B1+ format machines. The five-colour press for Precision includes LED UV and inline spectrophotometer, plate changing and will integrate with Precision's OneFlow workflow. The press will operate with UV plates exposed on one of two Cron platesetters that are being supplied by Apex Digital Graphics along with the press.
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