21 March 2016 Analogue Printing Technologies

Press suppliers consider the upgrade options

Printing press suppliers are developing ways to retrofit UV technology to existing commercial presses to breathe new life to these users.

Printers can turn to press providers to upgrade to new generation UV technology as an alternative to buying new or managing an upgrade project in-house.

The advantage is that there will be an assured integration and that the press supplier will be able to iron out any incompatibility issues.

As Steve Turner, sheetfed sales director at Komori UK, points out: “You can only get H-UV from Komori.” This means a matched package of technology, consumables, and the approved integration into the press control technology.

There is interest, Turner reports, a six-colour plus coater as the first UK press planned to make this transition. “As well as we are happy to sell a new press, we are as happy to upgrade a conventional press in the field.”

Likewise Heidelberg UK will manage the retrofit of LE-UV or LED-UV on XL generation presses, while directing inquiries for earlier machines and those from the CX/CD/SX portfolio to its ten-year partner IST. It too is working on specifications for the transition to new generation UV within the UK.

Sheetfed press specialist Matt Rockley says Heidelberg UK has handled a number of retrofits in the Scandinavian countries. “This is partly because LaserTryk is putting others under pressure to offer very fast turnaround,” he says.

Where web to print businesses promise same day delivery for jobs received by 11am, the instant dry sheet can save precious minutes in the process of finishing a job.

However, it is not the whole answer as LaserTryk has ordered conventional XL106 plus coaters to run alongside the eight-colour perfecting LE-UV press.

There are a number of clear reasons for printers looking to either buy a new generation UV press from new or to retrofit an existing machine. Working with IST ensures an implementation where there is correct shielding of the UV source, where the installation will meet health and safety requirements, including extraction systems if needed.

Rockley lists the reasons for a company to consider either the new or the retrofit route as a need to offer speed of delivery; to be able to print on uncoated materials; to offer same day web to print service; for printing on unusual materials for point of sale; and for a number of high quality printers that have to print on paper supplied.

The question is whether an upgrade like this is economically justifiable. The generation of presses with offline colour measurement, or where the investment to give a further five years’ working life to a ten-year-old press, makes no sense, at least in Europe.

In North America where there is a greater stock of older machines, and the pressure to run presses to maximum efficiency is perhaps less, there are multiple retrofit installations. “It is not such an industrialised market,” says Rockley.

In the UK the interest is definitely there he says. “We have done quite a few demonstrations since the new year,” he adds. One aspect is that a press equipped with UV brings the break even point of litho with digital a step lower “and a new litho press is less expensive than a B2 digital press”.

Apex Digital Graphics has stressed this, combining a Ryobi press with LED UV and Cron platesetter as a package that can compete effectively with a B3 digital press, let alone a larger machine. Unlike Komori, the retrofit option does not result in a factory level press.

“The Panasonic LED system we have developed is factory fitted and we do to sell it independently of the press,” says sales and marketing director Neil Handforth. “That doesn’t stop us working with other people that we already know like IST or Baldwin, but we do not offer the Panasonic system as a retrofit.

“At the moment we are very very busy with inquiries from customers asking about new machines.”

Like Rockley, Handforth questions the viability of adding the technology to a machine that is from a previous generation of technology. The problem is that recession slowed the replacement cycle and there are presses that are ten years old which might have been replaced four or five years earlier without the impact of recession.

Unless a machine has temperature controlled inking rollers and colour control, adding the new curing system makes no sense. “You have to take into account the current value of the press,” Handforth points out. “It would make more sense to trade and use the money as down payment on a new press. Otherwise you can be spending more on a press than it is worth. We will look and make a call on a press by press basis.”

Manroland Sheetfed is taking the same cautious approach. “We are taking more inquiries regarding upgrades to UV, and we can offer it,” says Manroland Sheetfed GB general manager Martin Hawley.

“We have a full package that’s available. Most are asking about LED because that seems to be the future, partly because there is some confusion about what’s going to happen with legislation relating to mercury vapour lamps.”

At present there is no immediate risk to UV lamps used on printing presses, nor that the lamps will be outlawed altogether. But perhaps in a decade or so, this may have changed.

The greatest interest, Hawley says, comes from printers with B2 presses. How difficult it is to change a press will depend on whether it was prepared by the factory. “We have to take it on a case by case basis,” he explains. “And the configuration will dictate how long a conversion might take. Currently B2 is the format that is attracting the most interest. These are printers that are also printing with digital presses.”

KBA likewise can offer a retrofit option, but sales director of sheetfed Chris Scully urges caution. “There are always people willing to over simplify. We don’t. You need to be aware of what needs to be done to make a press LED ready.”

KBA currently works with AMS, the US company that pioneered the retrofitting of LED UV to standing presses and has experience of hundreds of installations across a wide range of press types.

“The change is more convoluted than switching an ink,” says Scully, pointing to the need for temperature controlled rollers, washing systems, founts and solvents that are used. “A factory prepared press for UV has shielding in place and for the wiring looms. UV packaging printers understand this. Commercial printers need to take care.”

If a press is already running at 8,000-10,000 sheets per hour, there is unlikely to be a detriment. A press that has been running at 18,000sph, might find it difficult to run at these speeds on all papers.

“Printers must be prepared to accept a loss of production throughput in order to achieve the other benefits,” Scully says. “If you want something that ticks all the boxes, you should buy a new press.”

Those advantages are equally not fully understood or costed. The inks cost more, but this is balanced by lower consumption, elimination of coating and spray powder, lower energy consumption.

In addition for those with perfecting presses gain more: there is no marking, no need for protective jackets and greater control of the sheet in the delivery meaning faster production and the ability to print a full out sheet without gutters. “The technology is perfect for short run magazines, he says.

Scully likens the position to the early days of the Indigo digital press. Many early adopters were not entirely sure what they were for: short runs, personalisation perhaps. “Those printers were in effect waiting for their customers to come and say what they wanted printed on them, ” he says.

Presstek will offer an DI Eco-UV option using a single-lamp system from as its entry into commercial printing for UV. The company has a number of installations where standard UV has been added to the press as part of a coating system. Introducing this into the press expands the range of materials the press can print on and delivers fully dry sheets to compete with digital printing.

The press is already waterless, which delivers a higher colour gamut and has meant cleaner printing. DI Eco-UV becomes a natural extension. The company has chosen a unit with adapted UV lamp as a more economic option for its customers.

It includes a small control cabinet to sit alongside the press while the lamp unit itself slides into the delivery. When not running the lamp drops into a stand by mode to conserve power.

It was given a preview launch at the Print Show towards the end of last year and will receive a full launch at Drupa. The first machine has been sold and, says UK managing director Ian Pollock, there has been a great deal of interest both for new machines and for an upgrade path.

“The press has been extremely well received,” he says. “And printers have asked about the chance to upgrade in the field.”

A number of suppliers are lined up to supply inks with Presstek set up to recommend a supplier according to applications. ”We genuinely think this will work as the technology becomes mainstream,” says Pollock.

Sakurai already has a waterless litho system with LED UV running at Seacourt. There are also LED presses in operation at B&B Press in Rotherham and Vario Press in Slough. Further installations of the Baldwin developed technology are anticipated as the Japanese press supplier builds its UK support team.

Shinohara, part of the Chinese company owning Hans Gronhi, can also offer an LED equipped press through UK dealer Printers’ Superstore, but no UK printer has taken this option.

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Heidelberg's Matt Rockley

Heidelberg's Matt Rockley

Matt Rockley says: “We have done quite a few demonstrations since the new year. One aspect is that a press equipped with UV brings the break even point of litho with digital a step lower “and a new litho press is less expensive than a B2 digital press”.

Explore more...

New generation UV finds foothold in the UK

ANTHOLOGY Everything you need to know about new generation UV

Story 1 of 5

Apex Digital Graphics' Neil Handforth

Apex Digital Graphics' Neil Handforth

“The Panasonic LED system we have developed is factory fitted and we do to sell it independently of the press,” says sales and marketing director Neil Handforth. “That doesn’t stop us working with other people that we already know like IST or Baldwin, but we do not offer the Panasonic system as a retrofit.

“At the moment we are very very busy with inquiries from customers asking about new machines.”

Explore more...

ANTHOLOGY Everything you need to know about new generation UV

Story 2 of 5

KBA's Chris Scully

KBA's Chris Scully

“The change is more convoluted than switching an ink,” says KBA's sales director Chris Scully, pointing to the need for temperature controlled rollers, washing systems, founts and solvents that are used.

“A factory prepared press for UV has shielding in place and for the wiring looms. UV packaging printers understand this. Commercial printers need to take care.”

Explore more...

ANTHOLOGY Everything you need to know about new generation UV

Story 3 of 5

Manroland Sheetfed's Martin Hawley

Manroland Sheetfed's Martin Hawley

The greatest interest, Manroland Sheetfed MD Martin Hawley says, comes from printers with B2 presses. How difficult it is to change a press will depend on whether it was prepared by the factory.

“We have to take it on a case by case basis,” he says. “And the configuration will dictate how long a conversion might take. Currently B2 is the format that is attracting the most interest. These are printers that are also printing with digital presses.”

Explore more...

ANTHOLOGY Everything you need to know about new generation UV

Story 4 of 5

Presstek's Ian Pollock

Presstek's Ian Pollock

Presstek will offer an EcoUV option using a single-lamp system from as its entry into commercial printing for UV. The company has a number of installations where standard UV has been added to the press as part of a coating system.

It was given a preview launch at the Print Show towards the end of last year and will receive a full launch at Drupa. The first machine has been sold and, says UK managing director Ian Pollock, there has been a great deal of interest both for new machines and for an upgrade path.

Explore more...

ANTHOLOGY Everything you need to know about new generation UV

Story 5 of 5

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