08 September 2014 Print Companies

B&B: 'Why wouldn't you go LED UV?'

Rotherham's B&B Press installed a Sakurai LED press and changed the way it markets itself.

The press has been in operation for less than six weeks, but it has already had a profound effect on B&B Press in Rotherham. The company has changed how it promotes itself, claiming now to be the “UK’s first LED UV printing company”. Ignoring the claims from label or wide format printers, the installation of a four-colour Sakurai 470 LED in July backs up this claim.

Little more than a year ago, it had no intention of becoming the UK’s first LED UV printer. The company came to replace its oldest machines, according to a four-yearly replacement cycle that managing director Barry Liversidge has stuck to. It means the company gets a good price for the machine it sells on and that it stays abreast of the latest technology.

“We first become aware of H-UV when we looked to replace our four- and five-colour machines,” says business development director Dan Dean, “and that led us to LED during discussions with the press manufacturers.”

It led also to looking at installations of presses with new generation UV in Europe and Japan, taking samples of jobs before ordering the two presses from Sakurai, the company that has provided B&B’s presses for several iterations. The first press is in place, the five-colour will be delivered later this year after starring during a Sakurai open house at its Hounslow showroom.

The LED UV system has been provided by Baldwin and B&B Press is using Flint’s Xcura inks. “It was up and running exactly when we were told it would be,” says Dean. “There are a couple of extra cabinets to install, otherwise it’s exactly the same. We had a tremendous amount of help from Flint and have been producing jobs from day one.”

B&B ran its calculations on the ink prices provided a year ago. These have since fallen as the manufacturers have geared up production. Press operators used to the Sakurai have had no problem adapting to the new technology helped by retaining the same plates.

The big gain is that there is no spray powder to be cleaned up. Even with B&B’s attention to keeping its presses in top condition, spray powder accumulates wherever it can. Work that is printed on uncoated papers, and B&B is experiencing more of this as uncoated papers are popular in prospectuses and catalogues, comes out completely dry as advertised. But the company had noted a greater impact on other work.

There has been no problem matching colour across work printed on the conventional and LED presses. “But there was a difference on one particular reprint,” Dean explains. “It had a deep black cover with a filigree pattern on it. It looked good on the conventional press, but when we reprinted it LED, it looked fantastic. It is jaw droppingly different. We have shown it to clients who only want to talk about LED and its capabilities. For our sales staff used to conversations about price, this is a great development. And we know we have won work because we can print LED UV.”

While the fifth unit on the next press is not needed for a sealing coating, it will be used to print varnish effects, to print specials and metallics, which Dean hopes will be good enough to offer in place of foiling. B&B also intends printing on synthetic materials that it simply could not print on before.

“We have seen no negatives at all,” says Dean. “While the ink is more expensive we are not buying spray powder or aqueous coatings and don’t have the costs associated with cleaning the powder away. It’s not about why would you go LED UV, but why wouldn’t you?”

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Baldwin provides the LED for B&B

Baldwin provides the LED for B&B

The LED UV system has been provided by Baldwin and B&B Press is using Flint’s Xcura inks. “It was up and running exactly when we were told it would be,” says Dan Dean. “There are a couple of extra cabinets to install, otherwise it’s exactly the same. We had a tremendous amount of help from Flint and have been producing jobs from day one.”

B&B ran its calculations on the ink prices provided a year ago. These have since fallen as the manufacturers have geared up production. Press operators used to the Sakurai have had no problem adapting to the new technology helped by retaining the same plates.

The big gain is that there is no spray powder to be cleaned up. Even with B&B’s attention to keeping its presses in top condition, spray powder accumulates wherever it can. Work that is printed on uncoated papers, and B&B is experiencing more of this as uncoated papers are popular in prospectuses and catalogues, comes out completely dry as advertised.

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