Environmentally committed printer Blackmore is the first in the UK to order a B1 KBA Rapida 105 with AMS LED UV curing. It takes delivery of the four-colour machine at the end of January.
The order ends a year-long examination of the market, where Blackmore found itself attracted by the energy saving benefits of LED-UV as well as being able to cope with tighter turnaround times and printing on uncoated papers.
The Shaftesbury printer has specified the press with a thick stock option, allowing it to print heavier materials and N flute boards. It will replace a five-colour Speedmaster CD74. David Bland, director of marketing and sales, says: “We had been researching this investment for at least 12 months and that mean a thorough assessment of the new UV processes. We wanted to step up from to B1 to benefit from higher unit output per impression, and the reductions in run-up waste and faster processing that UV offers would help retain competitiveness in the shorter runs.
“Uncoated has been a huge success for us over the last three years. We have promoted our abilities to print on it and have won £1.25 million of new sales as a result. But this is not just about printing on uncoated.”
The environmental impact, thanks to lower energy consumption for drying as well as reduced waste, is an essential for a company looking to add Emas to its ISO 14001 certification. Energy savings are significant. “On the SM74 we are replacing, 60% of the power consumption is in the dryer,” says Bland. “And the price of electricity is only going one way.”
The flexibility of the machine and the LED-UV process means the company will be able to print on materials that have been difficult in the past, from standard 170gsm to folding boxboards and even polypropylene. This ability was thoroughly tested in what Bland calls the most impressive press trial he has ever seen.
The press will run with Flint inks. Apart from the work that Flint has done with KBA and AMS to ensure they print well, the Flint ink offers the best match across the KBA and the conventional Komori Lithrone that the company has “though we will have to be careful in our choice of paper” Bland adds. The Lithrone will handle the longer runs, though he points out that long runs are few for a business where average order value is just £2,200. It plans to add a digital press, not to offer digital printing as such, but to be able to print short run covers. It has also replaced the existing workflow with a Kodak Prinergy.
There will be a further benefit in the press room according to production director Nigel Hunt who says: “We will be able to print deeper stacks, because there is no heat in the sheets, which will save a lot of space throughout the downstream areas.” Being able to process sheets immediately rather than wait for them to dry will also save space as pallets can be worked on immediately.
The next step for Blackmore will be certification to the ISO 12647-2 through the UKAS endorsed BPIF scheme. The Rapida has been specified with Qualitronic closed loop quality control system. “We believe this changes everything,” says Bland. “As far as we can see there are no negatives to the process. This is instant litho.”
Customers will be able to judge at open days the company is planning for February, while the recruitment of an extra salesmen should add a £1 million to sales.
Blackmore undertook a year-long investigation of the options for LED-UV and the alternatives, selecting the KBA Rapida after what Bland calls the best press trial he has ever seen.
The company expects to save on energy and space because the problems of having to store uncoated jobs to dry in small stacks will be eliminated.
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