The new machine, which begins production in earnest this week, will replace a Heidelberg Speedmaster SM74 and XL75. The latter was purchased at Drupa 2008 accompanied by a declaration by managing director Nigel Stubley that this would be the company’s last litho press.
This was because by the time the press needed to be replaced, digital printing would be productive and cost effective enough to take over from the senior process. However, a trip to Drupa last year led to a change of opinion.
“I spent two-and-a-half days there last year, hoping to find something that would allow us to go completely digital,” he says. “Before I went I set up appointments to make the most of my time, including one with RMGT because I’d seen that Precision Printing had invested in the Ryobi press.
“I could not make the figures work for any of the B2 digital presses, but the RMGT press was different. It looks like a B2 press rather than an SRA1 because it is so compact.
“We checked our work and also with paper merchants we use and both came up with the finding that 90% of work is on SRA sized sheets in this country.”
The new press comes with a Cron UVP 3632 platesetter as the existing platesetter could not produce the larger plate format. It is also a more efficient option as instead of needing to be placed in a separate air conditioned room, the platesetter can be positioned alongside the press.
The LED UV press runs without spray powder, leaving nothing to contaminate the platesetter. For lean minded Stubley, the time needed to walk to the plate room to fetch new plates, qualifies as a waste that is now eliminated. And as Apex Digital Graphics is supplying both pieces of equipment, Northend will only need to make one call should something need attention. Likewise it will be using Flint’s LED compatible UV ink as this is the consumable recommended by the press supplier.
The ink is delivered through Technotrans' Ink.line cartridges and can be left open in the ducts over night because there is no oxidation and the photo initiators are triggered only by a specific wavelength of light. Apex has a similar system at its Hemel Hempstead showroom.
Stubley says: “Our calculations suggested that this new machine would be more productive than our two existing B2 presses due to the SRA1 format, the printing speed, the latest makeready capabilities, and, most of all, because of the instant drying provided by the LED UV curing.
“We were able to visit the team at Precision Printing to see the Ryobi machines in operation. They had recently undergone the same investigations, and they had produced similar calculations prior to their purchase decision, which was very reassuring.”
However, instead of the long perfecting machines that the Barking company operates, Northend has opted for a five-colour machine. The run lengths do not justify a perfector says Stubley “but much of our work does require a fifth colour” he explains.
The makeready advantages along with PDS-E SpectroDrive inline quality control and four Technotrans Ink.line systems will deliver a less wasteful platform than the eight- and ten-year-old Speedmasters. The dream remains a competitive digital press. “The new press removes some of the wasteful nature of the litho process. Why if I want 1,000 sheets printed do I have to print 1,200 sheets? That will always be a challenge for litho compared to digital,” he says.
Nigel Stubley reckoned that after buying a Heidelberg XL75 at Drupa 2008, there would no new litho press and digital presses would become viable. But that has not proved viable and Northend has invested in a Ryobi 925 LED UV litho press.
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