The Print Academy is on course to become the first B1 printer in the north of England to adopt LED UV. It is working with Flint to install an LED system on its six-colour Heidelberg Speedmaster CD104.
The company’s Bradford factory is now being prepared ahead of the upgrade to the press, aiming to be completed by the end of March or early April says managing director Justin McFarlin. “Over the last year we’ve been looking at LED UV after Flint came to us saying ‘we know you like trying something different’. We’d never been involved with UV before as a commercial printer.”
However the company has tried printing on Mirriboard using conventional inks and cling graphics. It has succeeded, but the adaptions needed on press has meant that it makes more sense for the business to farm this out.
Now it will be able to print this difficult material without problems. It will also be able to print jobs with heavy ares of solid on carton boards which previously have meant slowing the press to little more than makeready speed to avoid set off in the delivery.
“There’s a lot of work that we place out with other printers that we could print ourselves, but which involves a lot of fuss so is not commercially viable for us to do. We will now be able to bring that back in house,” he says.
The company has calculated the investment with the additional cost for inks against one major customer and McFarlin reckons with just the business, the ROI will be around 18 months. Because these cartons are currently gloss laminated, a process step can be taken out and the company can switch from the hot melt glue that has been needed because of the lamination. A cold glue line has been installed already.
“We also print greetings cards and on box boards where we also see benefits because the sheet will be instantly dry,” McFarlin adds. “When we were in Germany we saw a plant running the same type of work that we have to run at 2,000 sheets an hour to prevent set off going through the press at 18,000 an hour and coming off completely dry.”
He had gone to Berlin, where a printer had installed the AMS LED on a new KBA, in a sceptical frame of mind ready to question everything about the process. “They answered everything that we threw at them and I realised that if we didn’t get involved now, with all the assistance we will get from AMS and Flint, someone else would get those marketing benefits. And I want to be the one that gets all that.”
The Print Academy will be one of the first to add LED UV to a B1 press when it works with Flint to convert its Speedmaster CD to LED specification with an AMS LED system. "We wanted to take full advantage of the benefits we know we'll get," says managing director Justin Mcfarlan.