Drying, Curing & UV

Pushing creative boundries: A sheetfed process ink series


lint Group’s newly launched Xcura Evo Sheetfed Process ink series has brought opportunity and excitement to one

commercial printer in the UK. Epic Creative Print (ECP) is the most recent

company to benefit from retrofitting UV LED lamps to its six-colour Mitsubishi press. Choosing Flint Group’s Xcura Evo has brought great results. Mark Downey, managing partner, ECP, says,

“Installing UV LED broadens our opportunity to sell creativity.” Creativity is certainly something Downey and his team know a lot about. For more than 20 years the company has been pushing the boundaries of print with visual and tactile results. Since 2013, when ECP launched its HiLite service, it has become renowned for its creative flair and ability to produce special effects and textures. This reputation has been built on the back of a Mitsubishi Diamond 1000 press, and more recent investments: a Indigo and a Scodix enhancement press. “Our customers began asking for larger print runs

of some of our most highly creative designs, which we were producing on our Scodix and Indigo. However, longer print runs did not mean reduced unit cost in this case, so we began investigating the possibilities UV LED might offer,” adds Downey. “We use all kinds of substrates from light

uncoated stock, 100 per cent recycled boards and specialist substrates, through to silvers like Mirri Pak, our own in-house foil papers and laminated substrates. We thought we might have been able to transfer some of the longer run length work to

14 October 2017

litho with UV LED. Flint Group invited us to visit one of its UV LED customers in Berlin and as soon as we saw the work they were producing we immediately said: ‘We want this!’”

THE INSTALLATION Flint Group’s technology partner AMS Spectral UV, now part of Baldwin Technology, were responsible for installing the UV LED lamp, chiller and control unit. The company installed it with the option to move the LED array from the end of the press after the coater unit, to a position after unit two, giving the flexibility to double hit with fluorescent or opaque white, for example. The six-colour with coater took Mitsubishi just two days to convert to UV LED once all the rollers had been changed to UV compatible. Downey adds, “It’s still too soon to tell what

savings we’ll see in electricity and we don’t expect much paper saving. In fact, when you add the costs of training, testing the consumables, and general installation lost time to the cost of the LED lamps and UV rollers, the investment we’ve made has been significant; but the print room environment is so much better. The press minders are happy and are already saying they couldn’t work anywhere else. Our decision to install UV LED was not so much about the traditional cost related benefits that we’re hearing about from UV LED, although we’re pleased to accept them of course, it was far more to do with what it could bring us in terms of new effects, simpler processes and new market opportunities.”

The print room at ECP is led by Jason

Johnson and he has been responsible for seeing that the new technology is delivering the results they hoped for. “Turnaround time on regular four-back-four work has dramatically reduced: work can be backed-up immediately and post print finished within minutes of coming off the press,” says Johnson. “There is now no wet work waiting, while set

off and spray powder have been eliminated and no water-based coating has been used since UV LED was installed. In fact the water-based coater is now being used for Flint Group’s LED Hypergloss UV Varnish and we’re getting gloss levels we’d normally only expect from a trade house or gloss lamination.” Johnson and the team commissioned the

press with Flint Group Xcura Evo process inks, and were up and running very quickly despite never having printed UV before. The company has already experimented with various Xcura fluorescents, metallics, matt, high gloss and drip- off varnishes and dual-effect inline gloss. Matt varnishes are due for testing next. Downey concludes, “We know this investment

will open up new markets for us as well as creating opportunities for new business by up-selling with existing clients. Together with Flint Group we’re looking to push our creative boundaries and add even more value to our print and thereby enhance our customers’ images.”

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