IST (UK) has launched a service that will enable UK printers to retrofit LE-UV, LED-UV/LUV or conventional UV drying technology onto installed or secondhand equipment.
Almost any sheetfed litho press can be retrofitted using the service, which launched last month, said Chris Schofield, joint managing director of Skipton-based IST (UK), a subsidiary of UV printing and coating equipment supplier IST Metz.
“The bigger the press, the easier it is, so while small Ryobi and Sakurai presses might be an issue because of less space, it’s relatively straightforward to add them to Heidelberg, Mitsubishi, Komori and KBA presses,” said Schofield.
“There are a lot of printers that haven’t got £1m to spend and aren’t able to buy a new press, but for 10% of that, or less, they can get exactly what the guy down the road has got.”
Schofield said the primary benefit of these technologies is that they allow printers to minimise their turnaround times.
“For businesses running uncoated stock the benefits are to get a dry sheet straight off the end of the press, straight into finishing – without fear of marking – and out the door,” he said.
“They are efficient and cut the amount of ink used – sometimes by 30%-40% in volume – as well as eliminating powder spray and reducing the energy bill, compared with other drying options.
“They also provide high gloss levels and resistance to abrasion, side-lining the need for a dedicated coating or sealing unit.”
Schofield said LE-UV is particularly attractive to small and medium-sized printers that use a high volume of uncoated stock.
He added the IST lamp life on this technology is guaranteed to operate for 2,500 hours, but typically runs for up to 4,000 hours, and that maintenance is minimal with only a weekly clean of the lamp, reflector and filter recommended.
LUV, IST Metz’s name for its LED-UV package, includes the lamp module, a control cabinet, water chiller and screen software for ease of operation.
“The LUV is more expensive than the LE-UV by around 30%. LUV has got very low heat output and it’s a smaller unit so it will fit into smaller spaces,” said Schofield.
“The lamp life is a lot longer at around 25,000 hours as a minimum so you’ve got longer times for lamp replacement and it’s lower energy than a UV lamp.”
IST (UK) offers a free consultancy service to printers to determine whether either of these technologies is right for the quality and type of work handled and its commercial viability.
The firm can also offer demonstrations of LED-UV and LE-UV technology on a Heidelberg press at the IST head office in Germany where printers can take and trial their own jobs.
Schofield said a retrofit for a conventional UV unit would take five to six days but an LE-UV or LED-UV retrofit could be completed in one or two days.
“As part of the package we also include a week of training because going into UV can be a bit scary for some people that have never looked at it before,” said Schofield.
“That training can happen as soon as a unit is installed or a month or two down the line.”
The company said all retrofits are provided with a 12-month warranty and printers can extend that with an IST (UK) service agreement.