Opal Print opts for AMS LED UV

Litho and digital printer Opal Print has invested in Air Motion Systems (AMS) LED UV technology.

The mercury-free UV system will be retrofitted to Opal Print’s five-colour B2 Heidelberg Speedmaster CD 74 with coater. It will be fitted on 19 May.

Opal Print managing director Keith Lunt said: “Technology has really come a long way and this is the next big step I think in what’s happening in print. We print on a lot of uncoated paper and powder has always been a problem. There seemed to be massive benefits to ink that dries instantly, right through from the dot on the sheet to the finishing.”

The LED curing system operates at a lower temperature than a mercury vapour lamp, which Lunt said gives it longer service life and better quality uncoated results. It does not require a warm-up, which saves time and energy, and has the ability to print on non-absorbent substrates. AMS diodes have a minimum life of 20,000 printing hours.

Lunt said AMS was always going to be the first choice, although Opal did shop around. It looked at other technologies before settling on the AMS light LED solution.

“I just think AMS is ahead of the rest, it’s a true LED. I looked at some of the other systems, but this just seemed the most modern version of the technology,” he added.

The technology is increasing in popularity due in part to its better environmental credentials. Lunt said: “There seems to be quite a trend of people moving to this but as far as I know I’m the first Heidelberg retrofit in the UK to use it. The lamps use a tenth of the power of our current ones. People like eco-print as long as you don’t have to pay for it. It’s something that’s naturally happening and I think it will be attractive to certain types of buyer.”

Bath-based Opal Print produces high-end stationery, brochures, corporate literature and books. Its clients include design agencies and art publishers. It employs 10 staff in its 2,500sqm premises and uses the Heidelberg CD 74 as its only machine. It has two foiling machines, an Impress hot foil press and a Heidelberg Platen. It turns over approximately £1m.

It is currently in the process of printing a retrospective of the life and works of photojournalist Don McCullin. This is made up of 1,000 box sets of three volumes and will be presented as part of Photo London at Somerset House next month.

Opal Print received a special commendation last year at the Antalis ‘The Review’ awards for its production of a book featuring 'naked stitching' techniques for luxury erotic magazine The Quite Delightful Project.

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