Blackmore will install the UK’s first KBA LED UV press in the new year, and it will also be the firm’s first KBA.
The Shaftesbury-based company has invested more than £1m in a four-colour Rapida 105 fitted with Air Motion Systems’ (AMS) LED curing technology.
KBA and AMS announced a partnership for LED UV on new presses in September. The AMS LED curing system is integrated into KBA’s VariDry system as a factory fitted option, although it is also available as a retrofit.
Blackmore’s new B1 Rapida will be installed at the end of January. It will replace a Speedmaster CD74 at the £7.2m turnover firm, and joins an existing Komori LS540 with coater.
The company produces a range of high-quality commercial print, magazines, and local newspapers and also runs two Solna coldset web presses.
Director of marketing and sales David Bland said the Blackmore team had spent the best part of a year assessing the various options for low-energy UV printing, including those from Komori, Heidelberg and Ryobi.
The environmental benefits of the LED UV option from KBA and AMS swung the firm’s decision. “Appreciating how much more eco-friendly it promised to be, we had to investigate,” Bland said.
“It’s very, very exciting because it’s all positives and no negatives. Our customers are especially interested in the environmental side,” he added.
“Designers, brand owners and creatives are always looking for an edge and LED UV is a perfect fit for clients looking for the most socially-responsible, technologically advance and environmentally sound qualities available from print.”
Blackmore has a carbon neutral programme and has ISO 14001, FSC and PEFC certification. It plans to add ISO 12647-2 certification when the new press arrives.
The firm’s clients include charities with strict environmental criteria such as the World Wildlife Fund, Greenpeace, and Friends of the Earth.
Bland described the new press as “fitting perfectly” with the firm’s environmental profile.
The water-cooled AMS LED UV system uses blue light and is effectively cold curing. It does not require the use of mercury lamps. AMS European sales director Carsten Barlebo described it as “offset on demand”.
Blackmore production director Nigel Hunt said the Rapida would provide an array of benefits beyond the needed additional capacity at the business.
“Because no coating is required we were able to go for a straight four-colour, which means this B1 press is actually shorter than the B2 press it’s replacing – I’d never have thought it possible before that we could get two B1 presses on this site,” he explained.
“We expect to save £30,000 a year on electricity, and another £30,000 in time currently lost because of having to wait to back jobs up or finish them,” Hunt added. “And no spray powder.”
The new press will also allow the firm greater flexibility in the sort of work it takes on, as it can handle stock up to 1.2mm thick.
Bland said the seven-figure investment also included the latest Kodak Prinergy workflow at Blackmore and sister company Lamport Gilbert, along with a new 12-tonne lorry with tail-lift.
The firm employs around 75 staff and is taking on additional sales staff in anticipation of the arrival of the new capacity.