Heidelberg shows LED UV option

Jo Francis
Thursday, November 19, 2015

Heidelberg has described its newly launched LED option as the “most energy-efficient LED UV system on the market”.

The firm showed an LED UV press for the first time in the UK at its Rapid Response open house event in Brentford this week.

The LED drying system has been available for two years in other territories, and Heidelberg has more than 20 presses installed in Japan, where there is an energy-saving imperative for businesses. It also has LED presses installed in Switzerland and Germany.

A five-colour Speedmaster SX 74 with coater, and fitted with both LE-UV and LED UV drying in order to show the difference between the two systems, was demonstrated at the event. It formed part of a presentation that involved producing a 32pp booklet with mix of digital and litho sections, and a digitally printed cover, with rapid turnaround time. The digital elements were produced on a Linoprint CV, and the booklet was finished on a Stahlfolder CH 56 and Muller Martini Presto II stitcher.

The booklet included sheets printed on one side with LE-UV, and LED-UV on the other.

“There is a lot of hype about LED,” said sales director Jim Todd. “And some people are absolutely convinced that LED is the future. But there are some drawbacks to LED that you haven’t got with LE. For example, there’s a better suite of coatings available for LE, while LED coating can make the sheet look yellower.

“You’ve got to be an honest broker and talk through all the issues.”

Heidelberg press product executive Matt Rockley highlighted the Auto Format Setting (AFS) option on the LED press as being a unique selling point.

“Only the required LEDs are illuminated, automatically, based on the sheet size. Not only laterally but also circumferentially,” he explained. “We believe that results in a circa 40% power saving compared with other systems. It also means it doesn’t expose any stray ink. This is the most energy-efficient LED UV system on the market.”

He said that start-stop aspect did not degrade the life of the lamp unit. “We have lamps in R&D that have 17,000 hours usage. Because of the AFS system we expect to achieve 25,000 hours – maybe more. We have not had any lamp failures in Japan.”

Todd said that so-called ‘industrial’ printers were more likely to reap the benefits of the likely energy savings with LED, but it was important for printers to weigh up the total costs of ownership, taking into account inks, lamps, impression counts and energy usage.  

Printers producing large amounts of work on uncoated material are also a target.

“It also depends how people are organised. The convenience factor [of being able to finish sheets immediately] has a price you can’t measure,” Todd added.

The LED configuration is available on all presses from the SX 52 up to the XL 106. Heidelberg is also looking at adding it to its VLF range. The LED option uses Heidelberg's own Drystar technology, while the LE-UV uses an IST Metz system.

A five-colour Speedmaster XL 75 with coater was also running with a suite of Saphira inks and consumables. 

“The lowest cost of production by far is with a well set up conventional press,” Rockley added.

Polar’s new Digicut laser cutting system was also on show for the first time in the UK.

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