Apex aims to 'reclaim' B3 market with new launches


Apex has launched new products aimed at “reclaiming” the B3 market for small offset printers following several years of domination by digital print.

The new press and CTP packages for 520mm presses are being unveiled at Print Efficiently in Hemel Hempstead on 6, 7, 8 and 20, 21, 22 October.

The technology can offer a four-minute makeready and a plate for under £1, which Apex said is the lowest cost for a delivered sheet in the short-run market.

Managing director Bob Usher said the new packages combined LED-UV and low-cost CTP to rival B3 digital.

“The key to the B3 offset revival lies in combining two innovations: LED-UV drying and the latest generation of low-cost, high-quality CTP systems from Cron of China.

“LED-UV means litho machines can now deliver a completely dry sheet in the same way a digital machine can.

“But unlike a digital machine, a Ryobi press can do it at 15,000 sheets per hour, with offset quality and consistency on substrates up to 600 micron with no click charge.

“We can offer a four-minute makeready and plate for under £1 – the lowest cost for a delivered sheet in the short-run market. We are convinced it’s time to look again at B3 litho.”

Show visitors will see three CTP systems: 26in and 36in Cron machines and the Mitsubishi VDP unit for B2- and B3-format polyester plates. 

The Cron CTP technology will run on a five-colour Ryobi 755 with LED-UV system, and all three devices will be driven by FFEI’s RealPro Adobe-based workflow.

The Cron thermal system costs around £50,000 and the Cron UV technology ranges from £37,000 to £45,000.

Usher said: “We are getting a lot of interest from digital businesses that are now going up to a certain run length on their machines and then putting it on to litho.

“The big advantage of litho is you can compete with digital because you get an instantly dry sheet from LED-UV.

“So we've now got digital companies doing litho because the cost per sheet is significantly lower when printing litho.

“One digital printer I spoke to said 350 A3 copies was the break-off point between doing it digital and litho.

“He has calculated the cost at 1p per sheet against 2.5p from kit such as a Xerox iGen that costs around £100,000.”

The 26in entry-level Cron unit can be configured to produce low-cost UV metal plates or processless thermal using Fujifilm’s Pro-T plates and is billed as highly flexible.

The 36in UV Cron device will provide high-resolution, low-cost plates to a five-colour B2 Ryobi 755G at Print Efficiently.

Visitors will see live demonstrations of the LED-UV technology that Ryobi pioneered, introducing the first on-press working system at Drupa 2008.

Sales and marketing director Neil Handforth said: “Ryobi LED-UV is a real draw and we expect plenty of interest at the show.

“We have a genuine LED-UV system, not a hybrid or simple low-energy substitute. Advantages include instant drying, clean working, long lamp life and power saving."

However he said despite the excitement of a resurgent litho market, Apex did not envisage the demise of digital, and will show a Konica Minolta bizHub 1060 production press at the show.

Print Efficiently 2015 features 12 suppliers showing live demonstrations of working equipment and associated products. 

Apex and IFS are joint hosts of Fujifilm, Imprint-MIS, Vpress, KAS, Colourbyte, CyanX, Premier, TSS, Renz and PDC.

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