Tried & Tested: Fujifilm FLH-Z 125 ZAC

Tim Sheahan
Thursday, December 2, 2010

This plate processor has made a big impression allowing customers to cut chemistry and water use, as well as downtime and costs, says <i>Tim Sheahan</i>


Launched at Ipex 2006, Fujifilm’s FLH-Z ZAC plate processor is a relatively young technology but this is not to say it is struggling to find its feet. According to Fujifilm, the ZAC processors were created for firms that wanted to print to a high standard while cutting costs and their impact on the environment. And as an increasing number of printers have placed improving green credentials high on their agenda, the popularity of the processors has grown, with thousands of installations worldwide.

The FLH-Z processors are designed primarily for use with Fujifilm’s Brillia HD LH-PJE positive working thermal CTP plate. They incorporate the unique intelligent ‘ZAC’ control system, which is claimed to achieve consistent, high-quality plate production, while cutting down on chemistry and water usage. According to Fujifilm, the microprocessor precisely controls the replenishment rate according to usage and oxidation levels.

Model differences
Four models are available in the UK – the FLH-Z II 85, FLH-Z II 125, FLH-Z II 150, and the FLH-Z II 165 – all of which are manufactured by Glunz & Jensen. Additionally, there is an FLH-85RZ model, but the manufacturer doesn’t sell this in the UK. The key differentiators of the four main models are developer tank capacity, maximum water consumption, weight dimensions, and plate size, the latter ranging from 850mm wide and 285mm long on the FLH-Z II 85 model to 1,650mm and 350mm respectively on the FLH-Z II 165 configuration.

Sean Lane, product manager of offset solutions at Fujifilm, says the unique nature of the ZAC technology has helped catalyse its popularity in the UK, where he has seen hundreds of installations, especially of the FLH-Z II 125. "Businesses have picked up on the chemistry, water, cost and time savings. Customers never return a unit saying it wasn’t a suitable fit for the business and on the occasion we have a refurbished model it goes straight back out the door," he said.

One UK customer that has taken the plunge is Essex-based Collective Colour, which invested in the FLH-Z 125 model with optional water recirculation unit last year. Installed following the company’s relocation from the London 2012 Olympic site, water consumption was subsequently cut by 90%, from around 250,000 litres a year to just 25,000 litres.

Gary Law, director at Collective Colour, said the processor not only enabled the business to make a "significant impact" on its environmental footprint, but also saved it a considerable amount of money on its monthly water bill. "We have also achieved chemistry savings of around 20%," he added.

Another company to put it faith in the Fujifilm product, albeit several years earlier in 2007, was Pureprint. The group took delivery of a B1 and B2 processor and Brillia HD LH-PJE non-bake UV plates in a bid to cut its environmental footprint and adopt a more precise approach to its pre-press setup.

"Previously, each processor took four hours to change each week, totalling 32 hours per month, which equates to more than four working days of downtime. Now, as we’re only changing the processors once a month, this leads to just eight hours downtime a month," said Aaron Archer, group technical manager at Pureprint.

Prices for a new FLH-Z start at £20,000 and a range of optional extras are available for those looking to invest. On the secondhand market, ZAC processors are available from Fujifilm directly complete with full parts, labour support and extended service contracts. The company also takes older machines in part-exchange; however secondhand prices are only available on application.
SPECIFICATIONS
Models   
FLH-Z II 85, FLH-Z II 125, FLH-Z II 150, FLH-Z II 165
Plate size
FLH-Z II 85: up to 850mm wide, min length 285mm
FLH-Z II 25: up to 1,250mm wide, min length 350mm
FLH-Z II 150: up to 1,500mm wide, min length 350mm
FLH-Z II 165: up to 1,650mm wide, min length 350mm
Developer tank capacity 30l, 80l, 96l, 104l
Max water consumption (processing)
8l/min approx
12l/min approx
15l/min approx
21.5l/min
Weight (net, without liquids) 364kg, 610kg, 650kg, 670kg
Price On application
What to look for
• Wear and tear on transport rollers

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