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Razzle dazzle

Feb 1, 2007 12:00 AM

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From gloss to matte, metallization to pearlescence and even raised texture, inline UV technology brings a world of printing effects out of specialized production corners and onto one press. With the right combination of consumables and know-how, and close interaction with the designer, UV jobs enable printers to add significant value to print products without jobbing out specialty effects or applying them offline.

For printers with the business to drive ROI, a full UV press performs for standard process color while enabling dramatically enhanced print product offerings. UV coating and curing options are available for conventional offset presses, providing the capability to add UV effects while maintaining a traditional offset base.

Press manufacturers are getting the word out about UV’s capabilities with special brochures, posters and other creative print samples. The following pages highlight some diverse UV samples gleaned from the press vendors and their customers, illustrating the collaborative relationship fostered by this new process and providing technical details on how the pieces came together.

Enhanced possibilities
The first few pages of MAN Roland’s (Westmont, IL) “Enhancement makes the difference” brochure (right) demonstrate aqueous coating methods that can be produced using UV inks and coatings, as shown in the rest of the piece. “The same effect can be achieved even better in combination with UV inks, effect varnish and full-solid UV,” says Hellmuth Pleier, deputy vice president of demonstrations for the MAN Roland Graphic Center in Offenbach, Germany. Detailed information about the specific Roland 700 series presses that produced the piece accompanies each print sample page.

According to Pleier, the reasons a printer would use UV process rather than conventional arise from technical issues. He cites foil effects, high-gloss coating requirements and rub resistance as a few of UV’s benefits. “Most printers are still opting for hybrid,” he says. “There is an added cost to using UV, as a printer would need different blankets, rollers, inks and coating, most of which are more expensive than using conventional. And, a majority of printers still want the option to switch between UV and conventional. Because, in most cases, unless their business primarily focuses on very high-end packaging such as cosmetics, they might not really need it.”

A fold-out poster titled “Specialists for Specialists: MAN Roland Graphic Center” depicts metallic effects printed UV on the Roland 700 press series at the demo center in Germany. It was printed in one pass using the InlineFoiler Prindor. “In general, UV inks and coatings can generate more dramatic effects than conventional and aqueous applications,” says Pleier. “Textures, dramatic contrasts, [metallic and pearlescent] effects—designers have unlimited choices.”

For more information, visit or call (800) 700-2344.

UV does it all
“Reality UV” is a spiral-bound book presenting a wide range of UV printing applications.

JohnsByrne Co. (Niles, IL) printed the piece on a 28 x 40-inch Komori Lithrone S40 press equipped with interdeck UV and inline UV coating, using full-cure and hybrid UV inks. The images were produced with 20 micron FM stochastic screening. OEC Graphics (Willowbrook, IL) produced the coating plates; Graphic Technologies (a JohnsByrne company) die-cut, mounted and bound the piece.

“We were looking for an opportunity to highlight the UV capability of the LS press, and partnering with our customer JohnsByrne on this project just seemed natural,” says Stephan Carter, president and COO, Komori America Corp.

“It was creative-driven by the concept of reality TV,” says JohnsByrne Co. president Corey Gustafson. “I really like the inside front page, which was second-surface printed—a couple hits of different white opaques were printed on the reverse side of a clear film, which was then mounted onto a metallized polyester. It’s like you’re looking in the mirror with him.”

The automotive spread was printed four-color process on a straight, uncoated sheet.

“It shows how UV can print on uncoated stock and really hold up,” Gustafson explains, “because when you print UV, it doesn’t absorb into the sheet; [the UV lamps] zap it and dry it on top. So that piece has a nice ink holdout.” The stick shift image (left) was printed with metallic silver ink, then four-color process, and finally a spot UV coating.

Another spread spoofing the “American Idol” reality TV show uses a textured UV coating. “We mixed and formulated a specific type of coating that has a texture in it, then applied it to create the texture,” says Gustafson. An image of a platinum record on the opposite page was micro-embossed on a Bobst stamping press, and then printed four-color. One page of the book features glow-in-the-dark fluorescent ink. On the cover, the company die-cut the “UV” and mounted the cover to a synthetic sheet with a mirror effect.

All told, the book features a variety of UV printing and coating techniques on paper (coated and uncoated), plastic and foil. “It shows how you can create a variety of different effects on a Komori six-color press just using a little bit of technology and innovation,” says Gustafson. JohnsByrne does a lot of special effects work on its UV press. The company’s experience helped when it came time to develop this comprehensive demo piece. It was printed in October 2006, when they’d had the press for about nine months. Gustafson’s team worked closely with the designer to achieve the desired effects, suggesting ideas for applications they could perform on the Komori press. “They loved it, because it’s hard for them to specify exactly how they want to do this,” Gustafson explains. “From design to print, [this book] probably took about a month, but it was on press for a week.”

“The response to the piece has been tremendous,” says Carter. “The outstanding print quality of the Komori LS platform and the creative printing vision of a company like JohnsByrne made this a signature piece for both of our companies.”

For more information, visit or call (847) 806-9000.

Hybrid UV offers flexible performance
Mitsubishi Lithographic Presses (MLP U.S.A., Inc.) in Lincolnshire, IL, produced “New Technology Opening New Worlds” for Graph Expo 2006. This 12-page, saddlestitched brochure was printed at the show to demonstrate new press technology on a six-color Mitsubishi Diamond 3000LX 28 x 40-inch sheetfed press with a UV curing system from Grafix LLC. Offering descriptions of features such as the SimulChanger simultaneous plate changing system and MCCS-V color control system, each spread incorporates hybrid ink, varnish and UV gloss coating.

Barclay Laux, a demonstrator and trainer for MLP, describes the press used to produce this piece: “It was configured for conventional and hybrid applications. We equipped it with three interstation UV lamps, but it also was equipped with IR drying and hot air, so it could accommodate both conventional and UV coatings. It’s a six-color press with coater—UV coating in this case.”

This brochure was printed on 100-lb. gloss text using hybrid inks from INX Intl., a dull varnish in the sixth printing unit and a UV flood coating. “Hybrid ink has conventional properties but also UV properties, which allow it to cure like a UV ink before you put the coating on top,” Laux explains. “It makes it easier to maintain ink/water balance than a fully UV ink.” He also notes the ink’s ability to hold the 20-micron Staccato image on the [Fuji] plates MLP was running at the show.

The glossy and matte effects were accomplished using a strike-through varnish. The dull varnish was put down in the areas that were to stay matte, then an overall UV flood coat was applied. Where varnish had been applied, the gloss coat dulled down as it cured. Laux explains the benefit of this technique: “You can produce a spot gloss contrast without having to make special coating plates. For the varnish, we were using a regular printing plate in a regular printing unit, so we could achieve as much detail as we wanted. Otherwise, you have to specially cut a coating blanket for the areas where you want it glossy, and that blanket is only good for that job.”

For a copy, visit or call (847) 634-9100.

A smart option
Ryobi’s inaugural issue of “Smart Impressions” details the company’s new factory extension in Hiroshima, as well as UV printing trends and the 680/750 series press. Komatsu General Printing Co., Ltd., a commercial sheetfed offset and web press printer in Ina-City, Nagano Prefecture, Japan, printed the piece on a Ryobi 686P eight-color press with perfector and coater. An interdeck UV curing unit positioned over the convertible unit allows the firm to apply UV effects inline.

The intent of the piece was to cover four concepts that address printers’ questions:

  • Information about Ryobi.
  • How to produce high value-added printing.
  • Solving printing industry challenges.
  • Details on exhibits and customers.
In this first issue, Ryobi executives worked closely with the designer to develop a high-impact piece depicting UV applications such as chemical embossing. “Chemical embossing” is a technique using overprint UV varnish (OP varnish) and gloss UV varnish to create an embossed effect with offset printing. The lower left corner of page six (pictured below) shows the image areas to be coated with UV gloss vs. the chemical embossing background. The OP varnish is applied to the background image area, cured, and then overprinted with gloss UV varnish across the entire surface. The OP varnish repels the gloss, which bubbles and dries in the final cure, creating a textured effect.

The printing methods depicted in “Smart Impressions” were chosen as examples of high value-added printing for printing companies using special inks or UV coatings. Ryobi offers various models in the RYOBI 680/750 series with a combination of multicolor printing and UV coating/curing capabilities through U.S. distributor xpedx (Loveland, OH).

For more information about Ryobi presses, visit or call 800-553-4980.

At your service
KBA (Williston, VT) uses a variety of posters, brochures and other pieces to illustrate different effects for its customers. Chris Travis, KBA North America director of technology, says helping customers stand out from the crowd is a key part of the vendor’s sales approach.

A recent series of automotive-themed posters features a variety of UV inks, varnishes and coatings. “We pride ourselves on being a leader in special effects,” says Travis, citing additional projects with soft feel, mirror foil and different screening techniques. “But its not just about putting a fancy coating down. It touches on every part of the printing process: prepress, screening, inks, even scoring and die cutting.”

Travis adds that succeeding with special effects goes beyond the UV package on the press. “The most important thing are the resources we offer. We have a team of technical people who [can advise customers on] inks, coating, varnishes and blankets as well as the right application, anilox rollers, UV lamp configurations and so on.”

(KBA recently announced an exclusive U.S. and Canadian consumables distributorship with Vegra, which includes a full range of special effect varnishes and coatings. See related story on p. 10.)

While it’s possible to do high-end effects on a UV-equipped Rapida 205, Travis says the expense of producing a 81-inch sheet makes it impractical for some applications. “A 55-gallon drum of effect coating with glitter is expensive, you’d need a special job to justify that.” (In 2006, however, Los Angeles-based Lithographix and TracerGraphix used a 205 to produce the largest lenticular sheet ever printed on a lithographic press. See “As big as all outdoors,” August 2006.)

Busy customers don’t have to interrupt their production schedules to experiment with new a coating—the KBA demo center will test it for them. Some customers invite select clients to accompany them to the demonstration. “One customer brought his top client,” recalls Travis. “It showed the printer was investing in new technology as well as what was achievable. It went well—our customer is now printing all sorts of innovative products for that client.”

World’s biggest press
National Posters (Chattanooga, TN) is reaping large-scale UV advantages. In 2006, National Posters, which is part of National Print Group, installed what is said to be the world’s largest press. The 81-inch Rapida 205 is configured as seven-colors plus a coater. Thanks to the hybrid UV capabilities on its new press, the company will be able to print signage on a wider variety of substrates.

The seven-color press will enable National Posters to significantly grow its multicolor work, particularly jobs that require opaque whites, metallic and custom logo colors.

The best of both worlds: flexo & offset
Heidelberg’s trilingual “Special applications” brochure showcases 18 different special effects on a wide range of stocks. Günter Thomas (Gelsenkirchen, Germany), a Thomas Group company, printed the brochure on its DuoPress, a Speedmaster CD 102-LY-6+LYYLX.

Günter Thomas, which was originally founded as a trade finisher specializing in offline effects, was among the first companies to install this unusual configuration. Heidelberg’s DuoPress combines flexo and offset printing in one press. Typical applications include opaque white on metallized or transparent substrates, or metal pigmented coatings that need to be overprinted. The DuoPress also can prime the surface of synthetic substrates or poor board for improved printability.

“It is a highly customized press,” explains Roland Krapp, Heidelberg USA’s (Kennesaw, GA) vice president of sheetfed product management. “In the last 20 months we’ve installed three DuoPresses in the United States alone, two 40-inch, 16-unit presses and one 10-unit, 29-inch press.”

Other popular Heidelberg UV options include the halfsize Speedmaster 74. While there is a larger U.S. installed base of CD 102 UV-equipped presses, the CD 74 has been gaining ground since its 2003 debut. “The CD 102 UV was available a few years prior to the launch of the CD 74,” notes Krapp, “but the CD 74 UV has sold very well, and the 40-inch format isn’t always required for special applications. Some printers lack the volume of UV jobs, and the 29-inch format allows them to avoid switching between UV and conventional. Most printers prefer to run heat-sensitive substrates in smaller sheet formats, even on bigger presses, to better control heat distortion.”

UV is an option on Heidelberg’s new 29.52 x 41.34-inch press. “The XL 105 UV has sold extremely well since becoming commercially available,” Krapp reports. “The first five U.S. installations are scheduled between now and June 2007.”

Additionally, Heidelberg has announced that, through its systemservice 36plus program, it will provide three years of full service coverage on UV systems and chilling components built with IST Metz GmbH and technotrans AG. The systems are primarily available on Heidelberg’s Speedmaster CD and XL models as well as on some SM presses. “UV technology is increasingly important in the North American print market, and Heidelberg is committed to helping our customers achieve maximum equipment performance by providing full service and support,” says Jim Dunn, president, Heidelberg USA.

For more information, visit or call (888) 472-9655.

Denise Kapel is managing editor of AMERICAN PRINTER. Contact her at