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Time to shine

Jan 1, 2010 12:00 AM


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UV practically promotes itself

As we asked printers how they are promoting their UV capabilities, a clear trend emerged. Most are too busy with client work to toot their own horns. We heard several tantalizing tales of self-promo projects shelved for lack of time. May this continue! Our UV coverage continues in April with with a look at environmental considerations and in May with an update on lamp technology.

Benefits over and beyond gloss

The John Roberts Co. (Minneapolis) added UV capabilities about five years ago. “We had been buying some coating on the outside and felt it would be worth bringing in house, just for the gloss,” explains Michael Keene, president. “We soon [discovered] other advantages, namely printing on uncoated stock. Then we started getting into the different types of coatings: raised, glitter, sandpaper and other special effects.”

The web and sheetfed powerhouse retrofitted a conventional Heidelberg SM 102 CD press to deliver inline coating savings. Two years ago, John Roberts added a 6-color Heidelberg (www.us.heidelberg.com) SM XL 105 press equipped with an IST UV system as well as the first Inpress closed-loop color control system in the United States.

Chad Sanders, John Roberts' director of operations, particularly likes the XL 105's coating roller turret, which can hold four different anilox rollers. “When we're running UV, we use rollers that apply different coating thickness, depending on what we're putting down. With the turret, it's very efficient to switch from one to another. If we're presenting effects to a customer in the pressroom, we don't have to expend the time and manpower to pull those rollers in and out. It's a much quicker changeover.”

Keene estimates that about 50 percent of John Roberts' sheetfed work runs UV. “That number is climbing,” he says. “We use UV to our advantage — even if a job isn't specified UV, we'll do it if it makes sense operationally, for [faster job turnaround] or if we would otherwise risk picking or offset issues.”

Sanders adds that UV capabilities have helped the company expand its plastic work. “We're doing more window clings, clear substrates and signage.”

See www.johnroberts.com.

Zero marking plus much more

In 2007, Bolger Vision Beyond Print (Minneapolis) installed an unusually configured 10-unit KBA Rapida 105. It can print five colors, coat and perfect, and then print five more colors and coat, all with UV.

“You can't perfect on coated paper using a 5-color press and aqueous coating without UV,” says dik Bolger, CEO. “I wanted a standalone coating tower and dryers in the middle of the press. We needed UV curing to ensure there was no marking on the substrates. We gambled on additional UV benefits such as printing on uncoated paper and super high gloss.”

Bolger's cost justification included his belief the company could sell $7 million in additional printing with its new UV capabilities. He reports the company has achieved that goal. “We're doing work that literally no one else can do in one pass. That gives us a nice advantage.”

The printer's strike-through varnish effect has drawn customer raves. “On the fifth unit you use a plate and put dull varnish on every area you don't want to print glossy. Then you put a high gloss UV coating over the whole page. You get rub protection as well as the contrast against the dull varnish. It's a neat effect.”

Bolger predicts that within five years, “All [new] presses are going be UV and printing two sides at one time. I can't see why not.”

See www.bolger.com.

Coating with a creative flair

Jeff Hernandez, vice president Classic Color (Broadview, IL) is running out of adjectives. Words such as wow, incredible, unique, insane, magic and wild pepper his conversation as he describes some of the company's recent UV efforts. Projects include a paper company's jaw-dropping varnish and coating tutorial, a magazine cover demonstrating a cutting-edge metallic coating, a synthetic paper promotion, and even a casino's deluxe wooden invitation. “We're not afraid to do anything,” says Hernandez. “We've printed on velvet, plastic, virtually anything.”

But “visual impact” is the phrase he invariably invokes when asked about UV's key advantage. “To compete with the Internet, you've got to bring something beyond conventional printing,” he says. “This is more visual and tactile.”

Classic Color got started with UV two and a half years ago. The pressroom at the three-shift operation includes four Komori (www.komori-america.us) LS presses. The printer wasn't the first in its market to implement UV. But after studying the technology and potential applications, it made an aggressive move. “We went in fully committed,” recalls Hernandez. “We fully interdecked our presses with Nordson's lamping system, [and] we have a different pumping system. It's an unusual configuration.” Less than two years after installing the first UV-equipped Komori press, as second one was on the floor.

Classic Color and Henkel (www.henkelna.com)gained national attention for some recent promotional pieces. At PRINT 09, Henkel introduced MiraFoil, a liquid coating that offers UV press users a sustainable alternative to foil board laminating and hot foil stamping. Users can print foil effects inline and achieve high opacity with a single pass, eliminating the need for a double bump.

“An ink can only deliver so much volume from a plate,” says Hernandez. “A coater can deliver a lot more volume, maybe eight times as much, so [MiraFoil jobs look that much more metallic].” The UV curable and printable foil coating can be selectively printed on paper, board or plastic. Potential applications include folding cartons, cosmetic packaging, point-of-purchase displays, direct mail, and tags and labels.

Henkel offers a MiraFoil selection guide that shows 1,176 metallic colors, which Hernandez calls a breakthrough. “It shows you what every possible color looks like with silver underneath it and all the different color breaks. You can visualize the [potential] foil colors and designers can get their heads around it.”

Hernandez is excited about recent UV projects involving high-gamut inks on uncoated papers. “This one is insane with its color space and the amount of coating we're putting down. With full coverage, we're achieving gloss levels of 94 to 100, which is unheard of — you don't really see that in the UV world. This job is going to show people they can do anything.”

See www.classic-color.com.

Stepping up to more opportunities

“We've grown and are still growing,” says Gerald Wickliffe, Jr., president of Lincoln Press (Dallas). Wickliffe, who likes to say he's been in the trade “forever,” bought the business in 2004. Five years ago, Lincoln was a $1 million shop. By the end of 2010, Wickliffe expects to approach the $10 million mark.

Initially, Wickliffe intended to stay in the halfsize market, but he ultimately determined a larger format press would help him grow the company. Adding a UV-equipped press enabled Lincoln Press to compete at a different level. “It eliminates [competing against] the 6-color, 40-inch guy giving away jobs to survive,” says Wickliffe, noting that there are comparatively fewer UV presses in his market.

The 28-employee firm installed a 40-inch Mitsubishi (www.mlpusa.com) Diamond 3000S with UV coating capability in July 2008 and a 28-inch Diamond 1000LS in August 2009. Both automated presses are 6-color models with coaters.

The Diamond 3000S is equipped with an inline tower coater for applying UV and aqueous coatings. “We did not opt for a hybrid coating system to print on plastics,” Wickliffe points out. “Our goal was to provide higher quality when using uncoated stock and create interesting textures and surface treatments. For instance, one recent project involved raised water droplets on the image of a waterfall. Another project called for a textured surface on a football.”

Efficiently turning around color-critical designer and agency work has enabled Lincoln Press to carve out a niche. “We have clients from Mexico to New York City to San Francisco,” says Wickliffe. “Because of our low overhead, we can produce runs of 1,500 to 2,500 sheets cost-effectively day in and day out.”

Wickliffe says adding the new iron has more than paid off. “We have always been a company that grows, but we have either broken even or earned just a little profit. Right now, we are making a solid profit.”

See www.lincolnpress.biz.

To the victor belong the foils

Finlay (Bloomfield, CT) had a big night at the Printing Industries of New England (PINE) third annual Industry Awards Gala. The printer went home with four awards, including three Pinnacle awards, the highest possible honor in the competition.

Finlay earned top accolades in the magazine category for its production of manroland's expressis North America publication. Printed shortly before PRINT 09, the publication showcases the vendor's products and services as well as articles on increasing productivity, color management, quality control and value-added printing. “We are very proud of our win for expressis,” said Kevin Kalagher, Finlay CEO. “It was a successful collaboration between the client, printer and technology.”

Every page of the 14-page magazine incorporates various effects created with manroland's cold foil printing system, InlineFoiler Prindor, on Finlay's 8-color 708PLV HiPrint press. Marketed as “Brillance Foil by Finlay,” the process prints directly on foil and can achieve almost any color metallic on a 40-inch offset press, inline. Finlay printed the job on Appleton's Utopia coated paper using Kurz KPS-OS foil.

Utilizing one-pass, cold foil printing eliminates the need for hot foil stamping as well as the time and expense associated with offline techniques. The foiling system can be installed on two printing units of any new or recent Roland 500 or 700 HiPrint. Depending on the desired foiling effects, InlineFoiler Prindor can be equipped as a single or multireel device. The inline process can be combined with coating and UV processes on different units.

See www.finlay.com.


Katherine O'Brien is the editor of AMERICAN PRINTER. Contact her at KOB@americanprinter.com.