Tuesday, 15th April 2014
Kemtek and Komori recently hosted three special Komori Printology H-UV conferences in Johannesburg, Durban and Cape Town.
Presenting to some of South Africa’s leading local lithographic printers, Neil Sutton (Komori MD), Tony Carter (Komori director of distributor sales) and development partners Ulrich Sause (Baldwin Technology) and Reto Andres (product manager newV, Huber Group), outlined the benefits and features of Komori’s pioneering and innovative H-UV curing system.
‘When it was launched nearly seven years, H-UV was quickly embraced by Komori users in Japan. What’s more, in the last three years it has been rapidly adopted by numerous leading printers in Europe and the US, who are all realising the very real benefits it offers over a traditional UV or conventional curing process,’ remarks Tony Carter. ‘We’ve invested millions in R&D, and aligned with world-renowned partners, to create something very special. H-UV provides a definitive advantage over conventional curing by adding real value to any modern printing business. It’s a tried-and-tested technology and we’re happy to share with our South African customers, in very practical terms, how it’s already improving operation efficiencies, print quality and, most importantly, overall production costs in hundreds of companies worldwide.’
Traditionally, there are two methods to dry or cure ink on press: adding InfraRed (IR) dryers or adding UV dryers.
‘What the Komori H-UV system presents is an exclusive solution that utilises a single, specially developed UV lamp to cure highly sensitive UV inks, resulting in an instant dry,’ states Ulrich Sause, key account manager for Baldwin Technology, who developed the unique H-UV lamp using a special quartz that allows for high transmission and less ozone. ‘In the print industry, it’s all about managing risks and forward-thinking printers have the opportunity to make a healthy profit as one of the first H-UV users. I guarantee, in one year’s time, those who didn’t start now, will wish they had,’ he declares.
The H-UV lamp (one bulb), which can be located in the end of the press, can cure up to 400% ink coverage plus coating at maximum press speed. This dramatically reduces the amount of energy required for curing compared to either IR or UV. Aligned benefits from the single lamp are low heat output; a printed sheet delivered immediately from the press is only about ten degrees warmer than ambient air temperatures.
‘With less heat from the press, compared to conventional and UV curing, electrical and energy costs are reduced by as much as one third,’ estimates Ulrich. ‘What’s more, instant curing allows easier second passes through the press, resulting in quicker job completion and delivery of the final printed product. Additionally, since there’s no waiting for printed items to dry, so stock space requirements can be reduced.’
According to Komori, the amount of CO2 emissions from an H-UV lamp is approximately one fourth that of a conventional curing system. Running costs, including replacement bulbs, can also be reduced.
‘The H-UV system doesn’t discharge ozone, which contributes to a healthier working environment and it has a built-in Active Power Control, which assists in reducing energy while boosting curing power,’ adds Ulrich.
One of the most impressive and practical features of the H-UV process is colour stability.
‘We’ve worked very closely with Komori to develop a very specialised range of H-UV sensitive inks – NewV set KHS and NewV poly KHS – that can combine exceptional print quality with maximum curing capability, irrespective of the press running speed, or indeed the substrate,’ explains Reto Andres, Huber Group.
‘The H-UV process eliminates any need for spray powder so, apart from the obvious environmental benefits, the printed sheet surface is smooth and the ink has better reflective qualities and a brighter appearance. Without powder transfer to the blankets, reverse-side printing is also of the highest standard,’ he continues. ‘There’s also no ‘dry-back’, as with oil-based inks, so H-UV colour remains true over time. Even on uncoated and matt papers, colour stands strong. This gives printers the confidence to offer various tactile materials with a unique look and feel. Furthermore, those who adopt Komori’s H-UV ink curing system can expect significant ink savings up to 25%,’ states Reto.
Clear market benefits
‘Today, print shop owners aspire to increase process speeds, reduce production costs, improve margins and provide a broader product selection,’ remarks Tony Carter. ‘H-UV printing ticks all these boxes, and there are three core market segments where it sets itself apart from conventional ink printing. The first is print-on-demand (POD) general commercial printing, where quick turnaround is critical. Most printers that use conventional ink print CMYK and then overprint with either a machine varnish through a fifth printing unit, or apply a water-based coating through an in-line coating unit. However, a Komori four-colour H-UV press provides instant curing of the job, without the need for any varnish or coating,’ he affirms.
‘The second is in added value printing. As H-UV instantly cures on various substrates and thicknesses, even foil and film, overprinting on H-UV pre-printed metallic or white material needs no supplementary drying or sealing.’
‘The third market is print for packaging. In the same way that classic UV offers massive benefits in non-food sectors, H-UV offers further advantages. In short, it’s virtually odour free and dramatically broadens the opportunities to print on heat sensitive and non-absorbent substrates, and energy levels are also dramatically reduced.’
Currently, 11 H-UV web-fed presses and 400 sheet-fed presses have been sold worldwide and South Africa’s first Komori Lithrone H-UV press is due for delivery mid-2014. Tony is optimistic that this will provide the catalyst for other printers who are ready to invest in advanced equipment to follow suit.
‘Thanks to our superb relationship with Kemtek, Komori has developed a strong footprint in the local lithographic printing industry. I’m certain that those fast-evolving print companies that want to differentiate themselves from their competitors will recognise the clear benefits that H-UV offers in terms of efficiency, print quality and overall profitability,’ concludes Tony.
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