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Event Spotlight

Print Efficiently 2015 Preview

From LED-UV solutions, to finishing kit, to seminars, Print Efficiently 2015 is all about variety. Jo Golding finds out what is in store at this year's event.

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Print Efficiently 2014 (pictured) took place from October 7th to 9th, and 21st to 23rd, at Apex Digital Graphics in Hemel Hampstead, while this year’s show starts 6th October

Print Efficiently 2015, which is taking place on October 6th to 8th and 20th to 22nd, is being held at Apex Digital Graphics’ new headquarters in Hemel Hempstead, with talk of its diverse range of technology on offer exciting many in the print industry.

The event has partnered up with the likes of IFS, Epson, Renz, Fujifilm, Perfect Document Creation, KAS Paper Systems, TSS Technology, Imprint MIS, Vpress, Premier Paper, CyanX, the IPIA, and more, to showcase the latest print technology that can help boost business.

The show also offers the chance to listen to influential print experts in seminars aimed at helping commercial printers thrive. Marian Stefani, chief executive officer of the IPIA, will lead the seminar on October 7th, discussing how to break into the buying process as well as how a plan makes all the difference. Having set up software company RedTie and owned her own print consultancy, Stefani has a wealth of experience in print to share with businesses.

October 21st will see Matthew Parker, founder of Profitable Print Relationships, take centre stage. He will discuss how to stop buyers choosing on price, as well as how to find, engage, and keep social media contacts. With twenty years’ experience in print, and experience of over 1,400 approaches by printing companies as a buyer, he is knowledgeable on the subject of how to create an effective sales message.

Advances in litho

Apex Digital Graphics is set to challenge digital printers with the introduction of a litho printing system that it claims offers the lowest cost and greatest versatility in B3 printing at the event. The package will consist of a CRON 26-inch format computer-to-plate machine, capable of producing low-cost UV plates, and a 52cm Ryobi litho press equipped with LED-UV drying.

Printers should appreciate that LED-UV curing technology offers one of the most significant advances in litho printing in the last twenty years

Commenting on the benefits of the litho solution, Bob Usher, managing director of Apex Digital Graphics, says: “Whilst both digital and LED-UV litho will deliver a completely dry printed sheet, litho can produce up to 15,000 sheets per hour, and with a four minute make ready and a price below £1.00 per plate our solution offers the lowest cost delivered sheet in the short run market.”

The Ryobi press offers up to 600 microns at high quality with no click-charge, and can handle a wide range of substrates in many sizes.

Bob Usher (far right), managing director of Apex Digital Graphics, says LED-UV litho can produce up to 15,000 sheets per hour, delivering a completely dry printed sheet

He continues: “Digital certainly has its place in the print market, and to cover this sector we will be showing the Konica Minolta bizHub 1060 Production Press at the event. Whilst the key benefits of litho have often been overlooked by some of today’s digital print producers, we have experienced a number of digital houses ordering Ryobi’s market leading LED-litho technology to complement their production.

“Many of these businesses were sub-contracting work beyond the capability of their digital equipment to litho houses, however the development of Ryobi’s new drying technology, combined with the tight margins in today’s market, and low production cost, have led digital houses to review the benefits of modern LED-UV litho.”

Print Efficiently will also utilise the IFS showroom as both companies are located in the same area. Neil Handforth, sales and marketing director for Apex Digital Graphics, says that the event will show ‘real-world demonstrations’ of effective solutions, and the Konica Minolta bizHub 1060 machine will show the versatility of digital output.

The 36” UV Cron device will provide high resolution, low cost plates to the Ryobi 755 LED-UV press. Neil Handforth adds: “From our installations we have been very pleased with the quality and run lengths achieved from these plates, especially at our customers with the Ryobi LED-UV press.”

Filling a market gap

One print company which has taken an interest in the LED-UV solutions Apex offers, in order to take it forward in a competitive market, is Flexpress. The litho and digital print business is to upgrade to new B3 and SRA1 machines, in an order with Apex, both equipped with Ryobi’s pioneering LED-UV technology.

Ryobi’s LED-UV system made its European debut at Print Efficiently 2014 by running on a five-colour B2 Ryobi 755G press

Steve Wenlock, managing director of Flexpress, is convinced that this is the technology missing from litho production that will allow his business to stand out from the crowd. “Time is the number one advantage,” he explains, adding: “No customer says I’m going to give you more time to produce this job! Speed of turnaround is ever more critical: LED-UV technology will allow us to move work quickly on to the next stage of production, whether that is backing-up or finishing the job for delivery.”

The equipment being delivered to Flexpress consists of a four-colour Ryobi 524GX B3-format press and a four-colour Ryobi 924 SRA1-sized machine. Wenlock says: “The move up to SRA1 from B2 will allow us to become more competitive in larger sheet sizes, and to break into new markets.

“Analysing the work that we win and lose, the increase in sheet size will fill a gap in our production capabilities where we can gain more business. LED-UV has a lot to offer the small offset market: it will allow us to turn top quality work around at lightning speed.

Bryan Godwyn, joint managing director of IFS, says the show allows them to show ‘solutions to genuine issues in the print shop’

“The instant drying offered by LED-UV also means that we can consider printing on a wider range of substrates, such as plastics. We do produce such work already through our Indigo press, but higher volumes of such work will be significantly more cost effective to produce on a litho press. We believe that there is a growing market for this type of work.” Wenlock explains that its 15 year working relationship with Apex and Ryobi is down to the support they receive as a customer.

The instant drying offered by LED-UV also means that we can consider printing on a wider range of substrates, such as plastics

The performance of LED-UV technology on a litho press brings the process much closer to digital production in many ways, but with the creation of the best possible print quality and stock flexibility. Printers seeking to invest in litho equipment need to seriously examine the benefits offered by LED-UV in great detail before finalising their decision.

Apex Digital Graphics describe the health and safety benefits provided by LED-UV as a ‘hugely important part of the equation’

Significant savings

Ryobi has been the industry pioneer with regard to the introduction and development of LED-based UV drying. Developments in ink technology and manufacture have now caught up with the huge potential offered by this hardware, and LED-UV curable ink is now available from a host of major suppliers.

The last twelve months or so could well be viewed as the period that saw the commercial acceptance of LED-UV in the UK, where it followed the Japanese market, and a number of European countries, where the benefits were been taken on board very swiftly.

Printers should appreciate that LED-UV curing technology offers one of the most significant advances in litho printing in the last twenty years. The benefits for the printer when comparing LED-UV to current UV curing solutions are significant.

In terms of energy, LED-UV consumes roughly one-eighth of the power of commonly used with currently popular products. At today’s pricing that already represents a huge saving from day one of operation—and represents a saving that will be repeated day in, day out. For many heavy users of UV curing, such as food packaging producers, this factor alone should be enough to make them consider LED-UV as the way forward.

Apex Digital Graphics has partnered up with Chinese pre-press manufacturer Cron. Pictured: the UVP-3632GX platesetter from Cron

Significant savings, however, do not stop there. LEDs have a much longer life than conventional lamps, LED-UV still offers great print quality with quick drying, as well as health and safety benefits. LED-UV generates significantly less heat in the drying process. Many companies will testify to the problems that this can present in conventional solutions; print businesses going up in flames could even be a thing of the past.

Of course, LED-UV is not the only solution on offer at this year's Print Efficiently; visitors will see a range of pre-press, print, litho, digital, and finishing equipment.

Describing itself as the ‘switched on show’, with live equipment demonstrations working in a production environment, reminds us of the real reason behind major exhibitions—to benefit real printers in the real world. With hands on practical advice and a wide ranging of the latest print solutions, Print Efficiently is sure to attract plenty of visitors this autumn.

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