Königsdruck in Berlin, Germany, invited over 150 customers and business partners to its third Innovation Day on 26 March. The event focused on LED-UV technology, with which the design printshop has caused quite a stir in recent weeks.
The printing firm’s founder Olaf König explained how this decision came about. LED technology caught his attention when searching for exciting topics with which he could strengthen his company both in terms of quality and ecology. He met with the developers of LED lamps and then began looking for a press manufacturer who could build him such a suitable press. KBA caught his eye and the delivery of a Rapida 106 with six inking units and coater followed. In scope of this investment the specialists from Königsdruck pooled know-how from mechanical, ink and coating engineering as well as from the pressroom creating an international LED technology hub for offset printing.
LED-UV: a plus for quality and the environment
Dirk Winkler head of the print technology department at KBA Radebeul spoke about the benefits of LED-UV for printing companies and their customers. The process delivers a particularly high print quality. It stands out on critical uncoated and offset stock in particular with sharp dots and high colour brilliance. Moreover, the printed products hardly ever have fold breaks even with high ink coverage due to elastic polymerization. The sheets can be sent straight to post-press even without the use of protective coating. The use of printing powder is also not necessary and compared to the traditional UV process no ozone or odours are produced. This technique is environmentally friendly as it consumes little energy and its ink systems are free from mineral oils. It consumes only 20 per cent of the energy needed by conventional UV processes.
Richard Wilson and Markus Menges from the Flint Group reviewed the one-year development partnership between KBA and AMS. The LED inks are now available under the name “KBA Prime Print LED-UV powered by Flint Group”. The focus is now on developing overprint varnishes. Fluorescent, metallic, organic and migration-free inks as well as a series of LED inks for non-absorbent substrates are also in the pipeline or are currently being developed.
Carsten Barlebo from dryer manufacturer AMS looked back on his first meeting with Olaf König. In 2013 they both philosophised about how to make printing ‘green’. The development of LED drying was a huge step forward. AMS unveiled this process at Drupa 2012 without any customer references. 18 months later the company had 156 installations worldwide under its belt. Furthermore, in 2014 the efficiency of this drying process doubled.
Rapida 106 – the miracle press
Olaf König compared the development work with the partner companies to the four musketeers: “Everyone in their area worked meticulously towards the joint goal.” The process is practical and the first customers were amazed by the high quality of their LED printed products. Thanks to the press’ ability to handle a wide range of substrates with this process the Rapida 106 has proven to be “a real miracle press”. The press operators at Königsdruck joke that they could print on anything, apart from padded jackets. A further highlight is the press’ high speed: While the firm’s previously implemented technology ran at speeds of between 13,000 and 14,000sph, the Rapida 106 runs at 18,000sph. Furthermore, the lead times in production are impressive: Immediately after being printed the sheets are sent straight through a folder and saddle stitcher.
Carolin Zacharias, manager director at Königsdruck, summed up the company’s numerous initiatives: “We have embarked on a path towards becoming a sustainable firm. This means more than simply concentrating on economic and ecological aspects. Social topics, especially education, are equally important to us.” She pointed out that some 7.5m adults in Germany cannot read or write. In September last year Königsdruck therefore launched the charity initiative “Happy by Design”. Together with the German non-profit organisation Kopf, Hand + Fuss, Königsdruck aims to combat illiteracy. As a means of helping those adults affected to help themselves the first app targeting illiteracy entitled “IRMGARD” is expected be launched on the German education market.
- The visiting print experts saw first-hand the many facets of sustainability at stands belonging to Königsdruck’s customers as well as organic products from the German eco-village of Brodowin. Its managing director Ludolf von Maltzan: “We have to put more back into the earth than we take from it and we have to look after all that it gives us. This is true of the production of print products as well as agriculture.”
The participants were impressed not only with the event, but also with the print samples from live print demonstrations that they could take home with them. These can also be ordered directly from Königsdruck’s Website.