April 6, 2004 -- “Optimized Sheetfed UV Printing & Coating” is a generic best practice guide to help improve overall process performance. It is being published by PrintCity’s Sheetfed Activity Group who have combined their expertise in the UV production chain to help optimise industry quality and productivity. GATF (Graphic Arts Technical Foundation) of the US is also a key content contributor. “We are not aware of any comprehensive guide to UV printing and were therefore delighted to participate in PrintCity’s initiative,” says George Ryan, Vice-President of GATF who will also be distributing the guide in North America.
The growth of UV is being driven by its value-added attributes that can provide multiple benefits in publication, commercial, packaging and label market applications. The key business advantage in the UV process is its application flexibility that delivers variable product features and special applications over a wide range of substrates and surface finishes. This provides printing purchasers with creative opportunities to differentiate their products and add functional features to them. The requirement for higher product quality and greater productivity is pushing both printers and their suppliers to select the right combination of equipment and consumable materials that will optimise the process, add value and improve productivity.
Cross process expertise
Best practices are a tool to improve overall performance and this requires a cross-industry and cross-process approach because no single company can provide answers to all the variables of the press line and its consumables. Print City’s Sheetfed Activity Group members each have important roles in the interrelated production chain: Agfa (prepress and plates), Eltosch (UV curing units), MAN Roland (presses), Reeves (blankets), Sun Chemical (inks and coatings), Sappi and UPM (paper) and Westland (rollers).
The objective of the guide is to disseminate generic process knowledge to all the participants in the production chain and is organised into sections that address key operating issues, best practices and diagnostics for the four main sheetfed applications used today:
- Conventional inks + dispersion primer + UV coatings.
- Full UV inks and UV coatings
- UV hybrid inks and UV coatings
- Combination of UV and conventional ink systems on same press for alternative operation.
- Selecting the right process is critical and this depends both on the substrates and products to be produced and the proportions of UV and conventional printing on each press,” comments Michael Nitsche, Chairman of the Sheetfed Activity Group and Sheetfed Product Marketing Manager for MAN Roland. “We have all learnt a lot more about the UV process during this project and we intend to continue this work together.”
Three priorities for high quality UV printing and productivity identified by the group are:
1. Chemical compatibility of all consumables used in the process system.
2. Ensuring that the press is appropriately configured, set up and maintained.
3. Staff training is the pre-requisite for high productivity UV printing.
Generic easy-to-read content
All UV printers -- irrespective of the brands of equipment or consumables that they use -- can apply the generic content of the guide which is an industry reference to best practice to help transfer knowledge worlwide. The 40-page guide is written in a concise, easy-to-read style accompanied by numerous graphics and are intended to be read at all levels from managers to production employees.
“Optimised Sheetfed UV Printing & Coating” will be available in May and published in English, German, French, Italian and Spanish. They cost 12 Eu each and are available from group members or from GATF’s web site.
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