LightTouch: Unique UV-curable waterless printing that delivers high quality and the utmost in environmental sustainability
Prost?jov/ Czech Republic - Toray Industries Inc., a leading manufacturer of waterless offset plate technology, today reported that its partnership with Seacourt Printing of Oxford in the UK has helped create one of the world’s top three leading environmental printers. With its proprietary LightTouch technology using UV curable waterless printing inks and Toray waterless printing plates, Seacourt has chalked up impressive environmental benefits, including a cumulative savings of more than eight million litres of water and a reduction in VOCs of 98.5%.
“We began our environmental journey almost by accident when we attended a sustainability event in 1996,” says Gareth Dinnage, Seacourt’s Managing Director. “Like many printing companies, we were unaware of the extent of the environmental impact a printing operation can have. But once we came away with new knowledge that couldn’t be unlearned, it compelled us to investigate further. We wanted to better understand our own impact and what we could do about it moving forward.”
Seacourt began its search for a more sustainable printing process with a visit to Toray in Japan. “After that,” Dinnage says, “we were sold on waterless printing. It has served us well and we have never looked back. But now we are taking it to an entirely new level.”
In 2015, in partnership with Toray and its ink and press manufacturers, Seacourt launched LightTouch, which uses UV curable waterless inks with LED curing developed specifically for Seacourt’s process. “Our LED curing is based on Nobel Prize winning blue light technology, and the results of its increased energy efficiency are staggering,” Dinnage reports. “We were also very pleased with the exceptional support we received from Toray and our ink supplier, Classic Colours, as we made these dramatic changes.”
Now Seacourt is known for its radical approach to the environment. It was one of the first printing firms to achieve EMAS certification in 1999, an accreditation renowned for its high standards and stringent demands. And a worldwide printing association has recognized the company as one of the top three leading environmental printers in the world. In addition, Seacourt is the recipient of two prestigious Queen’s Awards for Sustainable Development, along with a litany of other environmental awards.
“Our goal was to implement 21st Century technology that could be a blueprint for how the printing industry ought to look,” Dinnage says. “The result is that we have removed all additive’s and chemicals and are using ink and paper, and nothing else. We don’t even need to use offset spray or sealers anymore because the ink dries instantly. We couldn’t have done any of this without our deep partnership with Toray.”
“We are proud to be a key partner for Seacourt,” comments Kristian Ekvall, responsible for Technical & Sales at the graphic materials department at Toray Textiles Central Europe (TTCE). “The results they have achieved are amazing, including a reduction in VOCs of 98.5%, zero waste to the landfill and savings of more than eight million liters of water. Not only that, but they have increased both quality and throughput with this innovative waterless printing approach. They are truly a role model printing operation,” adds Mitsunori Hayashi general manager at TTCE.