The Print Academy targets new markets with VANTAGE LED UV curing technology from Flint Group

Flint Group has helped The Print Academy in the UK greatly extend the capability of its 6 colour Heidelberg CD102 + coater with the retrofit of an AMS (Air Motion Systems) UV-LED curing system.

For a fraction of the cost of a new press The Print Academy now benefits from the considerable advantages of UV-LED curing, with the added advantage of still printing with a press that staff are already fully familiar with.

In VANTAGE LED Flint Group has created a package to help printers convert to the latest UV-LED technology. VANTAGE LED consists of pre-conversion consulting and training, new XCURA EVO UV-LED inks and coatings, matching pressroom chemicals and blankets, plus full customer support during and after conversion. At the heart of the system are UV-LED lamps supplied by the leading provider of UV-LED technology Air Motion Systems.

The Directors of The Print Academy, Justin McFarlin and Garry Burrows set up the business 10 years ago and have built a reputation for flexibility and a collaborative approach to meeting customer needs. They have also improved their environmental credentials, working alongside the World Land Trust to achieve certification as one of only a handful of printers in the UK recognized as a Carbon Balanced Publication Printer, giving them the opportunity to Carbon Balance clients print projects.

Two years ago they started looking at UV curing to target new market sectors and to help reduce bottlenecks in the finishing department and soon realised the considerable costs involved in purchasing a UV press. But in 2016 Flint Group approached them with the VANTAGE LED package and took them to visit a UV-LED printer in Germany. Justin and Garry took one of their jobs to Germany with 400% ink coverage and the sheet came off the press bone-dry. They were quickly convinced about the effectiveness and simplicity of the UV-LED retrofit option.

Justin commented; “We run a 24-hour shift pattern and needed to remove any hold-ups between the print room and finishing departments; occasionally having to wait up to 12 hours for sheets to dry before finishing can start which would cause us significant issues, especially with rush jobs – as well as extending our offering to customers with the availability of new processes that we can now achieve in house.’’

The other attraction for Garry was that VANTAGE LED offers full technical support and a suite of optimised XCURA inks and matching press room consumables; “As part of the installation process Flint Group helped us reduce our alcohol percentage from 8% to 3% which will enhance our environmental credentials even further and reduce costs. And by moving over to XCURA EVO inks we can eliminate spray powder, which has huge cost and working environment benefits.”

Another significant environmental benefit is the very low power consumption of the AMS UV-LED lamp unit compared with conventional UV printing.

The directors are very excited about now being able to print on a wider range of substrates including plastics and metalised board. “It was important that the retrofit happened quickly, so the presses were not out of action for long”, Garry explains. “The installation only took two days and we were still able to continue conventional printing on the night shift in-between. The support from AMS and Flint Group has been excellent throughout.”

Garry and Justin used this opportunity to wrap the press with supplier branded vinyl; “We wanted to use the vinyl wrap to thank our partners who helped with this important investment. The press room looks great and we are now planning some exciting initiatives to target both existing and new sectors, including implementing some new ideas to promote our business.”