Deltabach, our prime-flying commercial print house based here, has reported a tremendous upturn in running a business following its adoption in the latest generation LED-UV curing system from Air Motion Systems. The AMS XP9/17W unit was retrofitted to its latte art printer earlier this past year but, as Deltabach Director Marc de Jong explains, it wasn’t till the final quarter that the potential for the new system to improve his business became fully evident.
“Our primary reason for making an investment in the AMS LED-UV technology ended up being to raise the efficiency and productivity in our B1 press,” he shares. “It took us quite some time to find the balance of consumables right and adapt our practices and procedures, however the numbers reveal that this primary objective is realized. During prior to the upgrade we printed 24 million sheets; that rose to 30 million, pro rata, during our transition period and today, if we maintain our current amounts of output, we will hit 36 million sheets this season. This is without the changes in shift patterns, increases in manpower or electricity use together with added savings on stuff like spray powder, which we will no longer use.”
The increase in productivity is largely the consequence of three key benefits associated with the AMS LED-UV curing technology.
First in 2011, after a three-year period through which its turnover had quadrupled to €6 million, Deltabach decided to switch its B2 press with all the B1 Heidelberg CX 102. However, the extra costs incurred in changing formats at pre-press and bringing in a bigger guillotine flow line meant their budget would not stretch to some long delivery to the press. The compromise became problematic in reality: “It resulted in we had been only in a position to run at 12- or 13,000 sph (sheets per hour) when coating and that was obviously not satisfactory from your commercial standpoint,” says Marc de Jong. “With the AMS system we don’t need to coat, so we can run every job at around 16,500 sph – that’s a 20% differential.”
Second, sheets printed with AMS LED-UV curing are dry from the delivery and so are ready for fast printing around the reverse side and downstream processing:
“This doesn’t just mean we can easily promise better turnaround times to our customers,” explains Mr de Jong, “it features a major effect on our pressroom practice. Previously, on turn-and-tumble work, especially where uncoated or smooth papers were involved, the operator would output eight plates for the reason that job will have to wait – maybe overnight, or perhaps longer – just before the piles might be turned and place back with the press. Naturally, then another 10-20 minutes can be lost in getting the settings to the appropriate levels… now we just turn and go on. If you attempt to quantify that – it’s amazing. Additionally, it gives another dimension to the planning since the timings have become predictable.”
And also the third factor is certainly one that is often cited, but perhaps without its full ramifications being appreciated:
“By eliminating spray powder we not just make life easier in the press and in the bindery, and boost the product for that customer, we are enhancing the production time available on the press,” shares de Jong. “We utilized to take three hours following weekly to de-powder the press, and the same was true of many of the finishing machines, now that is not required it becomes more available production up-time. This factors into our bottom line. We also save dexmpky56 to an hour each day as the LED-UV inks overnight within the ducts, and much more time at the coating unit, where we once had to modify plates and tidy up between different jobs.”
The impact of the changes on workflow is clearly visible from the a4 uv printer where a large floor area is marked out into eight ‘lanes.’ This was formerly the marshaling yard where pallets of print were held and shuffled while they waited to dry before turning and reverse printing, or moving to publish-press. It now works as a buffer zone for print that is immediately ready for the following process, leaving a lot of free space for, possibly, the next press investment.
With just as much as 70% of the business being with agencies, brokers as well as other printers, production efficiency is important for Deltabach to protect its margins and keep its prices competitive. Now the added benefits of the AMS LED-UV technology will also be helping win new company. As de Jong continues, “Many in the major brand owners and designers specify a need for coating as standard procedure. We have managed to show them this has stopped being necessary when working with our system… we actually placed our product among those from the other suppliers and so they couldn’t find the difference. This became the green light for AMS LED-UV.”
In another instance, the huge benefits are already more dramatic. A significant national lottery company had been using a spread of print houses to supply its numerous tickets for mailing to potential entrants. The A4 sheets are printed on G-Print with the personalized ticket info on one side and also the lottery company’s solid red corporate ID in the other. Because of this, the waviness in the papers in the coating, and slippage in the spray powders were causing mayhem at the mailing house:
“When we switched for the AMS system we supplied our quota as usual, but without telling your client from the improvement in production,” explains de Jong. “It had not been well before they called us in since their mailing house was demanding for all of the tickets to get supplied similar to this. Their machines had never run so well. They might also observe that the quality of the solid was better, too, and the fact that we are now capable of supply at such short notice meant we won the whole contract.”
Now Deltabach is exploring other elements of the huge benefits that the AMS LED-UV brings. For just one of its property agency clients it is actually already printing ‘SOLD’ stickers which had been sent for screen printing since they are on non-absorbent stocks, and tests are under means for innovative POS, packaging and promotional gifts on unusual substrates which have added-value to develop better margins. Mr de Jong sees this being a separate enterprise, that is to be aimed at direct customers throughout the region:
“We will appear at any display, promotional or printed requirements the individual might have and we will supply. As far as our commercial printing services are concerned, Air Motion Systems’ LED-UV made a big difference, like waving a magic wand over our business. The designers love the standard as well as the texture in our print, we compete on price so we are receiving a reputation because the go-to supplier for quick turnaround work – even within 24 hours – that’s pretty challenging to beat.”
For Air Motion Systems, European Managing Director Carsten Barlebo reports, “Deltabach’s experience is a perfect instance of how the AMS LED-UV solution can improve performance at the press and exactly how this, in turn, can energize the full production process. In addition to being entirely mercury-free, another important benefit of the AMS option is our patented Dynamic Collimation system, that enables Total Flexible Lamp Positioning within the press and can make it the best choice for retro-fitting and re-commissioning as required. Which means that any print company having to improve its efficiency and increase capacity has a investment path that will not necessitate outlay over a new press.”
Deltabach was founded in 1970 by de Jong’s father as being a spin-from the stationery in plant he managed for a newspaper publisher in Leiden, between Amsterdam along with the Hague. Although still dedicated to commercial stationery print, it always championed new technology and was among the initial adopters of CtP and MIS systems within the Netherlands. When expansion forced relocation to an eco-friendly business park in Nieuw-Vennep, even closer Amsterdam, in 2007, a sales partner was appointed to develop new jobbing commercial and trade work. The largely self-contained operation included studio, pre-press, dtg printer and also in-house bindery. The mushrooming of turnover from €1.5 million in 2008 to €6 million in 2011 led to the unusual decision to replace the B2 press with a new B1 Heidelberg CX 102.
Marc de Jong comments, “We hadn’t created to move from the Leiden area, but there are no suitable available choices there. Since it turned out, the move into a new high-tech, eco-friendly building has been perfect for us; it’s a fantastic environment to welcome our high-end corporate clients, agencies, designers and print brokers into … they never neglect to be impressed. We had been also fortunate we chose not to specify a long delivery with IR drying if we made the go on to B1. It was the constrictions imposed by that press configuration that led me to look into alternative solutions as our business developed. I come up with a reason for pursuing the latest innovations by checking the trade media in the United States, Printweek.com and the like, and once I check out AMS LED-UV I found myself surprised by the claims for eliminating powder, increasing speeds and the sheets being ready for immediate back-up printing or finishing; I wasn’t considering the capacity to print on awkward stocks or plastics. Every one of the reports looked good therefore we made enquiries and Wifac, the agent for Air Motion Systems in the BeNeLux countries, arranged some site visits for us. If we saw it in operation we were convinced that AMS LED-UV was a good choice for people.”