Deltabach, the high-flying commercial print house based here, has reported a significant upturn in business following its adoption from the latest generation LED-UV curing system from Air Motion Systems. The AMS XP9/17W unit was retrofitted to the latte art printer earlier a year ago but, as Deltabach Director Marc de Jong explains, it wasn’t till the final quarter that the chance of the brand new system to change his business became fully evident.
“Our primary basis for investing in the AMS LED-UV technology was to increase the efficiency and productivity of our own B1 press,” he shares. “It took us a while to find the balance of consumables right and adapt our practices and procedures, however the numbers show that this first objective is realized. In just before the upgrade we printed 24 million sheets; that rose to 30 million, pro rata, during our transition period and today, when we maintain our current levels of output, we are going to hit 36 million sheets this coming year. This is without any variations in shift patterns, increases in manpower or electricity use and with added savings on things such as spray powder, which we no more use.”
The rise in productivity is basically the effect of three key advantages of the AMS LED-UV curing technology.
First in 2011, following a three-year period during which its turnover had quadrupled to €6 million, Deltabach made the decision to replace its B2 press using the B1 Heidelberg CX 102. However, an added costs incurred in changing formats at pre-press and bringing in a larger guillotine flow line meant their budget would not stretch to your long delivery to the press. The compromise turned out to be problematic in reality: “It meant we were only capable to run at 12- or 13,000 sph (sheets per hour) when coating and also this was obviously not satisfactory from a commercial standpoint,” says Marc de Jong. “With the AMS system we don’t have to coat, therefore we can run every job at up to 16,500 sph – that’s a 20% differential.”
Second, sheets printed with AMS LED-UV curing are dry inside the delivery and so are ready for immediate printing about the reverse side and downstream processing:
“This doesn’t just mean we are able to promise better turnaround times to our customers,” explains Mr de Jong, “it carries 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 as the job would have to wait – maybe overnight, or perhaps longer – just before the piles may be turned and placed back through the press. Obviously, then another 10 minutes would be lost in acquiring the settings straight back to the proper levels… now we turn and proceed. If you try to quantify that – it’s amazing. In addition, it gives another dimension to our own planning as the timings are becoming predictable.”
Along with the third factor is a that may be often cited, but perhaps without its full ramifications being appreciated:
“By eliminating spray powder we not merely make life easier on the press and in the bindery, and increase the product for that customer, we have been enhancing the production time available on the press,” shares de Jong. “We used to take three hours at the conclusion of weekly to de-powder the press, along with the same was true of the vast majority of finishing machines, since is not really required it will become more available production up-time. All of this factors in to our bottom line. We also save dexmpky56 to a hour each day for the reason that LED-UV inks overnight from the ducts, and many more time in the coating unit, where we once had to modify plates and cleanup between different jobs.”
The impact from the changes on workflow is clearly visible within the phone case printer where a large floor area is marked out into eight ‘lanes.’ This is formerly the marshaling yard where pallets of print were held and shuffled since they waited to dry before turning and reverse printing, or moving to post-press. It now acts as a buffer zone for print that may be immediately ready for the next process, leaving lots of free space for, possibly, the following press investment.
With up to 70% of its business being with agencies, brokers as well as other printers, production efficiency is essential for Deltabach to protect its margins whilst keeping its prices competitive. The added benefits of the AMS LED-UV technology may also be helping win business. As de Jong continues, “Many from the major brand owners and designers specify a requirement for coating as standard procedure. We certainly have been able to indicate them this has stopped being necessary when utilizing our system… we actually placed our product among those from the other suppliers and they couldn’t find the difference. This became the green light for AMS LED-UV.”
In another instance, the huge benefits happen to be much more dramatic. A major national lottery company was utilizing a spread of print houses to provide its numerous tickets for mailing to potential entrants. The A4 sheets are printed on G-Print together with the personalized ticket information on one side and the lottery company’s solid red corporate ID around the other. Consequently, the waviness from the papers from the coating, and slippage in the spray powders were causing mayhem on the mailing house:
“When we switched on the AMS system we supplied our quota as always, but without telling the buyer of the alternation in production,” explains de Jong. “It was not prior to they called us in since their mailing house was demanding for those tickets to become supplied similar to this. Their machines had never run so well. They might also notice that the grade of the solid was better, too, and the point that our company is now capable to supply at such short notice meant we won the complete contract.”
Now Deltabach is exploring other elements of the benefits that this AMS LED-UV brings. For just one of their property agency clients it can be already printing ‘SOLD’ stickers which was previously sent for screen printing since they are on non-absorbent stocks, and tests are under way for innovative POS, packaging and promotional items on unusual substrates which have added-value to develop better margins. Mr de Jong sees this as being a separate enterprise, which will be geared towards direct customers in the region:
“We can look at any display, promotional or printed requirements the individual could have so we will supply. With regards to our commercial printing service is concerned, Air Motion Systems’ LED-UV has made a significant difference, like waving a magic wand over our business. The designers love the standard as well as the texture of the print, we compete on price so we are becoming a reputation since 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 great demonstration of how the AMS LED-UV solution can improve performance in the press and just how this, subsequently, can energize the entire production process. In addition to being entirely mercury-free, another significant benefit from the AMS solution is our patented Dynamic Collimation system, allowing Total Flexible Lamp Positioning throughout the press and will make it the correct choice for retro-fitting and re-commissioning as required. Because of this any print company being forced to improve its efficiency and increase capacity comes with an investment path that is not going to necessitate outlay over a new press.”
Deltabach was founded in 1970 by de Jong’s father being a spin-out of the stationery in plant he managed for any newspaper publisher in Leiden, between Amsterdam and also the Hague. Although still dedicated to commercial stationery print, it always championed new technology and was among the first adopters of CtP and MIS systems in the Netherlands. When expansion forced relocation to a 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 this year triggered the unusual decision to exchange the B2 press with a new B1 Heidelberg CX 102.
Marc de Jong comments, “We hadn’t intended to move out from the Leiden area, but there have been no suitable available options there. Mainly because it turned out, the transfer to a fresh high-tech, eco-friendly building is great for us; it’s an excellent environment to welcome our high-end corporate clients, agencies, designers and print brokers into … they never neglect to be impressed. We were also fortunate which we chose to not specify an extensive delivery with IR drying when we made the go on to B1. It had been the constrictions imposed by that press configuration that led me to look into alternative solutions as our business developed. I come up with a point of using the latest innovations by checking the trade media in the states, Printweek.com and so forth, and whenever I find out about AMS LED-UV I had been astounded by the claims for eliminating powder, increasing speeds as well as the sheets being ready for fast back-up printing or finishing; I wasn’t considering the ability to print on awkward stocks or plastics. All the reports looked good so we made enquiries and Wifac, the agent for Air Motion Systems from the BeNeLux countries, arranged some site visits for us. Once we saw it operational we were convinced that AMS LED-UV was the right choice for all of us.”