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Sheetfed UV Printing : UV Provides Cure for Many

November 2009 By Erik Cagle
Senior Editor
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NOW IS the time to invest in sheetfed offset UV press technology. And don’t worry, the burning sensation from the hot coffee coming out of your nose and mouth will subside in a day or two. Probably.

The most typical response to the initial statement is, “Are you (expletive) nuts? You might have noticed there is a recession going on. You want me to go further in the hole when no one’s buying printing now? Did one of the sheetfed press manufacturers put you up to this? I bet they’re paying you to write this insanity.”

The answers to these questions/statements are: Uncertain, noticed it, yup, they did not, and checks made out to cash are acceptable. PayPal works, too.

Trust us, this is a josh-free zone. Frivolous equipment acquisitions help no one, including the vendors, and especially the market in general. Even with consolidation and numerous printers tanking this year, there is still overcapacity within the 40˝ sheetfed market. But a strong argument can be made for having a press equipped with in-line UV printing and coating capabilities, and it goes like this: Many of your competitors cannot, or will not, make the leap to UV because of the financial commitment involved.

Yes, most of your competitors aren’t jumping off bridges, either, but it says here that a UV press provides its owners with a point of differentiation in a crowded 40˝ market. Moreover, the allure of UV is such that it has the ability to reel in customers who may not view print as the optimal avenue for their investment dollars.

Applications Abound

UV represents the sexy side of printing—rich and vibrant colors, sparkling gloss—which also appeals to high-end label and packaging clients. UV opens up a new world of substrates, from plastics (lenticular, static cling vinyl) to foil, specialty grades and board. In addition, UV inks cure quicker than conventional ones, enabling higher productivity and faster turnaround times.

Ah, but the velvet rope comes at a steep price. The cost of a UV press is considerably higher than a conventional one. Ditto for inks, coatings and chemistry. Certain substrates have a higher out-of-pocket cost.

And challenging...if your press operators don’t mind the learning curve that’s necessary to perfect the UV printing craft. Of course it’s hard. There’s a line from the movie “A League of Their Own,” in which Tom Hanks’ character essentially spells out the difference between “why?” and “why not?” people: “It’s supposed to be hard. If it wasn’t hard, everyone would do it. The hard...is what makes it great.”

 

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