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Gapen on UV

Gapen on UV

By Darren Gapen

About Darren

Darren has worked in the printing industry for 30 years and spent more than 12 years at two of the nation's leading high-end commercial printers: Bradley Printing in Des Plaines, IL, and Williamson Printing Corp. in Dallas, TX. During that time, he operated conventional and UV 40˝ sheetfed presses and also successfully managed a $15-million pressroom equipment transition. Darren also was Lead Press Instructor for Heidelberg, where he directed specialty equipment startups and was involved in all aspects of the printing process by teaching both instructor and pressroom employees.

In addition, he served as a troubleshooter for various printing companies in the U.S., Canada and Mexico. As operations manager for a start-up specialty folding carton company, he played a key role in achieving more than $6 million in sales within two years. Currently Darren is president of D.G. Print Solutions, a consulting firm that supports printing companies of all sizes. He specializes in growth development planning, pressroom color management and pressroom training through specialty print applications.


Conditioning is Everything!

How well do you think you would do if you entered the Boston Marathon a couple of weeks ago without ever putting on a pair of running shoes before the race? Or, do you think that you could make it to the top of Mount Everest if you have only been breathing air at sea level altitude?

Many printers have not made the total commitment to running UV inks on a full-time basis for one reason or another. Some will change back and forth from conventional printing to UV on a daily, weekly or just on an as-needed basis. This equates to numerous wash ups along with chemistry and product changes depending on their individual situations.

I’m sure most of you that print using this convertible method are well aware of the down time between the processes and are always looking for ways to speed up the practice. Many question why it takes so long when in the manufacturer’s demo room they witnessed 12 minute changeovers. “Why can’t we do that?” Seriously? Did you believe it’s possible in the real world? Remember, they don’t call it the land of “Make Believe” for nothing.

Your press operators will agree that this changeover does take time and, to do it correctly, takes yet more time. But with tight schedules, the customer heading to the plant and the pressroom supervisor tapping his foot while he stands next to the delivery, short cuts tend to be taken. This will not only extend the makeready time but will also have a direct effect on the quality of the sheets that your showing your customer and trying to get OK'd.

Conditioning is everything! Spend the extra few minutes to make sure that you condition the rollers properly. This will not only assist with the runabilty of the next job but also how the machine reacts during the makeready. Keep in mind this is important going both ways not just going from conventional to UV. You need to make sure the polymers and monomers are extracted from the rollers when switching to conventional as well.

Don’t think this is the “end all” solution for convertible applications but it will improve your chances dramatically. Most printers will admit, the first job out of the box going in either direction is a struggle and will tend to schedule the “not so” critical jobs first up, if possible.

For those of you thinking about next years marathon, you better start training hard and conditioning now.

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