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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.

 

UV Printing: Can You Afford not to Make the Investment?

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Here we are at the beginning of another new year with the hopes that 2010 brings us all the health, wealth and happiness that we all strive for. With new thoughts and ideas on how to improve our businesses, we realize the importance of spending the budget wisely. What purchases are the most important for the future of our business? Many of us operate our businesses much like our lives.

Having two of my daughters in college this year and the third involved in numerous activities in high school, my wife and I are asking the same questions as I do in my business life. What is the starting budget amount allotted for this year? Did we allocate the appropriate funds per event? What are our immediate needs? How urgent are these needs? Can we survive if we postpone these purchases and what effect will it have on our lives? When it’s all said and done, will we stay at our budget?

Many of us have heard that adding UV printing to our repertoire would increase our offerings to our customers, but have not completely understood exactly why. Do the benefits overcome the added expenses? Is UV the answer for developing our business? With today’s economy, should I make this capital investment? The question might actually be; “Can you afford not to make the investment?” Is it safer to be proactive or reactive?

UV printing is becoming more and more popular within our industry. Numerous printers are now investing in this technology for various reasons. Either to produce their current customers’ products more efficiently and effectively, or possibly to separate themselves from the competition. Or, maybe just to become that “Greener Printer.” It could even be all of the above.

A correctly configured UV printing press could enhance your current business along with creating many new opportunities that were never possible with a conventional machine. Many printers figure out quickly that the rewards are well worth the investment when approached and executed properly. UV has something to offer for everyone willing to take that plunge.

We all know about how “green” the world has become. Well UV printing is an eco-friendly practice. Because of the polymerization method or cross link during the drying process, you have no solvents that are released or absorbed in the substrate as with conventional inks. This equates to no VOC’s (Volatile Organic Compounds), which make it much safer for you and the environment. Thereby making it more inviting to the large corporate America customers as well as the small print buyers looking for a “greener” printer.

Since UV inks are dried or cured with ultraviolet lights, drying time is eliminated. Unlike conventional oil based inks, UV dries instantly when the sheet passes under the light.

At that time, it turns from a liquid state to a solid. UV inks are not absorbed into the stocks, which means the ink film remains on top of the sheet. This also translates into much more vibrant print and visual effects. Conventional inks not only have to dry with evaporation, they will loose up to 50% of the initial ink film applied through evaporation and absorption. You cannot match the quality of UV inks on an offset sheet using the conventional process.

Other important advantages of instant drying with UV are the turn times in production and no marking or smudging on the finishing equipment or non-porous substrates. You now have the option to back up the job right away, no matter what the run length and/or send the job straight to the bindery. This will enable you to not only save valuable floor space in your building but also not have the worries of blemishes on a cutter or folder.

Ask yourself these questions again. How many times have drying issues been a bottleneck within your company? How much time and money have you spent on additional makereadies when the job was too wet to handle? Why do we have to do a second pass when overprinting metallic inks? Were these additional costs passed on to your customers or did you have to chalk it up to experience and try not to let it happen again? What about that plastic or foil job that sat there for days while you paced like an expectant father outside of a delivery room until it finally dried? Think how great it would be to not have these worries?

How about those special effects? Some of you might not think you currently have the customer base for these applications, but are you sure? If you were aware how predictable and repeatable some of these processes actually are, I think you would change your mind. The opportunities are endless. With all of the advancements in chemistry that we have today, all of this is possible.

Just imagine how your customer would react when you show them a sample of the reticulating strike-through effect on their company mascot, which happens to be a lizard. Or what about the color shift coating that turns a silver Mercedes from blue to green? Think about the soft feel of a suede loveseat in their sales brochure. I have seen some very impressive printed samples out there. So why not have this option to offer your customers?

I realize that UV applications are not for everybody, but if you are looking for something that will truly set you apart from the other printers, or feel the need to be more productive throughout your process, UV could be the answer that you’re looking for.

Industry Centers:

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COMMENTS

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Most Recent Comments:
Thomas Struthers - Posted on February 01, 2010
Darren, I came across your name and resume while reading about the benefits of UV printing (very Impressive). I teach Graphic Communications, Offset Press, Binding and Finishing to High School students. The students are printing nice quality work on the Heidelberg Quickmaster and Ryobi presses. The question I have is, What avenue should I be advancing to with the future of our students in this industry? I would appreciate any advice. Thank you, Thomas Struthers Shawsheen Valley Tech.
Darren Gapen - Posted on February 01, 2010
Hi Thomas,

I'm glad to hear that you read the articles and I hope that you find them interesting.

I commend you and your school for continuing to teach Graphics Arts to the students. I started in the trade over thirty years ago in the same class. Learning everything from running an old Multilith to setting lead type, one piece at a time. And for my career, I thank Mr. Wakefield for getting me started and keeping my interest for all four years of high school. Unfortunately, the Graphics Arts class was replaced with computer lab shortly after I graduated and the majority of high schools now, don't offer the class.

My best advise to you would be to keep the students interested. It is a great trade to get into. I explain to the younger crowd that they can advance as much as their capabilities will allow. Printing presses are found everywhere and the salary ranges are as diverse as the business. This makes it a great opportunity for young minds to explore the industry to it's fullest and live anywhere they want to live. And more important to go as far as they choose.

I would also recommend getting together with some printers in your area to assist students with possible part time employment or just the opportunity to visit their shops and see what the business is all about.

When I first entered the trade, an older gentlemen explained this to me; "the average person comes into contact with over 50 items a day that has been printed with some application of our industry". Have your young adults think about that. From a Pepsi can to a tube of tooth paste, or better yet a school book to an Itunes gift card; printing is everywhere.

I do have one question for you. I know your email doesn't pertain only to UV but however I feel it's actually a more important part of our future getting our young printers interested. Could I post your question as a comment on the website?

Good luck to you and the students and I hope that you continue reading the blog.

Regards,
Darren
Bill F. - Posted on January 31, 2010
I think when trying to decide whether to get into UV or not you need to get some background into your market and what your customers are asking for or are you trying to create new markets--i.e. Do you want to be in small run packaging, menus, cosmetics or markets where higher end coatings and finishes are needed? This must be weighed against the cost of either retro fitting existing equipment and knowledge or purchasing new.
Darren Gapen - Posted on January 31, 2010
Bill, You are correct about choosing your markets before signing the checks for the equipment. We all know a couple of printers that were heading in one direction but then had to take a detour for one reason or another. Not this is a terrible thing but it is sometimes costly. It all goes back to setting your goals before you start.

Darren
Marty Kauls - Posted on January 22, 2010
Great article – very insightful. I know that UV printing (we have 6 Durst Rho UV printers) has changed and increased our business.
Click here to view archived comments...
Archived Comments:
Thomas Struthers - Posted on February 01, 2010
Darren, I came across your name and resume while reading about the benefits of UV printing (very Impressive). I teach Graphic Communications, Offset Press, Binding and Finishing to High School students. The students are printing nice quality work on the Heidelberg Quickmaster and Ryobi presses. The question I have is, What avenue should I be advancing to with the future of our students in this industry? I would appreciate any advice. Thank you, Thomas Struthers Shawsheen Valley Tech.
Darren Gapen - Posted on February 01, 2010
Hi Thomas,

I'm glad to hear that you read the articles and I hope that you find them interesting.

I commend you and your school for continuing to teach Graphics Arts to the students. I started in the trade over thirty years ago in the same class. Learning everything from running an old Multilith to setting lead type, one piece at a time. And for my career, I thank Mr. Wakefield for getting me started and keeping my interest for all four years of high school. Unfortunately, the Graphics Arts class was replaced with computer lab shortly after I graduated and the majority of high schools now, don't offer the class.

My best advise to you would be to keep the students interested. It is a great trade to get into. I explain to the younger crowd that they can advance as much as their capabilities will allow. Printing presses are found everywhere and the salary ranges are as diverse as the business. This makes it a great opportunity for young minds to explore the industry to it's fullest and live anywhere they want to live. And more important to go as far as they choose.

I would also recommend getting together with some printers in your area to assist students with possible part time employment or just the opportunity to visit their shops and see what the business is all about.

When I first entered the trade, an older gentlemen explained this to me; "the average person comes into contact with over 50 items a day that has been printed with some application of our industry". Have your young adults think about that. From a Pepsi can to a tube of tooth paste, or better yet a school book to an Itunes gift card; printing is everywhere.

I do have one question for you. I know your email doesn't pertain only to UV but however I feel it's actually a more important part of our future getting our young printers interested. Could I post your question as a comment on the website?

Good luck to you and the students and I hope that you continue reading the blog.

Regards,
Darren
Bill F. - Posted on January 31, 2010
I think when trying to decide whether to get into UV or not you need to get some background into your market and what your customers are asking for or are you trying to create new markets--i.e. Do you want to be in small run packaging, menus, cosmetics or markets where higher end coatings and finishes are needed? This must be weighed against the cost of either retro fitting existing equipment and knowledge or purchasing new.
Darren Gapen - Posted on January 31, 2010
Bill, You are correct about choosing your markets before signing the checks for the equipment. We all know a couple of printers that were heading in one direction but then had to take a detour for one reason or another. Not this is a terrible thing but it is sometimes costly. It all goes back to setting your goals before you start.

Darren
Marty Kauls - Posted on January 22, 2010
Great article – very insightful. I know that UV printing (we have 6 Durst Rho UV printers) has changed and increased our business.