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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.

 

Radials or Snow Tires; Full or Hybrid - It’s in the Rubber

 
As a youngster growing up in the harsh winters of the southwest suburbs of Chicago, I remember my dad changing out the tires on his pick up truck in April and late October. He had one set of summer rims and radial tires that were on the truck from spring through summer, and a set of winter rims with capped snow tires to keep him on the road commuting back and forth to work though the brutal winter months.

When it was time to get the snow tires recapped, he returned to the same tire guys that he had gone to since the early ’60s. He always went back because of their service but, most importantly, the quality of the product they offered. The folks at Sanders Brother’s tires were true experts in the business and always looked after their customers needs.

I know you’re asking—Darren, what the heck do tires have to do with printing UV?

Well, it’s not the tire; it’s the importance of the rubber.

I recently had the opportunity to assist another client with the start up of a UV press. The shop was completely new to the world of UV printing and application, which meant not only did we have to spend the time defining the process and procedures, but also implementing a new set of plate curves for printability and color match on various stocks.

On the second day into the start up, we encountered issues with the rollers swelling. Keep in mind there is always a reaction when introducing UV products to the roller train, but this was an extreme situation that had left behind flat lines at the nips. It was so severe that when we idled the press, it sounded like the wheels were falling off the bus or it was driving on four flat tires.

We were told upon the arrival of the sales and tech rep from the roller manufacturer that the $30,000 worth of rollers that were previously ordered and installed by my client were not compatible with full UV inks. The rep stated the rollers were indeed the manufacturer’s so-called convertible roller product—exactly like the rollers brand X and Z offer—yet they only have the ability to run conventional and hybrid UV inks. Wrong! Brand X and Z will run full UV inks!

Apparently, the customer had given the specifics to the roller manufacturer prior to the order, but the rep didn’t listen. This press was purchased and converted to run full UV plastic inks on Styrene 60 percent of the time while running conventional process on paper board for the remaining 40 percent.

Now remember, this printer is new to UV, so it was relying on the technical knowledge of the vendor to guide it in the direction needed. Well that didn’t happen!

To avoid additional delays and meet client project deadlines, the difficult decision was made to keep the rollers as is. After adjusting the chemistry to appease the rollers, we successfully went forward.

It’s very unfortunate in today’s times when the so-called “vendor partnerships” result in a disappointing and/or one-sided experience. You have to listen to and protect the needs of your clients or there will be a time when they go elsewhere!
 

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