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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.


With UV Equipment, Run What You Brung!

Growing up in the Southwest suburbs of Chicago in the late ’70s and ’80s gave me many opportunities to experience different pastimes. One of which was going down to Chicago’s South Side on a Friday or Saturday night, somewhere around midnight and watching the streets fill up with people and cars for some good old fashion muscle car street racing. Not the crap you see on TV with the zip cars and the coffee can pipe that sounds like an overworked sewing machine, but some chest pounding, 600+ HP, straight header, 8 & 9 second street cars. Rolling off of the trailers and starting up while a crowd of more than 100 people waited to decide where to put their money. Neither driver privy to what was under the other's hood nor how big the N.O.S. bottle was in the trunk. The saying was, “Run what you Brung.”

The same applies to UV. Why are there so many UV printers out there that have made the investment and not “Run What They Bought?” Why under utilize what you have spent all of the money on? The answers could be one of or a combination of many things.

If you are going on the thought of “Build it and they will come” than you better have a sales strategy in place that will back it up. Many salespeople need to be educated on the UV process as well as the pressroom. They need to know how to sell UV printing. Believe it or not you will run into the obstacle of justifying the price more than anything.

Some do not set aside the extra money for the R&D that will be needed to test and perfect the process. This also ends in disappointment and failure, along with discouragement from the press crews. You have to allow an adequate amount of time and money to learn how to get good at UV printing for your target markets.

Be aware of the costs of the UV process. Energy usage, inks and blanket consumption are a shocker to some after the fact. You have to know that the drying package was not the last investment you will make. Know that you can’t print a UV job as cheap as conventional.

With all of that said, don’t give up and just turn off the lights. Use the system you purchased to its fullest potential. Get good at what you can do best. “Perfect your Process.” Also educate your customers on your abilities and what enhancements are possible with UV printing. Explain and justify how the benefits and end results out weigh the increase in price.

And for those of you that live by the badge...We would only get a few races off at each location before “Chicago’s Finest” would arrive and open up the fire hydrants and soak down the streets. You can’t “Hook Up” with wet tires!

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