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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.


Should You Rebuild or Replace?

A couple of summers ago, while we were preparing for our family vacation, I went down in our basement to gather some items for the trip. While walking past the utility closet, I stepped on a water soaked area of our carpet and immediately thought to myself; Do I want to open the door to find out where this water is coming from? Then reality set in quickly. Do I actually have a choice?

The water trail had appeared to lead to the base of the furnace. My first hope was that it was only the ejector pump had overflowed, but after further evaluation, I determined it was internal. I realized the system was 10 years old, but it had given us very little trouble prior to that day.

We all know these sorts of things always happen at the most inopportune time. We were two days from leaving on a family vacation and now had to figure out who to call and what the repairs would entail.

The repairman arrived and had given us a couple of options that he could try to eliminate the issues. Due to the time constraint and the urgency, we took the lesser of two evils. He did what he needed and off he went.

Ten days later, we arrived back at home to find that the quick fix was not the answer and had to have a technician return to our home. Now we were faced with the decision once again. Do we pay for an attempt to repair the unit or just make the investment and replace it with a new model?

The life expectancy of UV drying systems varies for many reasons. How often the system was actually used? How well was the equipment maintained and serviced? As well as the conditions surrounding the machine. One of the most important contributing factors to remember is the age of the equipment. Many of the earlier designs are now outdated. Older units are hindered by excess power consumption and heat.

Modern engineering allow newer systems to run much cooler. The module and reflector development along with air flow enhancements have made great improvements to the units. This innovative technology has increased output energy almost 25% over antiquated systems. This translates to extended longevity and reliability of the systems. Furthermore, lower operating temperatures correlate directly to less deterioration of the printing press, in addition to increasing the stability and control of the substrates.

Keep in mind the option of lower energy consumption that is now available with the newer designed power supplies. Many of these new electronic ballast power supplies have been installed and running around the world for some time now and customers are experiencing good results. They allow better control and offer manufacturers the capability to lower the stand-by power consumption. The question that remains is the stability and overall life expectancy of the new style system vs. the bullet proof, conventional ballasts.

If you’re questioning the performance of your UV equipment, many of the manufacturers offer audits. You could just need a tune up on your existing equipment. Maybe the possibility of retrofitting new cassettes to your current system is an option. Remember that you do have alternatives to a complete replacement. This could be worth looking into from a financial perspective, as well as save you valuable production time in the long run.

We, however, made the decision to completely replace the furnace and the air conditioning unit with a new high efficiency model. For the immediate results, our electric bills were lower over the following summer months but the maintenance and total operating cost savings will have to be qualified over time.

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