Print UV Event Shows Upward Trend
LAS VEGAS—Several presenters at the sold-out Print UV 2009 technology conference, held March 8-10 at the Wynn Encore resort, declared that UV and hybrid UV technology might well represent the future of the offset printing industry. Based on the impressive turnout for the event, it would seem that many printers agree and are eager to capitalize on the opportunity. Now in its second year, the 2009 edition of Print UV drew more than 150 registrants, a 50 percent increase over last year’s attendance, with vendor personnel accounting for just 30 percent of the total. This was a deliberate calculation on the part of Print UV organizers, whose intent was to create a peer-to-peer networking event designed to enable UV practitioners, at every level of expertise, to share ideas and learn from one another.
In his introductory remarks, Hans Ulland, co-owner of Air Motion Systems and founder of the Print UV conference, reported that several key indicators suggest that UV printing is gaining ground. While sales of conventional inks are down from 30 percent to 60 percent in the current recession, Ulland said, sales of UV inks are flat or up by as much as 45 percent. Furthermore, while 60 percent of sheetfed presses are presently shipped UV-prepared, 34 percent of these are delivered with integrated UV systems. Overall, Ulland revealed, sales of UV presses have risen by 45 percent in recent years.
In an enthusiastically received keynote address, Warren Werbitt of Montreal-based Pazazz Printing chided printers for commoditizing their own industry. Combined with a rededication to customer service, he noted, UV printing offers a way for printers to reclaim their integrity (and their profit margins) by building a value-added niche to lift their businesses out of the commodity trap. In 2008, Werbitt became a YouTube phenomenon for producing and starring in “Printing’s Alive.”
Other presentations included an update from Stephen Metcalf, president and CEO of Air Motion Systems, on the future of next-generation LED UV. Despite advances in LED technology, he said, LED UV will become a commercial reality, only as the result of a “collaboration between UV hardware developers and formulators of UV consumables,” a process that could take several more years.