UV WEB OFFSET PRESSES -- Finding the Cure
An additional benefit of the UV web press that many printers may not consider is the lack of space that a press takes up, points out John Sillies, executive vice president of GSS. UV allows for reduced floor-space requirements resulting from the compact size of UV equipment versus the large post-dryers and chill stands. Muller Martini's Fetherman agrees, noting that big heatset presses take up a lot of costly real estate on a printer's pressroom floor.
All of these press technologies coupled with no environmental restrictions make UV presses a tough new competitor. The environmental advantages are substantial, adds Sillies. "There are no volatile organic compounds (VOCs), unlike solvent-based inks and, depending on the state and local agencies, special permits and control devices are generally not required."
And because of the lack of VOCs, UV drying is an easy transition for coldset web printers looking to expand their operations, notes Eric Short, president and CEO of RDP Marathon. "In operations that do not currently have pollution control expertise or the inclination to deal with equipment and regulatory issues, UV is an easy move from coldset offset printing," he states.
At the vanguard of this trend toward UV web printing has been California heatset printers, notes Fetherman. "They face more stringent anti-pollution laws and they tend to be at the forefront of national trends."
Also of interest to commercial printers, particularly those that are incorporating variable printing, is UV's ability to dry instantaneously.
"Until recently, the most natural fit for UV has been the direct mail market," claims Pitel. "The ability to dry ink for immediate post-processing, as well as having a cured product impervious to the heat of lasers, has resulted in rapid growth. In addition, since most direct mail applications already involved the use of hard cylinder webs, UV was the only effective process for drying coated stock with various color configurations."