World first claimed for technology centre focused on UV

In a clear demonstration of its long term commitment to spreading the UV message and increasing its markets, IST Metz has opened and equipped what it believes to be the world’s only UV supplier owned technology centre. The €3M investment includes a purpose built facility containing a Heidelberg Speedmaster CD102 6YLX sheet-fed offset press at the company, in Nürtingen, Germany .

In a brave move, IST, which is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year, opened the centre in early June to an international gathering of customers, suppliers and the media only a few days after the press ran for the first time. Managing director Joachim Jung said: “The technology centre is at the heart of our new strategy ‘more than UV’. Our aim is to provide the best technological support for our customers before, during and after they decide to invest.”

He explained: “There is a great demand for this kind of facility. UV technologies are increasingly being adopted and over 56,000 units have been installed worldwide in 2001, compared to 35,000 systems in 1995.

“Significantly, UV curing has approxi-mately 95 per cent market penetration for new machines in the narrow web rotary printing sector – this demonstrates how this market segment has been particularly shaped by developments in UV technology. With a share of 75 per cent, UV technologies are also more and more employed in continuous printing. In the market of sheet fed offset printing, the number of UV users is about 12 per cent”.

His dream is to reach a share of 30 per cent of the sheet-fed market. This no doubt accounts for the choice of press in the centre. “In the UK UV accounts for some 50 per cent of sheet-fed, but elsewhere the image has not been good. We’ve never had this problem with narrow web.”

The new 700 x 1,000mm format press comprises six printing units (the sixth of which could be used for water based coating), a transfer unit (which could be fitted with alternative drying), a coating unit, and extended delivery.

Commented head of the centre Stephan Feil: “The installation of the press means we can test the production feasibility of results achieved in the lab. This will mean that new developments in UV technology will be available to customers faster than was previously possible. Another key benefit is the important process of matching UV technology to ancillary equipment such as inks and rollers. It will be possible to perform trials in-house under simulated production conditions before installation takes place at the customer’s premises.”

A practical demonstration in the field of UV coating, provided an excellent example of the possibilities provided by the new press. Stefan Feil explained: “This presentation has been developed to clarify the influence of the anilox screen roller on the UV coating result. A so-called A strip mill roller/ribbon roller was used, where several zones with different specifications are on one screen roller; that is screen counts and cell geometries are arranged next to each other. The effect of different screen roller specifications can be analyzed.”

As well as an increase in sheet-fed, Joachim Jung predicted the advance of techniques such as inertization and oxygen reduced systems, so increasing curing efficiency and economy of energy, hydrid ink systems and integrated solutions in the presses. The company is already partnering dotrix in the ink jet solution for variable print for Mark Andy (see Converting Today May, page 7).

Would a press follow? “In a year we will know considerably more. Up to this time we have had no experience of a press. When you look at sheet-fed, one of our best customers is Heidelberg. On the narrow web side it is not so clear cut. We supply to many companies. So it is difficult to decide,” said Joachim Jung.