UV Litho Investment at Marstan

“Heidelberg’s most Productive XL75 Printer makes move to UV Litho Ryobi Press”

Marstan Press is please to announce the installation of a Ryobi 920 Series UV Litho press, marking our first move up to the SRA1 format. The press supplied by UK Ryobi agent APEX replaces a 2014 Heidelberg XL75 10P. The Ryobi 920 series is equipped with fully automatic plate changing and has a Heidelberg-beating top speed of 16,200 sheets per hour.

Market Appraisal

We started looking at new presses at the start of 2017 and looked at all the main litho manufacturers including Heidelberg.KBA, Komori, Ryobi and Sakurai. The UV litho presses were initially ruled out due to the high cost of UV ink. However further cost analysis revealed that UV litho printing was not as cost prohibitive as first thought.

Ryobi, Komori and Heidelberg were shortlisted and it soon became a straight head to head between Ryobi and Komori. This was a major decision in Marstan’s history as it meant we would be opting for a non-Heidelberg press for the first time in over 25 years. This decision was by no means a judgement of the quality of Heidelberg machines; more an acknowledge that a brand new Heidelberg was not priced at a level to make it viable in the current litho print marketplace.

UV Litho Benefits

At this point we were starting to come around to the idea that UV litho printing would work for us and we were kindly welcomed to visits at Komori and Ryobi customer sites. Komori and Ryobi are the market leaders in the litho UV printing field and the benefits of litho UV printing were clear to see. With the UV printing process the inks are instantly dried by  UV lamps. This means sheets can be turned straight away for backing-up and then worked on in the finishing department without risk or worry of rubbing or setting off.

Another major benefit of UV Litho print is that because the ink is instantly dry the colour management system is measuring the finished product and not having to make allowances for ink dry back. The difference in the colour of wet and dry ink can be massive. As each paper type and brand could behave differently, colour management on traditional litho printing presses is open to varying results.

Because of the instantly dry ink, the amount of dry back is minimal, and the ink doesn’t have time to soak into the paper UV litho printing produces superior results on uncoated stocks. Colours are more vibrant with a higher level of definition.

There’s also the new opportunities provided by the UV printing due to the wide range of substrates that can be printed on to including PVC, Polyprop, Mirri Board, the Curious range, window cling, non-tear synthetics and vinyl stickers.

The Final Decision

When it came to the final decision, Ryobi ticked all the boxes. The Ryobi 920 press runs at a faster speed that the out-going Heidelberg, it offered drastically lower running costs, and the team at APEX made us feel very comfortable in making the move to Ryobi. The capital cost was considerably lower than competitors, which was particularly important to us seeing as our Heidelberg lost 69% of its value in just three and a half years.The Ryobi spec included fully automatic plate changing, which changes all four or five plates in just one minute – which is considerably quicker than the semi-auto system we had on our outgoing Heidelberg. We also felt the LED UV technology offered the best-in-class when it came to UV litho printing. As with household LED products, Ryobi’s ‘LED’ UV offered us the lowest power consumption, no heat generation and exceedingly long lamp life. Ryobi UV Litho Printing at Marstan Press

The installation took place between Christmas and New Year 2017, with colour calibration, fine tuning and training taking place in early January 2018. One of our first high-profile jobs will happen at the end of January when we collaborate with Mirri Board and publishers Earth island to produce a stunning cover for their Packaging Solutions Magazine, which will showcase UV Printing on Mirri Pak with white ink and four colour process, finished with embossed detailing.

The Technotrans Inkline system will be fitted to the press in February, which will automate filling the ink ducts on press. We will also be using Ryobi’s Print Job Manager software, which is a first class production data analysis tool.

New Pre-Press Required

To compliment the new UV Litho press investment, a new B1/SRA1 plate maker and workflow was required to replace the outgoing B2 Heidelberg Suprasetters. We looked at various options including Konica, Cron and even sticking with Heidelberg for the pre-press. However, when Heidelberg wanted £30,000 just for the ’16up’ licence (just unlocking the existing software/workflow to handle the larger sheet size), coupled with the lack of availability of a suitable second-hand plate maker, they were quickly ruled out.

After looking at the options we opted for the excellent Agfa pre-press workflow and plate making system. The plate maker produces 60 plates per hour, which almost doubles the combined output of the two outgoing Heidelberg Suprasetters. A particular benefit of the Agfa plate maker is the run lengths that are achievable from their plates. LED UV inks are particularly abrasive to plates, with some of the options we looked at offering as low as a 10,000 impression plate life. The Agfa plate is rated at 150,000 impressions which significantly exceeds the competition.


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