Pulling Off a UV Add-On
Before worrying about funding a UV retrofit, make sure the system fits your objectives and your press.
By Susan Friedman
You're a prime candidate for a UV retrofit if, like most package printers making the $100,000 investment, you run narrow-web flexo or offset, or seek one press with water-based and UV ink capabilities, say experts.
It helps if the press to be enhanced is equally, if not more, retrofit-friendly than your budget. Other prerequisites include concrete system objectives and a more abstract ROI timeline.
"A year ROI seems early because of the learning curve," says Mark Hahn, director of sales and marketing, AAA Press International. "For most installations, you're looking at one to three years. And since most are not strictly used for UV, ROI depends on the percentage of UV business."
The circle of suppliers involved in a successful retrofit is wide. Tom Heffernan, marketing director, UV Process Supply, recommends involving press, curing system and UV ink suppliers. The press supplier can ensure new controls do not disrupt the existing package, and can aid in any necessary component changes, such as rollers, he explains. The press manufacturer may also have warranty and service issues with third party systems. The curing system supplier is the best source for adapting a specific system to the application, and helping printers navigate the learning curve, he adds.
An initial discussion with the UV system supplier will likely focus on the press itself. UV lamp configuration (the number of lamps and wattage) is determined by looking at ink laydowns, press speeds, frequently used colors and web widths, says Pete Kershner, new business development manager, EYE Ultraviolet. Later on, drawings from the press supplier can help design lamp housings and mounting brackets, while an on-site investigation of the press ensures areas designated for UV stations are free of other components.