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The ability to keep up with your customers’ demands is vital for your success. Today, jobs need to be quoted and out the door in record time — all while maintaining the highest quality and keeping production costs in check. Since the turn of the century, print shops have been searching for the next best way to boost their bottom line. One way for you to do this today is by evaluating your current consumables spend. However, when it comes to consumables, many print shops have made some costly mistakes in their pursuit to increase profitability. When is the last time you analyzed your consumables spend?
Gloss is Gloss!
Many treat aqueous coating as a necessary cost to prepare sheets for postpress. However, hidden inefficiencies in this type of coating application are widespread and extremely costly — leaving money on each printed sheet. At Heidelberg, we’ve seen printers invest tens of thousands of dollars in anilox rollers that are rarely used or poorly maintained. From clogged anilox roller cells and worn out ceramic surfaces to operator skill gaps and incorrect equipment settings, unused or poorly maintained rollers contribute to higher waste and repeated jobs (due to blocking).
The Evolution of Anilox Screen Rollers — What Technology Are You Using?
Although anilox technology is not new; the rollers have certainly evolved over the years. The first anilox rollers were mechanically engraved, followed by developments with CO2 gas and YAG (yttrium, aluminum garnet) crystal lasers. These types of lasers send a burst of “pulses” that blast the ceramic material of the anilox roller. This often results in an uneven cell base. (See figure 1)
The latest development in anilox technology is the new Genetic Transfer Technology (GTT) Anilox Screen Roller. With the GTT Roller, the advanced laser does not “pulse” the roller (like the CO2 and YAG). Instead, a beam with a constant application of energy results in a very smooth cell base. (See figure 2) This cell base is utilized by the anilox roller to transfer coating to the printed sheet.
Does Your Current Anilox Technology Best Suit Your Business?
Whether you use a high-gloss UV coating, strike-through/soft-touch coating or aqueous coating, all coatings are applied in order to create added value to the printed product. If used correctly with a properly specified and well maintained anilox screen roller, coating can bring the printed piece to life. If used incorrectly, it can ruin the job completely.
When applied by a properly specified anilox roller, an exact amount of coating is transferred to the printed sheet with every press revolution while traditional methods of coating application lead to heavier coverage and higher production costs.
We have found that customers are using significantly more coating than they actually need in order to achieve the quality and efficiency that they desire. In most cases, we’ve seen printers use 10-20% higher coating usage than necessary. That means if you’re spending $100K on coating every year, you could potentially save upwards of $20K per year just by switching to better technology.
We Have All Seen It
Your customer calls, “We need 10,000 pamphlets. Can you have this delivered later today?” You commit to the job, but now it’s running slowly. Your operator says, “The coating isn’t drying fast enough or laying down smoothly.”
With a tight deadline fast approaching, the years of haphazard maintenance and poorly specified coatings are catching up to you as production mishaps continue to arise. Your profits are slipping away due to unnecessary waste and increased labor in postpress. Then, your customer calls to see if the job is ready. It’s the perfect storm.
It doesn’t have to be this way! What if you had access to cutting-edge anilox technology combined with high quality coating, regular roller maintenance and expertise from a single source vendor? In addition to peace of mind and high reliability, how much savings would you be able to deliver to your business?
Less is More
A common misconception is that in order to achieve more gloss, you must apply more coating. However, advancements with GTT show that applying coating in a very defined and even layer, not only saves coating, but improves gloss appearance and drying time. By using less coating, we can also achieve more gloss points!
Gloss is measured using a gloss meter which directs light at a specific angle to the test surface, and measure the amount of reflection. The more light is reflected, the more glossy the appearance of the surface. Figure 3 shows the results of a higher # of gloss point as more light is reflected.
A New Way Forward
With GTT, coating is transferred accurately in a defined layer, providing your customers with stunning results. Heidelberg has designed a GTT Roller and Coating program to deliver your business the cost-effective benefits available with this technology.
Through this program, one roller can be used for both UV and aqueous coatings — saving you makeready time, costs and even taking the guesswork out of maintenance. The GTT program covers one annual cleaning, and includes replacement of the roller surface every 3 years.
Our solution has been tested worldwide by our factory trained experts. Customers who have invested in the GTT program have reduced their coating consumption by an average of 10-20%, which can equate to tens of thousands of dollars in savings every year.
To understand more, please contact your local Heidelberg Sales Representative.
Product Manager, Consumables Coating