Banbury Litho will be the first UK company to install an LED press from Heidelberg in April. It will trade out a ten colour B2 press for the four colour Speedmaster XL 75-4 LED and still have an increased net output.
‘The dry sheets we will be able to produce with LED is ideal for the shorter runs we handle. We rarely handle work over 10,000 to 15,000 sheets and most are under 3000 to 5000,’ said Matthew Wise, managing director.
‘We have found that 95% of our work is short run four colour and, as we also run an XL 75-5LX, any work that requires a fifth colour can be produced on there. The LED technology will allow us to speed up the throughput of work and turn sheets or take sheets straight through to finishing with no drying time lapse. LED combined with Inpress Control will allow us to process even more work than before.
‘For our customers this investment will mean quicker turnarounds, more competitive pricing and better quality print (sharper images) on uncoated stocks.’
Banbury Litho is an ISO 14001 certified printer so taking on LED which is the lowest energy use UV technology has an environmental appeal. It is also a cost benefit, of course, as is the reduction in the number of printing units needed and the elimination of spray powder, sealers and coating and a reduction in maintenance. Inks will be costlier but the benefits far outweigh that.
‘We already run a Speedmaster XL 75 with Inpress Control so we know the benefits of colour control in reducing make ready time and waste. It is the biggest development in our industry in the last ten years and we would not invest in a press without it. We link the spectral measurement to our Prinect Pressroom Manager workflow. The LED and some of the additional features on the new press will mean some upfront learning but it will make production easier and cleaner,’ said Matthew.
Banbury Litho is encouraging a younger generation into the trade and the new press will be operated by one of three young men recruited to the business. He has just completed his apprenticeship in digital printing and is now switching across to develop his litho skills. Banbury Litho is very much a family business and Matthew’s nephew Lewis Bullard has recently joined the company working in customer services, a third generation for the company set up 40 years ago by Matthew’s father Mark.
Mark accompanied Matthew to the Heidelberg Open House where he recalled the GTOs, Kords and Speedmasters that have been purchased throughout the company’s history – probably a dozen in all. Although Mark undertook a six year apprenticeship at the start of his career he welcomes the increase in artificial intelligence which mas made printing easier and more productive. Mark’s daughter Rebecca in also in the business, in accounts.
Heidelberg anticipates an increased interest in LED moving forward. It has enjoyed great success with LE-UV already with more than a dozen presses in operation in the UK. Many printers are adopting dry sheet output which again redraws the line between litho and digital cost per copy.