New Technology

Blackmore have installed the UK’s first KBA Rapida 105-4 Press - with Qualitronic (in-press) Colour Control and LED-UV curing.

This B1+ press (1050mm x 740mm) is full of leading edge technology, the benefits of which are outlined below:

Qualitronic (in press) Colour Control

This is a camera system integrated directly into the press which automatically measures the ink density of the colour control strip of every sheet.

This allows for fast, dynamic inline colour correction resulting in any changes being made being visible within 10 sheets. This will result in faster make-readies and more consistent colour throughout the run.

Another major benefit is that this system will help us to quickly achieve the international colour standard - ISO 12647-2 which is being specified by more and more clients.

LED-UV Curing


Why LED-UV curing? We believe that the industry is changing and looking for faster and faster turnarounds - particularly on difficult uncoated materials and this high-speed (16,000iph) B1+ press will significantly increase our capacity in a number of ways.

More benefits will come from the Qualitronic Colour Control described above but even more from the change in ink and drying technology to LED-UV. Whilst there are over 140 of these LED-UV installations worldwide, this will be KBA’s first in the UK and it will also be the first B1 size press fitted with LED-UV in the UK.

Conventional inks usually require sealing or coating on coated papers and time to dry if used on uncoated stocks. The reaction of vegetable based inks with the heat used when printing uncoated papers can also occasionally result in an unpleasant aroma within the finished product.

UV drying has been around for many years but the latest developments have introduced LED technology which has significant cost, environmental and health and safety advantages over the older mercury lamp based systems known as H-UV or LE-UV.

The benefits of LED-UV are:

  • Instant Drying. The most obvious benefit is the instant drying of the inks as they pass under the LED-UV lamp allowing for quicker job turnaround as sheets can be backed-up or worked on in the bindery immediately after printing.
  • Energy Cost Reduction. Typically 80% below that required for IR/Hot air that we currently use.
  • Elimination of Heat from the drying process. This will give lower pile temperatures, no curling of stocks, no registration problems with heat sensitive substrates and no loss of moisture from the paper, making for improved post-press production.
  • Elimination of noxious odours. There is no heat-activation of chemicals within the substrates.
  • Elimination of Spray Powder. This will reduce contamination and eliminate ‘spray bombs’ that affect quality. The press will also remain clean and will not require the regular clean-down of the delivery.
  • Elimination of Sealers and Coatings. This will save water, chemicals and energy as there will be no need for pumps, rollers and air knives currently used when coating.
  • Elimination of On-Press Marking when backing up sheets.
  • Long life of the LED lamp. 20,000 hours plus.
  • Productivity improvements. LED-UV can help to unlock hidden value in the press with the ability to produce more in less time.
  • Ability to print on a wide range of stocks. The press can print on gloss, silk, uncoated, label, non-porous substrates, board, plastics and paper up to 1.2mm thick, opening up new markets.
  • Higher gloss levels can be achieved.
  • The process is ozone and VOC (solvent) free.
  • Higher pallet heights can be achieved saving floor space as there is no set-off risk.
  • New Clients. Designers, brand owners and creatives are always looking for an edge and LED-UV is a perfect fit for clients looking for the most socially-responsible, technologically advanced and environmentally sound qualities available from print.
  • /media/1050/physics_nobel_winners_2014.jpg

Showing just how new this process is - the 3 Japanese inventors of the Blue LED used in the LED-UV system won the Nobel Prize in Physics in 2014.

LED Press articles:

Print Business July 2015 

Printing World June 2015

Print Monthly June 2015