Air Motion Systems (AMS) has announced that it is to fit one of the world’s largest ever flexo LED UV curing systems to a new Uteco ONYX 8C–CI press due for delivery to flexible packaging print specialist, La Gerunda Merletti, near Milan, Italy, late this summer.
The press is specified with eight 1.2 metre wide printing stations, each with an AMS PEAKTM LED UV CI XP Series curing lamp. The cassette-based slide-in, slide-out lamps are mercury-free, switch on and off instantly (10 milliseconds), and feature low energy, ozone-free operation. The chip diodes have a working life of up to 30,000 hours and do not emit heat into the substrate or fumes to the atmosphere.
The new ONYX will be entirely additional capacity to La Gerunda’s existing four presses and founder/managing director, Pino De Gradi, expects it to deliver a 40 per cent uplift in turnover – to more than €12 million per annum – as he expands his business into new market areas.
“The majority of our current printed output is for the horticulture, agriculture, pet food and similar markets, but we are now winning significant new contracts to supply clients servicing the food and healthcare products sector,” he said. “For this we don’t just need additional capacity, we need the production advantages of the latest technologies, compatibility for low migration inks and, especially, the most environmentally-friendly solutions.”
After narrowing his shortlist to two press manufacturers, De Gradi found the decision in favour of the Uteco machine almost made itself.
“We found that the levels of automation and the technologies built into the ONYX are very impressive,” he added. “The production runs in this sector can be short so the Uteco Direct Drive Evo, their Thermilox Anilox solution and the more advanced cleaning systems all come into play for better productivity, faster job changeovers and less waste.”
The decision to be one of the world’s first to fit AMS’s new CI optimised LED UV curing to the mid format flexo press followed good reports from nearby ACM where Massimo Raffaele, having pioneered the system on his Omet VaryFlex F1 530mm narrow web flexo press last year, has just commissioned a nine-unit BOBST narrow web 100 per cent AMS LED UV low migration flexo press:
“AMS LED UV offers many operational and financial advantages over our current UV and hot-air systems,” explained De Gradi, “but the overriding benefit for us is its environmental pedigree. In these markets it is essential to be as clean as possible – the clients demand it. It’s not just the inks and the chemistry of the printing process, the LED UV solution does not involve mercury and does not produce emissions into the atmosphere, and these are factors that will play a major part as we go forward. Of course, this was not the cheapest solution, but it will surely is the most cost-effective investment for our needs and the best value for our business; AMS LED UV is the right choice for us.”