Push Solutions, based near Milwaukee, were one of the early adopters of LED UV curing technology and are now capitalising on the benefits of having an LED system retrofitted to their RMGT 9 Series press.
Push Solutions began business in 2012 and now encompasses two facilities with over 40,000ft2 of production space, running three shifts throughout the entire operation. The core business is in providing commercial trade printing services through resellers. Since the installation of the LED UV curing system on their press, the sales team at Push have been able to move into selling higher-value products through their ability to now print on styrene, PET and other premium substrates.
This enables them to offer a much broader product portfolio and to reach new clients due their more comprehensive offering. Craig Inglish, Co-Owner and Business Development Executive at Push, explains: “We target ourselves towards a lot of marketing supply chain managers, so they’re working with the big-box stores, the Fortune 500 companies and we’re basically the power behind them.” He continues: “It’s been great to be able to come back into the office after meeting with a new client and you know they’re up against a tight deadline, or they’ve got a new substrate to test, and know that we can do it with LED UV… our limitations are very minimal.”
Co-Owner Nick Bova agrees: “Overall, LED, it was the right choice a 100 percent, we were nervous getting into it but in hindsight it was a game-changer. It changed how we print, how we go to market, the substrates that we’re printing on… it just opened up not one door but 10 different doors, so now we’re a 100 percent UV shop – the workload has changed drastically, we have new products, we’re selling into new markets… signage, plastics, all sorts of things we never would have even been able to touch and now it’s commonplace for us. LED, it’s fantastic. It’s a confidence builder ultimately for the salesperson out on the street.”
Bova also points to the speed at which they can now produce work, since the installation of LED UV: “Jobs that used to bill for X amount of dollars printed traditional litho may have taken 20 hours – now those jobs can be completed in four or five hours for the same amount of revenue and the same amount of cost to the client… what kind of work do you want?”
It was imperative to Push that the retrofit installation of the LED UV system was fast and trouble-free, to avoid any costly disruption to their 24-hour production schedule. Brad Flagge, Co-Owner, describes the hands-on approach of the GEW installation team: “Their engineering and their attention to detail for us was absolutely amazing – the installation process went seamless, we were up in production within 48 hours… their engineers were on-site the entire time and the fit and finish and their design made it flawless with the press – you wouldn’t even know that it didn’t come from the factory that way.”
The company is assured of ongoing system support 24 hours a day, through the GEW ‘Remote Monitoring’ service. The UV system is connected to the Internet and is constantly monitored. Should any operational issues develop, these will be reported by the monitoring platform and can then be corrected more efficiently. As Brad Flagge explains: “GEW’s 24/7 monitoring really helps us out when we’re working our long hours, to have an outside set of eyes watching our system and if there’s any problems with it they’ll know before we actually do and they will contact our people and work on correcting those issues.”
Any printer contemplating the installation of an LED UV curing system will also need to consider the significant capital investment required. Added to this, it remains the case that LED UV inks cost more than conventional UV inks. Brad Flagge addresses this issue: “A common discussion point with LED UV printing is the cost of inks… we’ve seen a steady decline in the cost per pound of the ink sets that we’ve been using. We’ve seen a lot more people coming into the marketplace bringing more innovative products to us – but truly it’s the throughput that will make up for the cost of the ink.” He continues: “When it comes to ROI, LED UV printing, in our estimation, will pay for itself in 18 months in increased throughput, less reruns and of course what we like… less power and less energy consumption.”
Lower energy consumption and other environmental benefits were a major factor in the management team’s decision to move to LED UV, as Flagge explains: “One of the greatest things that you get when you print LED UV is the environmental impact – no VOCs, no ozone – we also run a lot less powder which is very healthy for the employees as well. Once we put in the LED UV system our production increased, but our cost of energy stayed the same, so we’ve been able to almost add 40% more production with a minimal increase in electricity. Standard UV shops don’t get to see that but as an LED UV printer it’s really a benefit not only to us, our customers, but the environment.” Flagge concludes: “This is the future of offset printing… it will make it viable for years. Digital has been coming on strong, large format has been coming on strong… LED UV printing for the offset arena makes us relevant, vital and sustainable.”
Nick Bova summarises his thoughts on the company’s investment in LED UV: “It’s probably been the single best decision we made aside from going out and branching out and starting this company – it’s defined us and if you’re not looking at LED UV moving forward, you’re making a mistake – it’s how the printing industry is going to go. The traditional litho printer, I believe will eventually evolve into an LED UV printer… or should evolve into one… soon! Go for it, it’s gonna change your business.”
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