Komori Europe's Marketing Manager, Peter Minis, joins GEW's Robert Rae and Gary Doman to discuss the benefits of GEW's UV curing systems for Komori printers.

Unique benefits of GEW curing systems explained for Komori users

Komori Europe’s Peter Minis joins Robert Rae at GEW to find out how Komori advance printers can benefit from GEW UV curing systems.

Peter Minis is Marketing Manager at Komori International (Europe), based in Utrecht in The Netherlands. He recently visited GEW’s main production facility in Crawley, West Sussex, to find out more about GEW’s UV curing systems, and the unique benefits they bring for Komori users.

During his visit, Peter interviewed our Managing Director for Sales, Robert Rae, and our International Sales Manager for Sheetfed, Gary Doman, to get a better understanding of GEW’s design, manufacturing and installation processes.

To watch this video interview, click the play button below.

Alternatively, you can read the interview here, in full:

Peter Minis (PM): “Hi Robert, how are you?”

Robert Rae (RR): “Hi Peter! Good to meet you. Welcome to GEW.”

PM: “Thank you very much. Thank you for having us. Can you tell a little bit more about GEW, the company itself, the history and where the company is today?”

RR: “Sure. So GEW was formed in 1991 by my mother and father. It’s a real entrepreneurial story. They started the business when my sister was less than one year old. I was three, and they designed the first products and manufactured them in the house, in our cellar, on our kitchen table and sold UV curing products to the label flexographic narrow web printing market.

“I joined the business in 2013 to develop our LED curing products, as the second generation with my sister, who also works here. Today we’ve grown into a company of 160 people. We turn over more than 65 million pounds every year, just making UV curing products. We have three manufacturing sites in the UK. We have subsidiaries in the US and in Germany, and we have distribution partners all over the world, to support the more than 100,000 UV lamps that we have running on printing machines all over the world.”

PM: “That’s crazy, that’s a lot.”

RR: “This is our headquarters in Crawley in the UK, just by Gatwick Airport, where we have most of our office staff, our design, our engineering, our service support headquarters, and we have assembly and testing of our UV systems that we’ll see later today.”

PM: “Alright, I’m actually quite curious, can we have a closer look?”

RR: “Of course, yes, please follow me and we’ll take a look around. Let’s go!

“So welcome to the design department Peter. This is where we design all of the UV lamp products and we also design in 3D for every product, the integration of that onto the wide variety of different printing machines, to which we fit our UV products.”

PM: “So for every segment the designing starts right here?”

RR: “Correct, yes, so we design, you know, the actual lamp system and then we would design how that lamp system fits, onto the machine along with the layouts for where all the pipes are going to run, where all the ducting is going to run, for every different individual project that we have. So, for example, here Ben is designing the integration of our UV lamps, onto the Komori machine, which is going to be in the showroom in Utrecht.”

PM: “So after the designing phase, what’s actually the next stage of the process?”

RR: “So we’ll create a bill of materials, with all of the different parts, the hundreds of different parts in that particular project and then that will go to our purchasing team who then source those parts and bring them into the factory, some from our own manufacturing, where we assemble and then test the product, in our assembly and testing department outside. So we can go and take a look at that process in action.”

PM: “Yes okay!”

Moving to GEW’s LED production area…

PM: “So Robert, I see also this little logo here, Made in Britain. So does it also mean that you make a lot of components yourself, in this facility?”

RR: “So yes it’s actually something GEW are really proud of, is that we make almost every single part of the product ourselves. We design it, we manufacture it and it’s made as much as we can here in Britain, to keep control of the supply chain, control of the quality and a big stock of parts that we can support customers all over the world.

“We know how all of those parts are designed so if they do go wrong on site, we know how to fix them, we have the expertise here at GEW to fix and maintain those systems for many, many years into the future, in the market. If someone makes something obsolete, then you’re stuffed but with GEW we manufacture those parts. So we make sure they don’t go obsolete and we’re still supporting systems that we made in the 1990s, with spare parts from our offices here in the UK today.”

PM: “So actually a small logo but the advantages are huge.”

RR: “Yes, exactly the advantages are huge. So it’s something, you know, we’re very proud of.”

PM: “So I see this is the LED assembly area, can you tell a little bit more?”

RR: “Sure, we have a very large clean room at our second site 20 minutes from here where we manufacture the base of our LED lamps. The clean room chassis we call it, where the LEDs need to be kept very, very clean, when they’re assembled and we do that behind, you know, the quartz window here.

“Then we deliver these to our assembly site here in Crawley, where we finish the lamp. So we add the electrical assemblies, the doors, and the water connections to integrate on to different machines. And both of those processes, you know, use very advanced manufacturing techniques. Again we’ve invested very heavily in how we manufacture these products, so that we are testing everything along the way.”

Moving to GEW’s application laboratory, Robert Rae continues…

“So this is our application lab at GEW, where we develop new UV products, measure existing products and develop specifications for new UV curing applications. So we have a lab of conveyor belts and web machines where we’re able to print different materials on different substrates, offset or flexo or drawdowns, whatever it might be, and test how well those products cure at different speeds under all of our different lamps, and we can develop the applications for customers.”

PM: “What’s the approach of GEW, I mean if you look towards the development, the industry is moving fast, the machines are getting different and more complex. So how do you stay focused on your essential parts of GEW, basically?”

RR: “What we’ve done, especially with our LED products, which is the main focus of most of our new product development, is on trying to develop a lamp, which is able to work for all sorts of different applications. What we don’t want is a different product for every different application, because that way we can’t buy in high volume, we can’t manufacture in high volume, we can’t get reliability or good spare part support, and so we’ve developed an LED system whereby there are no lenses, there are no reflectors, there are no complicated parts inside the lamp to go wrong. We just have an LED module and a window. But because our cooling technology, which we’ve worked so hard on over the last 10 years, is so advanced, we’re able to cool our chips down to the right temperature, keep them working for the long term, but extract extremely high power out of them. And that means we can use, we can get away with lenses, no reflectors and we just have the LEDs in a window.

“And then we can use that same product in all our different applications. Whether that’s screen printing, flexo printing, offset printing, industrial applications, we use the same lamp chassis and that means, for example, on a Komori offset machine, we can have the same lamp in all the different positions on the press. And it’s that that we’ve really focused our technology on.”

PM: “You know what, I’m certainly impressed, but what does GEW do to stand out in the UV curing market?”

RR: “I think we’re one of the biggest UV curing providers in the world. We make more than 6,000 lamps a year for all sorts of different applications. Yes. And we have a real depth of knowledge in the field. We have more than 100,000 lamps running in the market and we got support all over the world.

“In addition to that, we’re family-owned, so my family still owns the whole business. Which means we can react quickly, we can make decisions quickly, we can innovate quickly and I think we have an excellent service support, because of that fact. You know, in addition, we’ve got some really unique technology benefits too. Just to highlight one, our ArcLED technology is the ability for every single one of our power supplies to run either an Arc lamp or an LED lamp.”

Robert introduces Gary Doman, GEW’s International Sales Manager for Sheetfed…

“And Gary, who’s just here, this is Gary Doman.”

PM: “Hey Gary, how are you?”

RR: “Gary’s our International Sales Manager for Sheetfed, you know, he has more than 30 years’ experience selling sheetfed offset machines before joining GEW. He really understands the market and why technologies like ArcLED are perfect for Komori and for the packaging sector.”

PM: “But Gary do you see any trends in the packaging market, specifically?”

Gary Doman (GD): “Yes, I mean, you know, if you look at the packaging market, the packaging sector, it’s sort of broken down into two areas. You’ve got the sheetfed packaging and then you’ve got the narrow web and flexo area. Yes and actually in terms of UV and adoption of UV in both sectors, it’s been there, around, a long while. But what we’ve seen and what’s now about to catch up, I think, for the sheetfed sector is the adoption of LED UV.”

PM: “I hear what you say but the future is so unpredictable, and we’ve got a lot of customers with a lot of hesitance… should I go for LED or Arc lamps – what is the answer?”

GD: “Yes that is the problem I think for most guys in sheetfed is, which way should I jump? Especially when you’re investing millions of pounds in a press and I think the interesting thing about what we’re offering with Komori and particularly with the advance machines, is that really doesn’t need to be a discussion anymore because, quite simply, you could choose to go with a full UV or you could go with LED UV, it doesn’t matter which.

“But with the situation with the Komori advance presses, actually you could start off with UV and at some point  in the future, when you think there’s a process that requires it, like printing more whites or something of that nature, it’s really straightforward with, you don’t have to change anything in the  system, other than the cassette itself in the side of the machine, you slide out the UV cassette, and you slide in the LED UV cassette, you don’t have to touch anything else but you’re now an LED UV  printer.”

PM: “Excellent, excellent! Yes. So, Gary I mean flexibility is extremely important for our customers but certainly also for our showroom environment. I mean in the Komori Graphic Centre we have installed the 740 double coater. We also want to simulate as many scenarios as possible so can we basically have the same arrangement over there?”

GD: “Yes well in fact, you do, you will have, so on your new machine each lamp can go in any position in the press, including the dummy unit, and the end of press. And that’s a very unique position to be in because very often you need a different style of lamp for a different position. For Komori in the showroom, with your system that you have, you won’t have that, you’ll have total flexibility between what lamp, in what unit.”

PM: “And if I’m not mistaken I see something familiar in the background.”

GD: “Yes, yes. In fact this is the system that we’re just readying up for your showroom, your lovely showroom press.”

PM: “This is the actual kit?”

GD: “So this is the actual equipment and currently, this is what we refer to as the end of press. Currently, we have the UV, what we call E4C UV lamps, this is a pure UV, conventional UV. Let’s look at the dummy unit. So this is a dummy unit again, custom made for the showroom. And this will actually slide in and slide out, so we can take this unit completely out when you’re running the IR or warm air in the dummy unit, the dry unit.

“Or alternatively where the customer demands, or the trial demands that they want to see UV or the LED UV, we slide this cassette in and simply bring one of those lamps, either the conventional E4C UV lamp and put it into each respective casing and it could be either, or. So that’s a lovely flexibility and then we’ve got the interdecks, as well, which again, all for the showroom machine, which can take again the same lamp, whether that be LED UV or Arc UV, so all of those positions will be slotted in your showroom press. So this is the whole thing here, on test ready to go, I think in the next couple of days, hot-footing it to Utrecht.”

PM: “I look forward to seeing it soon in action.”

GD: “Oh yes, yes, it’s a fantastic system.”

PM: “Excellent. Good to hear. Thanks a lot. See you soon.”

Peter and Robert move to GEW’s E2C production area…

RR: “So here we are in the Arc lamp production area where we’re producing the cassettes and

then the housings that we were just talking about, to integrate the UV lamps onto all sorts of different printing machinery that we fit to.”

PM: “So basically every different application requires a different housing?”

RR: “Correct, yes, the core design of the UV cassette, whether that be mercury or LED, remains the same all the time, it just changes in length. But the casing into which the cassette is assembled, that casing is then integrated onto all sorts of different printing machinery so the integration of the UV lamp onto different machines is done via the casing and that’s where a lot of our design time and expertise goes, and where a lot of our work with Komori goes into integrating our equipment, onto your presses.”

Moving to GEW’s Service and Spare Parts department…

PM: “So Robert I guess this is now going to Utrecht, but I’m guessing it’s not the last time that we hear from you?”

RR: “No, of course not, no. We’re standing in our Service department now, our Service and Spare Parts department, where we, first of all, coordinate all of the installations and service work that goes on all around the world from our headquarters here in the UK. And, of course, we also have our Remote Monitoring system so all GEW lamps now are connected to the internet. And we’re able to monitor now and for the entire service history of the lamp exactly how it’s working, all of the parameters, the voltages, currents, temperatures, things like that.

“We know how it was tested here, we know how it was installed and we know every day and every minute, every button that was pressed on the machine. And we have our Remote Monitoring system where our Service personnel here, if there’s a problem, are able to look at the machine, see how it was running yesterday, when the problem occurred, and suggest fixes, make software updates remotely, so a lot of service work can be done remotely now. We have more than 30,000 of those now connected to this online system.”

PM: “I hope it doesn’t stop you to say hello in Utrecht once in a while, so thank you for this tour, it was really amazing.”

Peter leaves GEW…

PM: “So this was another amazing visit here at GEW. I certainly learned a lot more about UV curing. If you want to see all components coming together, visit our showroom, this is where we actually installed the Komori Lithrone GX740 double coater and I hope to see you soon.”

To learn more about how GEW support sheetfed printers, visit our Sheetfed Offset application page here.