Fujifilm has announced the first installation of its Illumina LED curing solution in the Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) region at South African client Advanced Labels. With all four of its flexo presses now curing with Illumina LED technology, Advanced Labels has become the first flexo printer in South Africa, and one of the first in the world, to operate with 100% LED UV curing technology.
At LabelExpo 2017 in Brussels, Advanced Labels confirmed an investment in the Illumina solution, making it the first beta site for this technology in the EMEA region. The company also invested in Fujifilm 300 Series flexo inks.
Its first Illumina unit, retro-fitted to an existing press in March 2018, proved such a success that the company has now installed three more. In June 2018, they retrofitted two Illumina units to their other existing presses and had a third fitted to a brand new Nilpeter FA press.
‘Our customers demand consistently high quality, rapid turnaround times and excellent service at a good price,’ said managing director of Advanced Labels Richard Jones. ‘Furthermore, environmental concerns are becoming increasingly important to them, so we’re always on the lookout for ways to reduce our environmental impact – as well as improving quality, consistency and speed of delivery.’
‘We were well aware of the environmental benefits Fujifilm’s Illumina solution would bring, and it has well and truly met our expectations,’ said Jones. ‘We have had the opportunity to run extensive tests for several months, comparing two identical presses, one curing with conventional UV and the other with Illumina LED. We have recorded an 87.5% power reduction in the LED curing press, which, as well as leading to substantial cost savings, brings our goal of being 100% energy self-sufficient, through solar, much more clearly into focus. Furthermore, waste is down, we’re creating less pollution and a huge reduction in VOCs (and in noise and heat) has made an immediate and very noticeable improvement to our workplace environment.
‘We’ve slashed our typical job make-ready time in half,’ Jones continued. ‘Make-ready set-up now requires the use of 60% less material and typical job run times have been slashed by a third, meaning that overall throughput is up by a third as well.’
Advanced Labels has noted further benefits in the previously troublesome ‘cold foiling’ process where Illumina has vastly improved the consistency of results throughout the production process, and in lamination where LED curing has stabilised the production of finished labels, eliminating the negative effects of heat and shrinkage on the materials and adhesive. Illumina LED cured labels experience no curling, meaning that after application, the labels do not peel away from the container. With conventional UV curing, the company experienced significant rejection rates due to the curling of finished labels.
Said Ian Isherwood, business manager, labels and packaging, Fujifilm EMEA, ‘Advanced Labels is a visionary company and their commitment to environmental sustainability is a great example, not just to flexo printers in South Africa, but around the world. We’re delighted they have selected Fujifilm to help them meet their ambitious environmental targets and to improve their quality, productivity and profitability. The benefits of switching to our Illumina LED curing and 300 Series ink system have been immediate and obvious, so we look forward to seeing the transformative effect on the business as they convert their remaining presses to this technology.’