Waterless presses, a total of six in operation
Uematsu Printing Co., Ltd.
Contribution to enhanced productivity by shortening the make-ready time by half thanks to improvements in the accuracy of printing registration
The Toda factory of Uematsu Printing Co., Ltd. (CEO Fukuda Koshi, Toshima-ku, Tokyo) specializes in sheet-fed offset printing and a total of 18 presses for a total of 124 colors are used. Among which, six perfecting presses are waterless. Retrofits were gradually carried out after the fall of 2011 and significant improvements were made in printing registration accuracy and production efficiency. The waterless printing method largely contributed to the increased performance of the company. It received a prize awarded by the Minister of Economy and Industry out of over 60 candidate factories and received the 12th most environmentally-friendly factory award in the printing industry sponsored by the Japan Federation of Printing Industries (JFPI).
The Toda factory (Toda, Saitama Prefecture), which commenced operations in February 2010, houses a line of state-of-the-art facilities and as Fukuda has stated, “This factory is equipped with everything that the best sheet-fed offset printing specialized factory can have.” The reason for the acclaimed ministerial award was that it was an “exemplary factory model for the industry” and the company receives countless visitors annually.
Fukuda Koshi, CEO
Akiyama Jprint 440
Retrofit for exclusive waterless presses
The Toda factory introduced waterless printing in September 2011 because the previous perfecting presses easily caused fan-out issues due to the nature of the mechanism. The factory used to reprint based on a calculation from an independent matrix that considered the texture of individual printing papers. However, this would not prevent plate remakes and naturally, reduced operation rates and increased material costs would follow.
Furthermore, operators, who are required for high productivity, are susceptible to an excessive use of dampening water, ink, and powder. Consequently, this can destabilize the printing quality that should be standardized. Waterless printing was considered a solution to this problem.
When the construction of the Toda factory was completed, the need for new presses was evident but there was a limitation of the space. Following a suggestion by Toray, the retrofit of the Akiyama Jprint 440 (Perfecting, B1 size, eight-color), which had been in operation for the prior 15 years, was carried out. The factory switched to exclusive waterless press at the same time. Repairs and adjustments were made by Takemi Co., Ltd., which is Toray’s technical partner.
The results of the retrofitted machine yielded greatly enhanced accuracy of printing registration and shortened operation time. Since then, the factory carried out the same type of retrofit step by step. Out of the nine perfecting presses in operation there, a total of six machines were retrofitted to exclusive waterless presses consisting of four eight-color presses and two 10-color presses (all manufactured by Akiyama). The sixth waterless presses were completed in April 2013. Further, the ink transfer was improved by using films for blanket packing and increasing the printing pressure, which established the standards for waterless printing.
Regarding the effects of waterless printing, Fukuda commented, “the reprinting frequency due to fan-out fell by approximately 70 to 80% and make-ready time was almost halved.” The internalization rate of the factory has also been increased, which can be confirmed by the figures. In conclusion, waterless printing is making a great contribution to productivity enhancement.
Toray Waterless Plates Processor TWL-1160F
The ideal printing method – Waterless on UV printing
The Toda factory maximizes efficiency by appropriately addressing marginal issues associated with waterless printing. For example, static electricity, impurities, and the status of rollers are reflected in the prints and were resolved by installing static electricity eliminators and hickey sweeping rollers and by the cleaning and maintenance of the facilities. “The status of rollers can be addressed by adding more water but this does not work with waterless printing. Thanks to thorough maintenance, an awareness by operators regarding facilities maintenance has been strengthened. Upon the introduction of waterless printing, the entire factory has been upgraded to next level,” said Fukuda.
Then he added, “Some worry about the transfer of the K100 black but this is not a problem because the pressure of the blanket packing has been optimized in our operations.”
He further stated, “Conventional and waterless methods both offer advantages but we believe that the waterless method is the most ideal for UV printing. It puts the lowest burden on operators and increases productivity. Additionally, there is no concern about blocking or smearing so we are considering this but taking cost into account.”
Fukuda attended the commemoration of “Printing Day,” which was observed on September 18, and received an award for his environmentally-friendly factory in the printing industry. Out of the 11 factories that received the ministerial award, his company was the 7th to win the prize as a Japan Waterless Printing Association member company that applies waterless printing.
Uematsu takes pride in the contract-out printing business model and said he will continue to dedicate his efforts to waterless printing in order to construct the most ideal production factory.