Dublin-based HB Label Print is the first narrow web converter in Ireland and the UK to install a Mark Andy press with LED-UV curing. The new 8-color P4 performance series press is the third Mark Andy purchased by the company since it was established in 2002, and is the first 13” (330 mm) at the plant – the two existing Mark Andy 2200 lines both have the 10” (254 mm) web width.

From a small beginning on Rathcoole’s Greenogue Business Park , HB Label Print has quadrupled its floor space and now occupies units totalling 25,000 sq. ft. With a staff of 16, HB Label Print produces labels for the food and beverage, logistics and airline sectors, and currently sees a balance of 80:20 between paper and filmic substrates.

“We have always been a Mark Andy house because of the productivity of their presses and also always employed UV curing – so the latest P4 was as an easy choice and gives us cutting-edge technology with the Mark Andy ProLED system fitted,” HB Label Print managing director Ian Bowden said.

Declan Boran, general manager at HB said, “The new press is already showing noticeable improvements to overall productivity, as well as attracting new work with its wider web and faster production speeds, with guaranteed 100% curing.”

Fitted with cold foil, turn bars and delam/relam facility, the P4 also has two die stations, the second of which is the award-winning QCDC unit.

Paul Macdonald of Mark Andy UK who supplied the press said, “The P4 is an ideal choice for label printers using 2200 series machines as there is a high degree of compatibility between the two. The Mark Andy ProLED curing system offers significant advantages in terms of curing capability, even on full-out solids, low power consumption, zero heat in the work environment and no ozone generation. In addition, the lamps have a longer working life and suffer no drop-off in performance.” These advantages are especially important in the food sector in which HB Label Print operates under BRC Group A accreditation.

“We are very environmentally conscious here and are proud of our positive approach towards responsible packaging, which includes advising our clients on the best designs to minimize waste, especially of expensive and non-green material like foil. Careful design can maximize the effect and impact of ink, foil and other finishes, but also be less wasteful and therefore less harmful to the environment,” he added.

Along with its long-term partnership with Mark Andy, HB has always been a Flint Group house, so the Pro-LED UV curing system that uses Flint Inks was another ‘shoe-in’. Regional manager of Narrow Web, Keith Redmond said, “There are still myths in the industry that LED inks and lacquers are not fully available and expensive to buy. Although the inks are marginally more per kilo, the overall cost of running an LED system compared with a mercury lamp system is much lower and these savings vastly outweigh the slightly higher ink costs.”

Looking at the ROI, there is a very fast payback, because in addition to lower electricity bills, there is also a better curing performance at higher speeds on lighter weight substrates, no press downtime due to lamp changes or lamp maintenance issues – not to mention the massively longer lamp life and an increase in green credentials because the LED does not generate ozone.

“With our Ekocure portfolio of conventional and low migration LED inks and varnishes, HB Label Print can do everything today in LED that it has done previously with conventional UV – but faster, cheaper, safer and cleaner,” Redmond added.

Boran confirmed this saying that 225 m/min (740 ft/min) on the P4 was a regular occurrence at HB, with 100% guaranteed curing. “We don’t have to monitor the lamps for a drop-off in performance or have the problem of disposal when the time comes to replace them. LED offers a much more efficient and problem-free UV solution, with significant environmental benefits too,” he said.

In addition to bringing higher productivity to HB Label Print, the new Mark Andy P4 has shown the company a way of working that has attracted new business.

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