Successfully operating in the plastic card market with Genius 52UV
When ADC PlastiCard wanted to invest in a printing machine to better meet the increasing demand for cards, it set the following requirements: The machine should be easy to operate and be able to print very different plastics with a good image quality - for small runs of approx. 50 up to larger runs starting at 1000 sheets. The technology had to be specifically designed for the printing of thick plastic substrates. In order to be cost-effective on the one hand and to be fast when changing jobs on the other hand, the machine should produce only very little spoilage until the first good sheet. In case of consumables and service, one should rely on the experience of a renowned machine manufacturer. Alan O'Malley, the director of the company, remembers: "We chose the Genius 52UV from KBA-Metronic because the machine not only meets the above mentioned requirements but also because it is the most economical solution in the market. It was important to us to set up the Genius 52UV in our production rooms without having to meet the requirements that are usually associated with a large, heavy and long printing machine used by the competitors. With its space-saving and cost-saving storage space of only 13m², we were able to integrate the Genius 52UV very well."
The plastic specialists from Dublin had already gained experience in dealing with UV colors and UV drying about 5 years ago when they started to print cards using the single card printing machine OC 200, which is also produced by KBA-Metronic. With each sheet the Genius 52UV is now able to print up to 24 single cards which are then punched out. It is theoretically possible to have 192,000 single cards printed in an hour at maximum print capacity. Alan O'Malley points out that the Genius 52UV allows him to fulfill orders with only a few adjustment sheets. "We can also produce a better quality than with digital printing at quite low operating and production costs. This is especially significant in the case of medium to large orders" says O'Malley.
Normally, ADC PlastiCard uses the Genius 52UV to print cards ranging in strength between 0.5 - 0.8 mm. For the multiple image production, the plastic cards are prepared during the in-house pre-press stage and printed in four colors on both sides using the process CMYK colors. Thanks to the split-core method, cards can be personalized and laminated on both sides after the printing. "We use the fifth printing unit for special colors or varnish." For example, in rare cases special metallic colors are printed during screen printing. In addition to ISO plastic cards, however, signs and graphic displays or key tags, for example, are also printed. "We are very flexible with different applications and materials and are constantly alert to new plastic products. Soon, we want to offer lenticular, adhesion or magnetic foils."
Mr. O'Malley appreciates the high productivity of his Genius 52UV: "Since we laminate and punch most printed matters and since these activities take longer than the multiple image printing production, we can easily manage it within one shift. After all, a small run of about 100 sheets does not take longer than 10 to 15 minutes before the next order is processed." What Alan O'Malley and his team is most excited about the Genius 52UV is the fact that the machine is "inked up" very quickly and absolutely color firm. "Even with small orders, we achieve a consistent printing quality from the first to the last sheet. Even in the case of a subsequent reprinting there are no variations in color". The reason for it is the waterless Anilox short inking unit that consists of only four evenly sized rollers. The temperature control of the Anilox screen roller and the plate cylinder ensures a consistent ink control. As opposed to the conventional offset printing it does neither require water nor isopropyl alcohol (IPA) nor powder. This has a positive effect on the environment. Another advantage is the small amount of spoilage since there is no color / water balance required. The Genius 52UV does not produce any ghosting or striations. The integrated UV dryers ensure an immediate hardening of the colors after the printing and make it possible for ADC PlastiCard to punch or laminate the products directly after the printing.