It is rare to find a printhouse as business and customer-savvy as Southern Champion Tray (SCT) of Mansfield, Texas. The leading manufacturer of paperboard packaging, who prints for the likes of Papa John's and Sodexo, boasts 90 years of experience, and as a third-generation company has operated through depressions, wars and times of general prosperity.
In September 2016, Southern Champion Tray installed an LED-UV curing system from AMS Spectral UV - A Baldwin Technology Company on its KBA Rapida 106. According to Siklosi, the company had been keeping an eye on UV technologies for many years, and had learned about LED curing circa 2010 when they initially purchased the press. The decision to retrofit, he said, came when they felt the technology had evolved to a point where it was ready for their operation.
"Since 2010 we had been in close communication with AMS, and had attended the Print UV conference many times to learn more about LED printing. In our opinion, AMS was definitely the number-one vendor with the most experience in developing these systems."
The decision to invest in LED curing was based on a host of solid, factual benefits, according to Siklosi. "Energy savings was a big one, as was the fact the lamps last 20,000 hours instead of 2,000 like with conventional lamps. The elimination of powder from the pressroom, environmental friendliness and potential press speed were also factors."
The installation took two weeks: LED lamps were installed so they can be moved between units 1 to 2 and 6 to 7, while UV and IR driers are positioned in the delivery. "We had to give AMS the press for two shifts, and we stayed in production the rest of the time. AMS also provided us with a coach who made sure all staff were well trained before he left."
The printing veteran noted that the years SCT had spent researching LED were well spent, and he felt that there wasn't a huge learning curve when adding LED-UV technology to the press.