UK-based printer Seacourt has launched a new printing press said to combine the high sustainability standards and print quality.
Developed by Seacourt, the LightTouch printing press is described as the only one in the world to combine waterless printing technology with instant drying powered by LEDs.
According to the company, The LightTouch process could play an important role in ensuring a sustainable future for the lithographic print industry, which has struggled in recent years due to customer concerns about environmental performance as well as the growing popularity of faster and more flexible digital alternatives.
Traditional printing techniques can consume thousands of litres of water per day and require the use of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that contaminate the water supply. LightTouch uses special silicone plates to control how the ink is applied, removing the need for water and any associated pollution.
Seacourt says the LightTouch combination of this waterless method with an instant drying technique powered by LEDs is ‘a world first’. Some printers have started to use conventional UV lamps to speed up the drying process and improve turnaround times for jobs. Seacourt has replaced these lamps with LEDs, reducing the amount of energy consumed by over 85%.
These improvements in environmental performance are said to go hand-in-hand with delivering high levels of print quality. Removing water from the process prevents ink dilution ensuring vibrant, punchy colours. Instant drying ensures dramatically faster turnaround times and avoids inaccuracies like scuffing and strikethrough.
Seacourt managing director Gareth Dinnage said: “The LightTouch printing press is an outstanding example of how a deep commitment to sustainability can lead to leaps forward in technological performance. LightTouch will not only make us extremely competitive in the marketplace but could lead the way in ensuring a sustainable future for the print industry as a whole.”
Seacourt first introduced waterless printing in 1997 when the technology was in its infancy. Since then, the company has saved over 7.5 million litres of water and been recognised with two Queen’s Awards for sustainable development. Dinnage and his team worked with leading manufacturers to develop the new printing press, which was installed at Seacourt’s premises at the beginning of this year.