This month, the marketing team visited Banbury Litho (print company) to see the new Alpha-Cure brochures being printed.
The process starts in our marketing department, where we design the brochure and then send it over to Banbury Litho who, in their studio, prepare the documents to be print ready by adding colour bars and bleed marks.
The files are then transferred to the 5-colour lithographic print machine which we got to see in action. Litho printing is more effective than digital printing as it engraves the paper allowing the ink to set in deeper, creating a longer lasting finish. To prepare the machine for printing they engrave the digital image onto plates. There are 5 plates on this specific lithographic machine, one each for the 4 CMYK colours then the 5th plate is for specific colours such as gold. Each plate is marked exactly where the colour and quantity are needed. This is determined by the colour bars at the bottom of each page and is controlled by a computer programme. After the brochure has been fed past the 5 plates it goes under a UV light to dry the inks. UV light can dry inks instantly enabling the processing speed to dramatically increase. One thing we were taken aback by, was the speed of the lithographic machine. By the time we had been taken around the machine, the press had already printed over 500 copies of our brochure. This specific machine is capable of printing up to 12,000 sheets an hour making it ideal for high volume print jobs.
Throughout the print run, a highly trained technician would take a sample every 200 runs or so and check the print quality with a magnifying glass to ensure it’s sharp and matches the colour bars on each page. If this needs adapting, he is able to change the ink weight on the computer. The colour bars on the print dictate the amount of each ink required to create the exact colour.
After all the brochures have been printed, they are then transferred over to the spot UV machine to get the finished texture and shine. The spot UV on our brochures was only used on specific areas that we wanted to highlight to get maximum impact. There was a separate file created with the spot UV sections marked out, enabling the templates to be made.
The templates are then transferred onto a screen which allows the UV varnish to go through the screen in the marked areas. The brochures are fed through the spot UV machine and the UV varnish is pulled across the screen transferring the varnish to the brochure. It is key to line up the brochures to ensure the varnish is applied to the correct area. Once the varnish has been applied, the brochure is fed past the UV lamp which instantly dries the UV varnish, so the brochure can be cut, folded or bound immediately. The uv-cured varnish is less likely to scuff in transit and handling and can be used on a variety of print media.
After the brochures have been printed and had spot UV applied, they are then taken to be cut and folded on sight, leaving us with a high-quality, finished brochure.
Looking in from the outside, the process seems flawless and runs very smoothly, but it relies heavily on a team of very skilled and knowledgeable people keeping the process on track.
CLICK HERE to see our brochure being printed.
If you would like to discuss how UV technology could benefit your business or to request a copy of our new brochure, please contact us on, 01327 263900 or email us at, firstname.lastname@example.org.