FCL Graphics sees dramatic print quality improvement with Baldwin Vision Systems technology

FCL Graphics, located in suburban Chicago, has upgraded two of their commercial web offset presses with colour control and ink delivery technology from Baldwin Vision Systems. Technology upgrades on these first two full-web presses resulted in significantly higher print quality and an immediate 50% reduction in waste. Based on these results, a third upgrade on a half-web press is scheduled for August of 2021.

According to Kurt Kunde, FCL’s Vice President of Operations, ‘We have presses that have been in operation for 15-18 years and are mechanically very sound. We basically scrapped everything on the machines from a controls standpoint, replaced it with the Baldwin Vision Systems technology, and made them brand new presses overnight.’ The full-web presses are Harris M1000s and the half-web press scheduled for upgrade in August is a Harris M110B. ‘Our very experienced press operators love the systems,’ said Mr. Kunde, ‘and because the interfaces are so easy to use, we’re able to train new operators more quickly.’

The technology from Baldwin Vision Systems includes the RIC Remote Ink Control. RIC is highly scalable, budget-friendly solution for replacing obsolete or unsupported press controls. Retrofit possibilities include simple ink key actuator replacements or upgraded electronics for existing actuators, as well as segmented ink blade replacements. The system controls ink zones individually, by selectable group, or all together to achieve precise ink control—even on light coverage jobs—for enhanced print quality and significant makeready/run-waste savings.

The CLC+ Color and Register Control from Baldwin Vision Systems combines both colour and register control into one system—requiring half the hardware on press and only one system for press operators to learn. The system scans in a continuous motion from side to side of the press in both directions, resulting in the fastest performance available in the market. The optional CIP3/CIP4 fountain preset software provides remote control of individual unit ink and unit water, and is a key factor in FCL’s immediate 50% waste reduction.

Lou Tazioli, CEO & President of FCL, commented on the positive business impact of the new technology: ‘The systems deliver very high quality and precise consistency throughout the entire press run. We need that to be the case from the beginning, in the middle, and at the end of every press run. Once you lock in the colour against the proof, it holds colour very tightly. Our presses’ new capabilities give our sales organisation confidence that they can go after very demanding jobs and know that we can handle them. Those very demanding projects—such as a large catalogue job for a national retailer in the home improvement space—are where the Baldwin technology really shines. Beside saving our current customers money on paper, ink, and press time, these systems also enable us to go after challenging projects that we wouldn’t have pursued before.

‘Our investment in this technology indicates that FCL is still bullish on printing. It’s not disappearing any time soon. As an employee-owned business, we have a strong belief in the future of the industry and FCL’s role in it. We are very, very happy with the investment in the Baldwin Vision Systems solutions. This upgrade is one of the better projects that we’ve taken on in recent years. We’re not afraid to invest in necessary technology that puts us in the best position to meet our customers’ current needs, and the growing high quality expectations in the future.’

FCL has also installed an AMS LED curing system on their Komori 6-color 40” sheetfed press. AMS, along with Baldwin Vision Systems, is a business segment of Baldwin Technology, Inc.