Aztec Labels sees massive energy savings with LED install

Aztec Labels converted a second Manesty Rotapress printer with a Benford LED-UV dryer after a successful trial of the system last year.

The second Benford system was installed on Aztec’s five-colour, 10-inch Rotapress in early June.

Colin Le Gresley, managing director at Aztec, said the step up in efficiency, and subsequent energy and carbon savings, was “dramatic.”

He said: “It’s not 10%, it’s massive, massive amounts.”

By switching to LED-UV drying, Aztec is able to flash-dry ink, with instantaneous turn-on and off, and no longer needs to extract harmful gases.

In all, the conversion consumes over 60% less energy than conventional UV drying. For a business where drying (pre-LED conversion) accounted for 70-80% of total energy consumption, the savings are significant.

Le Gresley has committed to converting his nine remaining unconverted Rotapress machines, with a rough deadline of the New Year 2022/23.

He has not yet decided a supplier for the remaining machines’ conversions, but said the first Benford had “already proven its performance excellence” at a “very competitive” price.

For the remaining conversions, Le Gresley said he hopes to get a sustainability grant, as he did pre-pandemic to help with the cost of a 360-panel solar installation at the firm’s 1,860sqm Kidderminster site. The grant covered 45% of the costs of the installation.

To get a sustainability grant, businesses first must prove their investment would lead to significant energy savings. Le Gresley did not anticipate a problem with that.

He added: “As a small company, do I make a massive difference? No. But if all the other printers decided to go LED, combined, that’s a big carbon footprint saving.”

For now, Le Gresley expects to be the only label printer in the UK to be solely LED-dried.

Marc Boden, founder of Benford UV, said: “Our own commitment to sustainability means that we produce machines that significantly reduce energy consumption while delivering consistent, quality products to eliminate waste wherever possible.

“All the parts are British-made, apart from the chips that are manufactured in the Far East, further adding to our sustainability credentials.”

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