Stacy Hoge outlines some of the benefits of working with LED curing technology
LED curing technology opens the door to new revenue opportunities with more press uptime, higher yields, and the ability to print on heat-sensitive substrates, offering increased profitability for printers. Solutions offer higher print quality, faster curing speeds, and a more reliable curing process. New profit streams become available with the LED technology benefits, in addition to saving energy and eliminating replacement part costs.
The return on investment can be quite fast due to the operating savings and benefits. Users have reported saving more than $20,000 per month after adopting LED curing technology, offering significant return on investment in a short period.
USER EXPERIENCES: LED curing technology offers many benefits that will increase users’ printing capability and generate more revenue. Here are some contributing factors from users:
MORE UPTIME: LED curing units have been proven to support trouble-free press operation. There is no warm-up time due to the instant on/off nature of LEDs. There are no moving parts, shutters to clean or bulbs to replace, leading to higher press usage and operator efficiency. LED also offers higher yields due to consistent energy output.
FASTER THROUGHPUT: Printers with LED technology perform at 20 to 30% faster speeds on average, assuming other portions of the work-flow can operate at the higher speeds.
GREATER STABILITY: Because of the uniformity and long-term consistency of LED lights, designers can develop safer, more stable, and more reliable processes for printing. LEDs last more than 20,000 hours of operation, with only a minimal drop-off in power over the life of the curing unit.
LESS HEAT: With no IR (infra-red) heat, printers can utilise heat-sensitive materials offering new capability.
MORE COMPACT DESIGNS: Floor space is valuable in all types of businesses. LED light sources can be used to build more compact printers that minimise waste.
QUALITY CURING: Users report that LED light sources produce higher quality cures and better adhesion on a wide range of materials, including recycled materials.
ENERGY CONSUMPTION: Users can save up to 50% or more on energy bills. Energy cost savings can be substantial, particularly if power costs continue to rise.
SAFER WORKPLACE: LEDs contribute to workplace safety because they don’t generate dangerous UV-C radiation, excessive heat, or noise. In addition, the 395nm wavelength UV-A light is not harmful to the eyes. Besides being mercury-free, LED light sources generate no ozone. The rising tide of government regulations is causing all types and sizes of manufacturing firms to be more proactive in adopting safer, less toxic equipment and processes. This is where LED curing can really be a plus. Companies that have already installed more environmentally sustainable printing processes report that it has helped them attract younger workers and more customers that prefer eco-friendly processes.
RELIABILITY AND LIFETIME: Although LED curing technology has been around since 2002, there have been significant technological advances in LED efficiency and curing performance. The initial challenges have been met and overcome, allowing rapid technology adoption across a broad array of industries. Thankfully, LED light sources have now been architectured to have exceptionally long lives, improved thermal management to avoid overheating, and high quality UV output for a longer period of time. Similar to the lighting industry, LED curing technology has been proven to be extremely reliable and customers can reap the benefits of the technology. Even though LED technology is reliable, it is important to keep in mind that LED light sources are not created equally. Suppliers of LED light sources have significant architectural and implementation decisions that significantly impact their products’ performance. The end result will be a LED curing system with optimised LEDs, arrays, optics, and cooling for a specific application. Knowing how to characterise the performance allows users to identify the best overall system to meet their specific needs.Tags: UV LED Curing for Printing Applications | Specialist Printing Magazine | UV LED Curing Technology
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