The UV curing process has been used in the printing industry for more than 30 years. UV-LED curing technology for UV printers is replacing older technology with compelling advantages of better economics, system capabilities, and environmental benefits. And, it is suitable for all processes. Phoseon explains.
Most ink manufacturers include a UV-LED option today, making integration and use of LED even easier. As ink manufacturers continue to develop formulations to optimise both UV-LED curing and specific applications, printers can expand the applications they offer to their customers.
UV-LED curing technology is the standard for UV printing for both full cure and pinning applications. The narrow UVA output provides the highest curing efficiency while also providing a cooler, safer, and more stable output, allowing end users to print on a wider variety of materials with increased yield and reduced operating costs.
Phoseon’s broad product portfolio includes solutions for all printing applications from small and wide format digital printers, digital and flexographic label printers, screen printers, 3D printing, and others.
Flexographic printing is a process of using a flexible plate to transfer the image to the media; typically used to create labels and packaging material. UV-LED curing technology for flexographic printing provides faster throughput with higher yield through tighter process control and increased press up time. The UVA output improves curing for opaque whites, dense blacks, and allows fluorescents to be used anywhere in the print process without fading.
UV-LED pinning technology used between inkjet heads provides just the right amount of UV energy to control dot gain and achieve a variety of printing effects at increased speeds. UV-LED can also be used for full cure of digital inks in bi-directional, single pass, and 3D printers to create products such as posters, labels, signage, pack- aging, and 3D objects.
The combination of low heat and high energy makes UV-LED a good fit for screen printing, which allows a wider variety of materials to be used including plastics, metals, ceramics, glass, wood, posters and other items. UV-LED for screen printing is commonly used for direct bottle and tube decoration, which eliminates the need for a label.
UV PRINTING APPLICATIONS
Phoseon’s UV-LED curing technology is ideal for the UV curing of inks in a variety of printing applications. Here are some examples:
Labels: UV-LED curing technology is ideal for a variety of label printing applications, enabling end users to print high quality material at maximum speeds. UV-LED curing shows measurable advantages in higher productivity, lower energy usage, while utilising thinner substrates with improved adhesion along with clear environmental benefits.
Packaging: UV-LED curing can be utilised for printing on flexible films, boxes, cartons, corrugated containers, and a wide variety of other packaging materials. Higher productivity, lower energy use, and improved adhesion have been empirically measured with use of even thinner substrates. These measurable advantages in combination with the clear environmental benefits make UV-LED the number one choice for curing in packaging.
Decorative printing: Decorative printing processes allow for ultra high gloss, matte and holographic effects. ‘Cast and Cure’ is a fast growing technology that creates a holographic style decorative finish on a variety of substrates for sheetfed and web applications. ‘Cold Foil’ allows the decorative printing application of metallic foil, in line, at press speed in an infinite spectrum of colours. These effects can be created in a variety of label and narrow web environments.
Food safe/low migration process: Process stability is the key to consistent, reliable low migration printing. Phoseon’s UV-LED systems ensure every packaging run receives consistent, uniform UV output for repeatable results.
To meet food safe requirements, good manufacturing practices must be used to ensure consistent, stable process control. UV-LED offers uniform output across the print width and excellent depth cure due to the long UV-A wavelength, which penetrates through to the media, ensuring fully cured product. All of these benefits improve the process for manufacturers, with confidence that their products consistently meet food safe process requirements.
Posters and signs: The sign making industry has led the change for improved turnaround time, higher quality and more economical solutions for wide format printers in this market. UV-LED curing technology enables output on a wider media mix and an extended range of applications while at the same time allowing a low total cost of ownership.
3D objects: During the process of 3D printing, each layer is cured immediately after it is jetted, producing fully cured models, without post curing. UV-LED technology is ideal for 3D curing due to its small size, tight process control and consistent UV output over time.
Bottle printing: UV-LED technology is utilised for bottle labelling machines and systems designed for direct printing on cylindrical containers. The small size of the light sources makes them ideal for machines with limited space. The reduced heat load also enables the use of thinner and more heat sensitive materials.
Coding and marking: The compact UV-LED curing lamps offer advanced capability and energy savings for coding and marking applications. The LEDs are instant on/off, so only switches on when ink curing has to occur. This saves energy and increases the life of the unit even further. UV-LED curing is the ideal choice for high resolution.
UV-LED curing solutions from Phoseon offer many benefits to printers that make it an appealing option for any size operation. If you are interested in utilising this technology, consider both the quality of the UV-LED system and also the capability of the company. The product must work within your machine, process and factory requirements. Phoseon’s FireJet UV-LED light sources are the highest powered member of the company’s air cooled product line. Available with high irradiance or extended dwell, these products are designed for the digital inkjet markets where rock solid reliability and simple integration are key requirements. The FireJet UV-LED light source scales simply by placing a second unit next to the original. Phoseon’s optics ensure consistent uniformity at the substrate surface.
The FireEdge UV-LED light sources specifically address pinning requirements in the rapidly growing digital printing market by matching the length of today’s most popular inkjet printhead dimensions. These light sources are specifically designed for pinning applications and have been developed based on customer inputs from around the world, from the ground up.
FireEdge systems are designed with a fundamental purpose that gives it the certain ‘Edge’ from its generic competition, to enable higher quality pinning at higher speeds. The top air intake and exhaust eliminate inkjet printhead interference, and the units can be scaled to meet a variety of print width applications.
The FirePower family of high power, water cooled products allows new high speed applications like narrow and wide web flexographic printing. The high power output of the FirePower solution cures UV- LED flexo inks at speeds of up to 365 metres per minute with a small form factor ideal for integrating into flexo presses with limited space.
The FireLine is a water cooled UV-LED curing lamp with uses in a wide variety of conveyor and roll to roll based UV curing applications. The FireLine architecture is Phoseon’s highest performing product family with high dose options, and is designed to allow the systems to be scalable up to two metres in length. PS.
WWW.EARTHISLAND.CO.UK SUMMER 2020 PRINT SOLUTIONSTags: UV LED Technology | Packaging Solutions Magazine
Categories: Printing, Flexo