UV technology, both traditional UV and UV LED, offers a great number of advantages for print providers. One of them are numerous tangible benefits that enable shops to parlay greater flexibility, a wider assortment of capabilities minimizing materials, energy and labor costs into new opportunities to make money.
When Jay Roberts, Irvine, CA-based Roland DGA product manager, coffee printer, thinks of great things about UV printers and UV technology, the 1st word you think of is versatility. “UV printers are capable of printing on virtually anything,” he said.
Flatbed and hybrid UV printers are employed in a wide variety of large and small print shops, helping them grow and diversify. Larger print shops with multiple print capabilities are now capable of accept short-run print jobs as well as long-run assignments, dramatically growing work at home opportunities and profits.
The cabability to produce specialized and smaller-sized pieces and long-run campaigns, along with handling color management and production schedules, allows larger shops to effectively control timelines and fulfillment schedules. Capacity to “keep all of it under one roof” is an important value for production, he was quoted saying.
“Smaller PSPs are utilizing UV printing technology to enhance output and fulfill the requirements the short-run market,” he added. “When equipped with flatbed and hybrid UV printers, these shops have already been able to capture jobs that larger print operations may deem not big enough to use on. For your smaller shop, the cabability to accept such jobs can significantly impact the important thing.”
While there’s a threshold to what might be produced on these units, requiring some print campaigns to migrate to traditional printing methods, that threshold keeps growing shorter because of today’s UV-inkjet capabilities.
Versatility also reaches the sorts of substrates which can be printed upon. As an illustration, Roland’s VersaUV printer-cutters can print on anything from box and carton materials to shrink-wrap films.
“We have a new UV flatbed printer, the LEJ-640FT that can print on wood, plastic and metals as much as six inches thick, and weighing approximately 220 pounds,” he said. “Heck, we can even print on cowbells.”
Increasing amounts of PSPs are producing package prototypes for graphic design firms and other clients, although design firms are printing prototypes for their own reasons on-site, he stated.
Through the perspective of Becky McConnell and Heather Roden, product managers at Hanover Park, IL-based Fujifilm, one of the more tangible great things about UV printing is it allows PSPs to change around projects more rapidly, because their printing cures as soon as it appears off the press. “We were talking with a customer this current year going from solvent means to fix a UV cure solution, and so they will likely be able to significantly decrease their production time since they are able to immediately finish the item,” McConnell said.
Moreover, from an environmental standpoint, lacking volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in UV printing is essential to many people clients. That’s very true in states like California, where VOCs are highly regulated, she added.
UV printing’s introduction some dozen in the past exposed printing on a selection of substrates, and UV LED makes possible printing on an even wider selection of materials. So said Mark Goodearl, senior marketing manager for Meredith, NH-based EFI, Inc. “Heat has always been difficult with traditional UV, plus it was solved with the introduction of UV LED,” he stated.
“In traditional UV curing, the carriage shuttles back and forth jetting the ink, and possesses lamps right and left hidden behind shutters that open based on the UV process.
“The operator would power in the printer, the lamps would be required to show up to temperature, and when these folks were up you were ready for curing.
“With UV LED, the lamps don’t happen and stay on while they did inside the traditional process. The lamps last considerably longer-being rated for ten thousand hours-because they come off and on. Also, the bulbs in traditional UV degrade with time. You experienced to make up the degradation of power of the lamps by giving them a lot more power until you will no longer had the ability to achieve the desired result. With all the UV LED lamps, there is not any degradation of power.”
According to a European power study which was conducted using UV LED Printer and identical inks and substrates, UV LED bulbs used 82 percent less power compared to traditional UV bulbs, he reported.
Furthermore operators not need to take into account degradation of your bulb, they no more need to adjust the hue since the bulb degrades.
The result of lowered power consumption and lowered temperatures is the ability to utilize heat-sensitive substrates, Roden said. Specifically, PSPs can prevent the rippling effects that plague thin plastic substrates open to heat.
With UV LED, PSPs get more printable substrates, take away the heat, enjoy more productivity, endure less need for adjustment as time passes and reduce energy consumption. Being a green byproduct, PSPs reduce waste at the same time. They don’t have to deal with color shift or materials melting within the lamps.
“Of our UV cured portfolio, the majority is LED,” Goodearl said.
“Our fastest machine, the HS product, has a mixture of UV LED and mercury arc lamps offering faster speed. There’s no limitation about the speed as being a byproduct of the curing, and we are able to do a little interesting things with the curing finish, building a matte or gloss effect with just how the cure is varied.
“Curing is initiated around the UV LED and finished on mercury arc process.”
Cost savings are viewed as a prime benefit of UV LED, stresses Ken VanHorn, director of marketing and business development for Mimaki USA in Suwanee, GA. Users can skip lots of the labor-intensive steps by printing straight to most substrates, he stated. “Further, UV LED lamps tend to be more cost-effective since they use less energy than older mercury vapor lamps that need to warm-up and stay on when in production,” he reported. “Total ink volumes might be under other print technologies, creating ink saving money that can help a store offer more competitive pricing and realize improved margins.”
Roden also touted cost, and also space, savings like a UV LED benefit. One of the products from Fujifilm is the Aquity LED 1600, a UV LED machine that runs on a 110-volt power source. “That will make it appealing to small businesses, simply because they don’t ought to contract with an electrician to implement the new press,” she said. “It’s not merely for print providers. It can go with many kinds of firms that are printing because it fits in just a smaller footprint.”
Still, traditional UV retains some advantages over LED, said Mark Schlimme, director of promoting for your Americas and wide-format product manager with Rolling Meadows, IL-based Screen Americas.
The business will be the North American sales and marketing arm to the Graphic and Precision Product Group for Screen Holdings. Screen Holdings includes Screen Americas sister company Inca Digital, which manufacturers the Onset collection of wide-format inkjet production printers sold by Fujifilm worldwide.
LED inks use UV reactants that cure throughout the LED spectrum. What he calls “the sweet spot” for curing with LED inks is exceptionally narrow, and LED ink manufacturers have room to boost in this way.
“What it means for that user in the printers is right now, LED has limitations to slower printers,” Schlimme said. “Because that sweet spot is a little narrower, we will need to print slower to hit that sweet spot.”
He said some printers make use of a hybrid of UV and UV LED, with the UV LED employed to pin the drop and control dot gain. “But the only way they could have a full cure would be to cure with mercury arc,” he said. “On the printers that are LED only, there’s difficulty maintaining faster speeds and obtaining a sufficient cure.”
An additional advantage for traditional UV is the UV LED lamps are extremely expensive, but market forces will probably drive that cost down, Schlimme said. Ink manufacturers too will continue dexjpky07 attempt to advance inks, endeavoring to widen the sweet spot, and during this process enable faster curing to occur.
“But today, t-shirt printer cannot support the higher speeds required of production-class printers,” he added. “Screen and Inca continues to engineer the ideal combination of technology for speed and quality.”
The ability to focus more attention on printing as well as on new opportunities is among the chief advantages of UV LED technology, experts say. VanHorn noted the wider array of substrates available allow PSPs to consider new markets.
“For example, items which were previously outsourced because materials were too delicate for hot lamp curing can now be completed in house, securing all revenue and margin for the job, enabling an individual to possess complete control over quality and delivery,” he was quoted saying. “Since all the different substrates is virtually unlimited, print providers can offer higher-value alternatives that were previously unrealistic because of technology limitations of costs.”
Enjoying consistent color output and curing energy means operators can focus much more about the printing, and much less about the tweaking of color or lamp power, added Goodearl. “Those concerns are gone,” he asserts. “They can also buy thinner materials that bring about lower shipping costs and fewer expense.”