UV technology, both traditional UV and UV LED, offers a great many advantages for print companies. Among them are many tangible benefits that permit shops to parlay greater flexibility, a wider assortment of capabilities and lower materials, energy and labor costs into new opportunities to make money.
When Jay Roberts, Irvine, CA-based Roland DGA product manager, latte coffee printer, thinks of great things about UV printers and UV technology, the initial word you think of is versatility. “UV printers are capable of printing on virtually anything,” he said.
Flatbed and hybrid UV printers are used in numerous large and small print shops, helping them grow and diversify. Larger print shops with multiple print capabilities have become capable to accept short-run print jobs as well as long-run assignments, dramatically growing online business offerings and profits.
The opportunity to produce specialized and smaller-sized pieces and long-run campaigns, as well as handling color management and production schedules, allows larger shops to effectively control timelines and fulfillment schedules. Power to “keep all of it under one roof” is a big value for production, he stated.
“Smaller PSPs are using UV printing technology to improve output and better fulfill the requirements of the short-run market,” he added. “When provided with flatbed and hybrid UV printers, these shops happen to be able to capture jobs that larger print operations may deem too small to consider. For that smaller shop, the ability to accept such jobs can significantly impact tha harsh truth.”
While there’s a threshold to what may be produced on these products, requiring some print campaigns to migrate to traditional printing methods, that threshold keeps growing shorter due to today’s UV-inkjet capabilities.
Versatility also reaches the sorts of substrates that could be printed upon. For example, Roland’s VersaUV printer-cutters can print on everything from box and carton materials to shrink-wrap films.
“We use a new UV flatbed printer, the LEJ-640FT that will print on wood, plastic and metals as much as six inches thick, and weighing up to 220 pounds,” he explained. “Heck, we are able to even print on cowbells.”
Increasing quantities of PSPs are producing package prototypes for graphic design firms along with other clients, although design firms are printing prototypes for their own reasons on-site, he said.
From your perspective of Becky McConnell and Heather Roden, product managers at Hanover Park, IL-based Fujifilm, one of the more tangible benefits associated with UV printing is that it allows PSPs to turn around projects more quickly, because their printing cures as soon as it comes down off of the press. “We were chatting with a consumer this year going from solvent answer to a UV cure solution, plus they are going to be able to significantly decrease their production time mainly because they can immediately finish this product,” McConnell said.
Moreover, from an environmental standpoint, the lack of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in UV printing is important 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 years back opened printing on a range of substrates, and UV LED has made possible printing with an even wider array of materials. So said Mark Goodearl, senior marketing manager for Meredith, NH-based EFI, Inc. “Heat is definitely an issue with traditional UV, and yes it was solved with the roll-out of UV LED,” he explained.
“In traditional UV curing, the carriage shuttles to and fro jetting the ink, and possesses lamps left and right hidden behind shutters that open according to the UV process.
“The operator would power within the printer, the lamps would be required to surface to temperature, and as soon as these folks were up you were ready for curing.
“With UV LED, the lamps don’t come on and stay on while they did inside the traditional process. The lamps last much longer-being rated for 10,000 hours-mainly because they come on / off. Also, the bulbs in traditional UV degrade as time passes. You needed to take into account the degradation of power of your lamps by providing them a growing number of power until you will no longer had the strength to get the specified result. With all the UV LED lamps, there is not any degradation of power.”
In accordance with a European power study which had been conducted using UV LED Printer and identical inks and substrates, UV LED bulbs used 82 percent less power than the traditional UV bulbs, he reported.
In addition operators not have to are the cause of degradation of your bulb, they no longer ought to adjust the color as the bulb degrades.
The effect of lowered power consumption and lowered temperatures is definitely the ability to make use of heat-sensitive substrates, Roden said. Specifically, PSPs can steer clear of the rippling effects that plague thin plastic substrates exposed to heat.
With UV LED, PSPs get more printable substrates, get rid of the heat, enjoy more productivity, endure less necessity for adjustment after a while and reduce energy consumption. Being a green byproduct, PSPs reduce waste too. They don’t suffer from color shift or materials melting underneath the lamps.
“Of our UV cured portfolio, the majority is LED,” Goodearl said.
“Our fastest machine, the HS product, has a combination of UV LED and mercury arc lamps that provide faster speed. There’s no limitation in the speed as a byproduct of your curing, and we have the ability to carry out some interesting things with all the curing finish, creating a matte or gloss effect with how the cure is varied.
“Curing is initiated about the UV LED and finished on mercury arc process.”
Cost savings are viewed as a prime good thing about UV LED, stresses Ken VanHorn, director of marketing and business development for Mimaki USA in Suwanee, GA. Users can skip many of the labor-intensive steps by printing directly to most substrates, he was quoted saying. “Further, UV LED lamps are definitely more cost-effective simply because they use less energy than older mercury vapor lamps that want to heat and stay on when in production,” he reported. “Total ink volumes can be less than other print technologies, resulting in ink financial savings that will help a store offer more competitive pricing and realize improved margins.”
Roden also touted cost, along with space, savings as a UV LED benefit. One of many products from Fujifilm is definitely the Aquity LED 1600, a UV LED machine that runs on a 110-volt source of energy. “That makes it popular with small businesses, since they don’t ought to contract having an electrician to implement the brand new press,” she said. “It’s not merely for print providers. It could squeeze into many different types of companies that are printing mainly because it fits in just a smaller footprint.”
Still, traditional UV retains some advantages over LED, said Mark Schlimme, director of advertising to the Americas and wide-format product manager with Rolling Meadows, IL-based Screen Americas.
The organization may be the North American sales and marketing arm for that Graphic and Precision Product Group for Screen Holdings. Screen Holdings also may include Screen Americas sister company Inca Digital, which manufacturers the Onset type 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 respect.
“What it means to the user of your printers is right now, LED is limited to slower printers,” Schlimme said. “Because that sweet spot might be a narrower, we have to print slower to hit that sweet spot.”
He was quoted saying some printers work with a hybrid of UV and UV LED, together with the UV LED employed to pin the drop and control dot gain. “But the only way they can get yourself a full cure is usually to cure with mercury arc,” he explained. “On the printers which can be LED only, there’s difficulty maintaining faster speeds and obtaining a sufficient cure.”
An additional advantage for traditional UV is definitely the UV LED lamps are currently very costly, but market forces are likely to drive that cost down, Schlimme said. Ink manufacturers too continue dexjpky07 attempt to advance inks, working to widen the sweet spot, and in the process enable faster curing to occur.
“But today, t-shirt printer cannot secure the higher speeds required of production-class printers,” he added. “Screen and Inca continue to engineer the ideal combination of technology for speed and quality.”
The cabability to focus more attention on printing and so on new opportunities is one of the chief great things about UV LED technology, experts say. VanHorn noted the wider variety of substrates available allow PSPs to find new markets.
“For example, products which were previously outsourced because materials were too delicate for hot lamp curing can be finished in house, securing all revenue and margin for your job, enabling the person to get complete control of quality and delivery,” he was quoted saying. “Since all the different substrates is virtually unlimited, print agencies 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 more about the printing, and less in the tweaking of color or lamp power, added Goodearl. “Those concerns are gone,” he asserts. “They could also buy thinner materials that bring about lower shipping costs and much less expense.”