UV technology, both traditional UV and UV LED, offers a great many advantages for print providers. And this includes are many tangible benefits that allow shops to parlay greater flexibility, a wider array 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 about advantages of UV printers and UV technology, the very first word you think of is versatility. “UV printers are designed for printing on virtually anything,” he stated.
Flatbed and hybrid UV printers are used in numerous types of large and small print shops, helping them grow and diversify. Larger print shops with multiple print capabilities are able to accept short-run print jobs in addition to long-run assignments, dramatically growing work at home opportunities and profits.
The ability to produce specialized and smaller-sized pieces and long-run campaigns, in addition to handling color management and production schedules, allows larger shops to effectively control timelines and fulfillment schedules. Capability to “keep all of it under one roof” is an important value for production, he said.
“Smaller PSPs are employing UV printing technology to boost output and better fulfill the needs of the short-run market,” he added. “When built with flatbed and hybrid UV printers, these shops happen to be capable of capture jobs that larger print operations may deem too small to consider. To the smaller shop, the ability to accept such jobs can significantly impact tha harsh truth.”
While there’s a threshold from what can be produced on these devices, requiring some print campaigns to migrate to traditional printing methods, that threshold is growing shorter because of today’s UV-inkjet capabilities.
Versatility also extends to 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 possess a new UV flatbed printer, the LEJ-640FT that will print on wood, plastic and metals around six inches thick, and weighing as much as 220 pounds,” he said. “Heck, we can even print on cowbells.”
Increasing variety of PSPs are producing package prototypes for graphic design firms and also other clients, even though many design firms are printing prototypes on their own in-house, he stated.
Through the perspective of Becky McConnell and Heather Roden, product managers at Hanover Park, IL-based Fujifilm, one of the more tangible benefits of UV printing is that it allows PSPs to make around projects more rapidly, because their printing cures when it will come off the press. “We were chatting with a buyer this season going from solvent means to fix a UV cure solution, and so they are going to be capable to significantly decrease their production time mainly because they can immediately finish the product,” McConnell said.
Moreover, from an environmental standpoint, the absence of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in UV printing is very important to a lot of clients. That’s particularly true in states like California, where VOCs are highly regulated, she added.
UV printing’s introduction some dozen in the past opened up printing on a variety of substrates, and UV LED has made possible printing upon an even wider assortment of materials. So said Mark Goodearl, senior marketing manager for Meredith, NH-based EFI, Inc. “Heat has long been challenging with traditional UV, and it also was solved with the creation of UV LED,” he was quoted saying.
“In traditional UV curing, the carriage shuttles forward and backward jetting the ink, and contains lamps left and right hidden behind shutters that open based on the UV process.
“The operator would power up the printer, the lamps would have to show up to temperature, as soon as these were up you have been ready to treat.
“With UV LED, the lamps don’t occur and remain on since they did in the traditional process. The lamps last a lot longer-being rated for 10,000 hours-since they come on and off. Also, the bulbs in traditional UV degrade with time. You needed to take into account the degradation of power of your lamps by offering them more and more power until you will no longer had the power to achieve the preferred result. Together with the UV LED lamps, there is no degradation of power.”
According to a European power study which was conducted using phone case printer and identical inks and substrates, UV LED bulbs used 82 percent less power compared to the traditional UV bulbs, he reported.
Furthermore operators not have to make up degradation of your bulb, they no more have to adjust the hue as the bulb degrades.
Caused by lowered power consumption and lowered temperatures is definitely the ability to utilise heat-sensitive substrates, Roden said. Especially, PSPs can avoid the rippling effects that plague thin plastic substrates open to heat.
With UV LED, PSPs gain more printable substrates, get rid of the heat, enjoy more productivity, endure less requirement 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 under the lamps.
“Of our UV cured portfolio, many is LED,” Goodearl said.
“Our fastest machine, the HS product, has a combination of UV LED and mercury arc lamps which provide faster speed. There’s no limitation around the speed being a byproduct of your curing, therefore we can easily perform some interesting things using the curing finish, creating a matte or gloss effect with the way the cure is varied.
“Curing is initiated in the UV LED and finished on mercury arc process.”
Financial savings are seen 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 lots of the labor-intensive steps by printing instantly to most substrates, he was quoted saying. “Further, UV LED lamps are definitely more inexpensive because they use less energy than older mercury vapor lamps that need to warm up and remain on when in production,” he reported. “Total ink volumes may be less than other print technologies, resulting in ink saving money which can help a shop offer more competitive pricing and realize improved margins.”
Roden also touted cost, along with space, savings being a UV LED benefit. One of several products from Fujifilm is definitely the Aquity LED 1600, a UV LED machine that runs on a 110-volt source of energy. “That can make it alluring to smaller businesses, because they don’t need to contract having an electrician to implement the new press,” she said. “It’s not just for print providers. It may match many different types of businesses that are printing since it fits in 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 corporation is definitely the North American sales and marketing arm for 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 inside 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 which means to the user of your printers is right now, LED is limited to slower printers,” Schlimme said. “Because that sweet spot is a bit narrower, we will need to print slower going to that sweet spot.”
He explained 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 method they can get a full cure is to cure with mercury arc,” he was quoted saying. “On the printers that happen to be LED only, there’s difficulty maintaining faster speeds and obtaining a sufficient cure.”
Another advantage for traditional UV will be the UV LED lamps are now 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 at the same time enable faster curing to take place.
“But today, garment printer cannot support the higher speeds required of production-class printers,” he added. “Screen and Inca continues to engineer the best mix of technology for speed and quality.”
The cabability to focus more attention on printing and so on new opportunities is amongst the chief features of UV LED technology, experts say. VanHorn noted the wider range of substrates available allow PSPs to find new markets.
“For example, items which were previously outsourced because materials were too delicate for hot lamp curing can be carried out house, securing all revenue and margin for the job, enabling an individual to possess complete control of quality and delivery,” he stated. “Since the plethora of substrates is virtually unlimited, print providers may offer higher-value alternatives that have been previously unrealistic on account of technology limitations of costs.”
Enjoying consistent color output and curing energy means operators can focus much more about the printing, and less around the tweaking of color or lamp power, added Goodearl. “Those concerns are gone,” he asserts. “They also can buy thinner materials that lead to lower shipping costs and less expense.”