UV technology, both traditional UV and UV LED, offers a great many advantages for print agencies. Among them a wide range of tangible benefits that permit shops to parlay greater flexibility, a wider variety of capabilities and minimize materials, energy and labor costs into new opportunities for profit.
When Jay Roberts, Irvine, CA-based Roland DGA product manager, latte coffee printer, thinks about advantages of UV printers and UV technology, the initial word that comes to mind is versatility. “UV printers are capable of printing on virtually anything,” he was quoted saying.
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 actually in a position to accept short-run print jobs and also long-run assignments, dramatically growing business opportunities and profits.
The opportunity 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. Power to “keep it all under one roof” is a huge value for production, he explained.
“Smaller PSPs are employing UV printing technology to increase output and fulfill the requirements the short-run market,” he added. “When provided with flatbed and hybrid UV printers, these shops have been capable of capture jobs that larger print operations may deem too small to take on. For your smaller shop, the cabability to accept such jobs can significantly impact the important thing.”
While there’s a threshold as to what could be produced on these products, requiring some print campaigns to migrate to traditional printing methods, that threshold is growing shorter on account of today’s UV-inkjet capabilities.
Versatility also extends to the types of substrates that may be printed upon. For instance, 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 could print on wood, plastic and metals approximately six inches thick, and weighing as much as 220 pounds,” he stated. “Heck, we could even print on cowbells.”
Increasing quantities of PSPs are producing package prototypes for graphic design firms and also other clients, although design firms are printing prototypes for themselves on-site, he stated.
In 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 that it allows PSPs to make around projects more rapidly, since their printing cures once it appears off of the press. “We were chatting with a client this coming year going from solvent strategy to a UV cure solution, plus they will probably be capable of significantly decrease their production time simply because they will be able to immediately finish the merchandise,” McConnell said.
Moreover, from an environmental standpoint, the absence of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in UV printing is vital to many people clients. That’s extremely true in states like California, where VOCs are highly regulated, she added.
UV printing’s introduction some dozen years back exposed printing on an array of substrates, and UV LED has made possible printing upon an even wider variety of materials. So said Mark Goodearl, senior marketing manager for Meredith, NH-based EFI, Inc. “Heat happens to be challenging with traditional UV, plus it was solved with the roll-out of UV LED,” he was quoted saying.
“In traditional UV curing, the carriage shuttles backwards and forwards jetting the ink, and possesses lamps right and left hidden behind shutters that open in line with the UV process.
“The operator would power in the printer, the lamps would have to surface to temperature, and as soon as these folks were up that you were ready to treat.
“With UV LED, the lamps don’t occur and stay on because they did inside the traditional process. The lamps last a lot longer-being rated for ten thousand hours-simply because they come off and on. Also, the bulbs in traditional UV degrade with time. You have to account for the degradation of power of the lamps through giving them a lot more power until you will no longer had the strength to gain the specified result. With all the UV LED lamps, there is not any degradation of power.”
According to 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 compared to the traditional UV bulbs, he reported.
Not only do operators not need to make up degradation of your bulb, they no more need to adjust colour because the bulb degrades.
Caused by lowered power consumption and lowered temperatures will be the ability to apply heat-sensitive substrates, Roden said. Particularly, PSPs can steer clear of the rippling effects that plague thin plastic substrates exposed to heat.
With UV LED, PSPs get more printable substrates, take away the heat, enjoy more productivity, endure less necessity for adjustment as time passes and decrease energy consumption. As 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, most is LED,” Goodearl said.
“Our fastest machine, the HS product, has a mixture of UV LED and mercury arc lamps that provide faster speed. There’s no limitation on the speed as being a byproduct of the curing, and that 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 about the UV LED and finished on mercury arc process.”
Cost benefits are viewed as a prime benefit of UV LED, stresses Ken VanHorn, director of promoting and business development for Mimaki USA in Suwanee, GA. Users can skip most of the labor-intensive steps by printing right to most substrates, he was quoted saying. “Further, UV LED lamps will be more inexpensive since they use less energy than older mercury vapor lamps which need to heat up and stay on when in production,” he reported. “Total ink volumes might be below 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, and also space, savings like a UV LED benefit. One of many products from Fujifilm is the Aquity LED 1600, a UV LED machine that operates on a 110-volt source of energy. “That can make it popular with small businesses, mainly because they don’t must contract by having an electrician to implement the newest press,” she said. “It’s not merely for print providers. It may fit into many kinds of businesses that are printing mainly because it fits within a smaller footprint.”
Still, traditional UV retains some advantages over LED, said Mark Schlimme, director of advertising for that Americas and wide-format product manager with Rolling Meadows, IL-based Screen Americas.
The business may be the North American sales and marketing arm for your Graphic and Precision Product Group for Screen Holdings. Screen Holdings includes 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 in the LED spectrum. What he calls “the sweet spot” for curing with LED inks is exceptionally narrow, and LED ink manufacturers have room to improve in this way.
“What that means for the user in the printers is at this time, LED has limitations to slower printers,” Schlimme said. “Because that sweet spot is a little narrower, we will need to print slower hitting that sweet spot.”
He explained some printers utilize a hybrid of UV and UV LED, using the UV LED employed to pin the drop and control dot gain. “But the only way they could get a full cure is always to cure with mercury arc,” he explained. “On the printers which are LED only, there’s difficulty maintaining faster speeds and having a sufficient cure.”
Another advantage for traditional UV will be the UV LED lamps are presently extremely expensive, but market forces may very well drive that cost down, Schlimme said. Ink manufacturers too will continue dexjpky07 strive to advance inks, working to widen the sweet spot, and along the way enable faster curing to happen.
“But today, t-shirt printer cannot secure the higher speeds required of production-class printers,” he added. “Screen and Inca continues to engineer the most effective blend of technology for speed and quality.”
The cabability to focus more attention on printing and on new opportunities is among the chief benefits of UV LED technology, experts say. VanHorn noted the wider selection of substrates available allow PSPs to look for new markets.
“For example, items that were previously outsourced because materials were too delicate for hot lamp curing can be carried out in house, securing all revenue and margin for the job, enabling the person to have complete control of quality and delivery,” he explained. “Since the plethora of substrates is virtually unlimited, print service providers can offer higher-value alternatives that have been previously unrealistic as a result of technology limitations of costs.”
Enjoying consistent color output and curing energy means operators can focus more about the printing, and much less in the tweaking of color or lamp power, added Goodearl. “Those concerns have left,” he asserts. “They may also buy thinner materials that cause lower shipping costs and fewer expense.”