UV technology, both traditional UV and UV LED, offers a great many advantages for print providers. And this includes are lots of tangible benefits that enable shops to parlay greater flexibility, a wider selection of capabilities and reduce materials, energy and labor costs into new opportunities for profit.
When Jay Roberts, Irvine, CA-based Roland DGA product manager, latte printer, thinks about advantages of UV printers and UV technology, the first word you think of is versatility. “UV printers are capable of printing on virtually anything,” he was quoted saying.
Flatbed and hybrid UV printers are used in a wide variety of large and small print shops, helping them grow and diversify. Larger print shops with multiple print capabilities are capable of accept short-run print jobs and also long-run assignments, dramatically growing work at home opportunities and profits.
The ability 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. Capacity to “keep all this under one roof” is a huge value for production, he said.
“Smaller PSPs are utilizing UV printing technology to improve output and fulfill the requirements the short-run market,” he added. “When provided with flatbed and hybrid UV printers, these shops are already able to capture jobs that larger print operations may deem not big enough to battle. For that smaller shop, the opportunity to accept such jobs can significantly impact tha harsh truth.”
While there’s a threshold from what can be produced on these units, requiring some print campaigns to migrate to traditional printing methods, that threshold keeps growing shorter as a result of today’s UV-inkjet capabilities.
Versatility also reaches the sorts of substrates that may 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 could print on wood, plastic and metals around six inches thick, and weighing as much as 220 pounds,” he stated. “Heck, we are able to even print on cowbells.”
Increasing amounts of PSPs are producing package prototypes for graphic design firms and also other clients, although many design firms are printing prototypes by themselves in house, he explained.
From your perspective of Becky McConnell and Heather Roden, product managers at Hanover Park, IL-based Fujifilm, one of the most tangible benefits of UV printing is that it allows PSPs to change around projects quicker, since their printing cures as soon as it will come away from the press. “We were talking with a buyer this coming year going from solvent solution to a UV cure solution, and they also will be capable of significantly decrease their production time since they are able to immediately finish this product,” McConnell said.
Moreover, from an environmental standpoint, lacking volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in UV printing is very important to a lot of clients. That’s especially true in states like California, where VOCs are highly regulated, she added.
UV printing’s introduction some dozen years ago opened printing on a selection of substrates, and UV LED has created possible printing on an even wider array of materials. So said Mark Goodearl, senior marketing manager for Meredith, NH-based EFI, Inc. “Heat happens to be difficult with traditional UV, and it was solved with the introduction of UV LED,” he was quoted saying.
“In traditional UV curing, the carriage shuttles to and fro jetting the ink, and contains lamps right and left hidden behind shutters that open according to the UV process.
“The operator would power in the printer, the lamps would be required to come up to temperature, and when these were up you had been ready to treat.
“With UV LED, the lamps don’t happen and stay on since they did inside the traditional process. The lamps last for a longer time-being rated for 10,000 hours-simply because they come on and off. Also, the bulbs in traditional UV degrade with time. You needed to are the cause of the degradation of power of the lamps by giving them more and more power until you no longer had the power to get the preferred result. Using the UV LED lamps, there is absolutely no degradation of power.”
In accordance with a European power study that had been 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 account for degradation in the bulb, they will no longer must adjust the color since the bulb degrades.
Caused by lowered power consumption and lowered temperatures is the ability to make use of heat-sensitive substrates, Roden said. In particular, PSPs can avoid the rippling effects that plague thin plastic substrates subjected to heat.
With UV LED, PSPs get more printable substrates, get rid of the heat, enjoy more productivity, endure less necessity for adjustment over time and decrease energy consumption. Like a green byproduct, PSPs reduce waste too. They don’t have to deal with 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 variety of UV LED and mercury arc lamps which provide faster speed. There’s no limitation about the speed being a byproduct of the curing, therefore we can easily carry out some interesting things with the curing finish, making a matte or gloss effect with how the cure is varied.
“Curing is initiated in the UV LED and finished on mercury arc process.”
Cost benefits are seen 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 directly to most substrates, he stated. “Further, UV LED lamps are definitely more inexpensive because they use less energy than older mercury vapor lamps that need to warm up and stay on while in production,” he reported. “Total ink volumes might be below other print technologies, resulting in ink cost savings that can help a shop offer more competitive pricing and realize improved margins.”
Roden also touted cost, along with space, savings like a UV LED benefit. One of many products from Fujifilm may be the Aquity LED 1600, a UV LED machine that runs using a 110-volt power source. “That can make it alluring to small enterprises, mainly because they don’t need to contract with an electrician to implement the brand new press,” she said. “It’s not only for print providers. It may fit into many different types of firms that are printing as it fits within a smaller footprint.”
Still, traditional UV retains some advantages over LED, said Mark Schlimme, director of marketing for that Americas and wide-format product manager with Rolling Meadows, IL-based Screen Americas.
The business is definitely the North American sales and marketing arm to the Graphic and Precision Product Group for Screen Holdings. Screen Holdings also includes Screen Americas sister company Inca Digital, which manufacturers the Onset brand 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 further improve in this way.
“What it means to the user of the printers is today, LED is restricted to slower printers,” Schlimme said. “Because that sweet spot is a touch narrower, we need to print slower to hit that sweet spot.”
He was quoted saying some printers use a hybrid of UV and UV LED, with all the UV LED employed to pin the drop and control dot gain. “But the only way they are able to get a full cure would be to cure with mercury arc,” he stated. “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 may be the UV LED lamps are presently very costly, but market forces are likely to drive that cost down, Schlimme said. Ink manufacturers too continues dexjpky07 strive to advance inks, attempting to widen the sweet spot, and along the way enable faster curing to occur.
“But today, t-shirt printer cannot keep the higher speeds required of production-class printers,” he added. “Screen and Inca continues to engineer the ideal mixture of technology for speed and quality.”
The opportunity to focus more attention on printing and on new opportunities is among the chief great things about UV LED technology, experts say. VanHorn noted the wider variety of substrates available allow PSPs to search for new markets.
“For example, items that were previously outsourced because materials were too delicate for hot lamp curing can be carried out house, securing all revenue and margin for this job, enabling the consumer to have complete power 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 more about the printing, and less around 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 much less expense.”