UV technology, both traditional UV and UV LED, offers a great many advantages for print service providers. And this includes are numerous tangible benefits that allow shops to parlay greater flexibility, a wider array 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 coffee printer, thinks about benefits of UV printers and UV technology, the 1st word you think of is versatility. “UV printers are capable of printing on virtually anything,” he explained.
Flatbed and hybrid UV printers are used in a multitude of large and small print shops, helping them grow and diversify. Larger print shops with multiple print capabilities are actually capable of accept short-run print jobs along with long-run assignments, dramatically growing business opportunities and profits.
The cabability 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. Capacity to “keep all this under one roof” is a huge value for production, he explained.
“Smaller PSPs are utilizing UV printing technology to enhance output and much better fulfill the needs of the short-run market,” he added. “When equipped with flatbed and hybrid UV printers, these shops have been in a position to capture jobs that larger print operations may deem not big enough to battle. For your smaller shop, the capability to accept such jobs can significantly impact the bottom line.”
While there’s a threshold as to what could be produced on these devices, requiring some print campaigns to migrate to traditional printing methods, that threshold is increasing shorter as a result of today’s UV-inkjet capabilities.
Versatility also reaches the sorts 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 possess a new UV flatbed printer, the LEJ-640FT that may print on wood, plastic and metals as much as six inches thick, and weighing up to 220 pounds,” he explained. “Heck, we can even print on cowbells.”
Increasing variety of PSPs are producing package prototypes for graphic design firms along with other clients, even though many design firms are printing prototypes for themselves in-house, he said.
From your perspective of Becky McConnell and Heather Roden, product managers at Hanover Park, IL-based Fujifilm, probably the most tangible benefits of UV printing is it allows PSPs to transform around projects faster, because their printing cures as soon as it will come from the press. “We were talking to a buyer this year going from solvent strategy to a UV cure solution, plus they are going to be capable of significantly decrease their production time since they should be able to immediately finish this product,” McConnell said.
Moreover, from an environmental standpoint, the lack of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in UV printing is vital 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 yrs ago opened printing on a variety of substrates, and UV LED has made possible printing by using an even wider selection of materials. So said Mark Goodearl, senior marketing manager for Meredith, NH-based EFI, Inc. “Heat has always been challenging with traditional UV, and it was solved with the development of UV LED,” he said.
“In traditional UV curing, the carriage shuttles backwards and forwards jetting the ink, and possesses lamps left and right hidden behind shutters that open in accordance with the UV process.
“The operator would power in the printer, the lamps would have to come up to temperature, and once they were up you were ready to treat.
“With UV LED, the lamps don’t come on and remain on as they did inside the traditional process. The lamps last considerably longer-being rated for 10,000 hours-simply because they come on and off. Also, the bulbs in traditional UV degrade over time. You had to account for the degradation of power from the lamps by providing them a growing number of power until you will no longer had the energy to gain the specified result. Together with the UV LED lamps, there is no degradation of power.”
Based on a European power study which had been conducted using UV Printer and identical inks and substrates, UV LED bulbs used 82 percent less power compared to traditional UV bulbs, he reported.
In addition operators not have to make up degradation of the bulb, they no longer ought to adjust the color as being the bulb degrades.
The effect of lowered power consumption and lowered temperatures will be the ability to utilise heat-sensitive substrates, Roden said. Particularly, 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 requirement for adjustment after a while and decrease energy consumption. As being a green byproduct, PSPs reduce waste as well. They don’t need to deal with color shift or materials melting beneath the lamps.
“Of our UV cured portfolio, many is LED,” Goodearl said.
“Our fastest machine, the HS product, has a mix of UV LED and mercury arc lamps which provide faster speed. There’s no limitation in the speed like a byproduct of your curing, and we have the ability to carry out some interesting things with the curing finish, making 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.”
Saving money are viewed as a prime advantage of UV LED, stresses Ken VanHorn, director of advertising and business development for Mimaki USA in Suwanee, GA. Users can skip most of the labor-intensive steps by printing straight to most substrates, he explained. “Further, UV LED lamps tend to be more inexpensive because they use less energy than older mercury vapor lamps that want to heat and remain on while in production,” he reported. “Total ink volumes may be lower than other print technologies, resulting in ink cost savings which can help a store 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 operates on a 110-volt power source. “That makes it alluring to small enterprises, mainly because they don’t have to contract having an electrician to implement the newest press,” she said. “It’s not only for print providers. It can go with many different types of companies that are printing since it fits inside a smaller footprint.”
Still, traditional UV retains some advantages over LED, said Mark Schlimme, director of promoting for the Americas and wide-format product manager with Rolling Meadows, IL-based Screen Americas.
The company will be the North American sales and marketing arm for your Graphic and Precision Product Group for Screen Holdings. Screen Holdings comes with 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” to treat with LED inks is exceptionally narrow, and LED ink manufacturers have room to enhance in this way.
“What this means for that user in the printers is at the moment, LED is limited to slower printers,” Schlimme said. “Because that sweet spot might be a narrower, we have 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 could obtain a full cure is always to cure with mercury arc,” he explained. “On the printers that happen to be LED only, there’s difficulty maintaining faster speeds and getting a sufficient cure.”
Another benefit for traditional UV is the UV LED lamps are now very costly, but market forces will probably drive that cost down, Schlimme said. Ink manufacturers too will continue dexjpky07 make an effort to advance inks, working to widen the sweet spot, and at the same time enable faster curing to occur.
“But today, dtg printer cannot retain the higher speeds required of production-class printers,” he added. “Screen and Inca continues to engineer the very best mixture of technology for speed and quality.”
The ability to focus more attention on printing and so on new opportunities is among the chief benefits of UV LED technology, experts say. VanHorn noted the wider array 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 now be completed in house, securing all revenue and margin for that job, enabling the consumer to possess complete control over quality and delivery,” he explained. “Since all the different substrates is virtually unlimited, print service providers will offer higher-value alternatives that had been previously unrealistic because of technology limitations of costs.”
Enjoying consistent color output and curing energy means operators can focus more about the printing, and fewer about 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.”