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UV LED or traditional UV? The evolution of the species

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At Print4All, it will be possible to explore the printing machines that make use of UV LED technologies, which up until recently were considered unthinkable and that have now in fact become a reality, promising a superior performance. Printgraph is yet another company that is offering this technology and will be presenting Toyo Ink Japanese inks with UV Low Energy/LED polymerisation.

The LED lamps represent the ideal alternative to filament lamps. In addition to offering a superior light intensity with a significantly lower energy consumption, they are also ecological considering that they do not contain mercury, do not emit heat and last around 10 times longer than traditional lamps, which are becoming more and more obsolete as each day passes and can no longer currently be legally manufactured.

Just a few years ago, a discussion of LED technology in the printing industry seemed premature. The first lamp prototypes had a low power output, the distance from the medium affected the effectiveness of polymerisation development, the wavelength that would have characterised the lamp output was still very uncertain and it was difficult to find the raw materials required to formulate high-performing UV LED inks.

Today, this has all changed. All the main printing machine manufacturers have one or more examples with UV LED technologies operating on their customers’ premises or are preparing to install one.

Evolution in the UV LED sector of late has been quite remarkable. In early 2014, it was still difficult to make the inks stable. In just 12 months, an exceptional performance has been achieved, including four-colour printing tests with speeds of up to 18,000 SPH and good runnability with reduced dot grain. Let’s just say that things got off to a good start and are now running very smoothly indeed. Many obstacles have been overcome, for example, the distance required between the UV LED lamp and the surface to be polymerised now varies from 1 to 25 mm, while many agree that 385 nanometres is the best-performing wavelength.

LED diode duration is now around 25,000/30,000 hours. Energy consumption has been significantly reduced: the fact that the LEDs switch on and off like a normal light means that they do not require time to brighten. Printing machine energy consumption in stand-by is practically zero: the LEDs, when the machine is idle, are switched off.

Of course, we are still yet to reach perfection. A number of aspects must be improved, which above all, regard the costs of both the lamps and inks.

Printgraph, the company that has already confirmed its presence at Print4All, distributes Japanese Toyo Ink products in Italy and has had a pioneering role in the development of inks with UV Low Energy/LED polymerisation, in compliance with the now stringent REACH and RoHs safety standards.

Toyo Ink’s main objective is to continually improve safety standards, by reducing the CO2 emissions linked to both ink production and use.

Toyo Ink, with Low Energy/LED inks, ensures an excellent printing performance, an extraordinary visual impact and a combination of the best offset ink properties with prestigious raw materials and a polymerisation technology with production performance. 


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