LED UV First for Uteco, La Gerunda, and AMS
Milan, Italy - Air Motion Systems (AMS) has announced that it is to fit the world’s largest ever flexo LED UV curing system to a new Uteco ONYX 8C–CI press due for delivery to flexible packaging print specialist La Gerunda Merletti S.R.L., near Milan, Italy, in late Summer this year. The press is specified with eight 1.2 meter (47-in) wide printing stations, each with an AMS LED UV XP Series curing lamp. The cassette-based slide-in, slide-out lamps are mercury-free, switch on and off instantly (10 milliseconds), and feature low energy, ozone-free operation. The chip diodes have a working life of up to 30,000 hours and do not emit heat into the substrate or fumes to the atmosphere.
The new ONYX will be entirely additional capacity to La Gerunda’s existing four presses and managing director, and founder, Pino De Gradi, expects it to deliver a 40% uplift in turnover – to more than €12 million per annum – as he expands his business into new market areas. He explains:
“The majority of our current printed output is for the horticulture, agriculture, pet food and similar markets, but we are now winning significant new contracts to supply clients servicing the food and healthcare products sector. For this we don’t just need additional capacity, we need the production advantages of the latest technologies, compatibility for low migration inks and, especially, the most environmentally-friendly solutions.”
The decision to be the world’s first to fit AMS’s new CI optimised LED UV curing to the mid format flexo press followed good reports from nearby ACM where Massimo Raffaele, having pioneered the system on his Omet VaryFlex F1 530mm narrow web flexo press last year, has just commissioned a 9-unit Bobst narrow web 100% AMS LED UV Low Migration flexo press:
“AMS LED UV offers many operational and financial advantages over our current UV and hot-air systems,” explains Mr De Gradi, “but the overriding benefit for us is its environmental pedigree. In these markets it is essential to be as clean as possible – the clients demand it. It’s not just the inks and the chemistry of the printing process, the LED UV solution does not involve mercury and does not produce emissions into the atmosphere, and these are factors that will play a major part as we go forward. Of course, this was not the cheapest solution, but it will surely be the most cost-effective investment for our needs and the best value for our business; AMS LED UV is the right choice for us.”
About Air Motion Systems Inc.
With its focus on technology innovation and customer satisfaction, AMS has established itself as North America’s leading manufacturer of high-performance LED UV and UV systems for the printing industry. AMS is a world leader in the design and manufacturing of advanced ultraviolet (UV) and LED UV Curing Systems and related technologies for the Graphic Arts and other industries. It was founded in 1997 and is located in a Silver LEED facility just east of Minneapolis, Minnesota (in River Falls, Wisconsin) USA, and is now the largest supplier of complete UV Curing Systems for the Sheetfed Offset printing industry in North America, and the largest supplier of LED UV Systems for sheetfed offset presses worldwide. AMS customers include some of the largest and best-known printing, packaging, and converting companies in the world, and leading OEMs.
Uteco Converting Spa, based in Colognola ai Colli, near Verona, Italy, was established in 1985 and has an annual manufacturing product value of more than €115 million. The advanced flexible manufacturing facility comprises 65,000 m2 of production space; more than 280 specialists in design, production, control, assistance, sales and marketing work in the plant.
The ONYX series was launched at Drupa in 2004 and, with Uteco’s drive for automation and innovation, has continually set the industry standard. With sales of the latest generation running at 40 per year, more than 350 ONYX presses are currently in operation in every major packaging market around the world.
About La Gerunda
La Gerunda Merletti S.R.L. was founded at Cremona, near Milan, in 1970. Its comprehensive operation includes: 3-ply polyethylene co-extrusion, 8-colour UV/solvent flexographic printing, in-register UV coating, conventional and tear-strip sealing, solvent-less bonding, cutting, die-cutting & labelling and pre-forming. The new Uteco ONYX is to be its first press using the cylinder sleeve process and will be additional capacity to four existing presses, two with UV and two running solvent-based inks. Current turnover is in the region of €8.5m.
Air Motion Systems is a Founder Member of the International LED-UV Association
The International LED-UV Association was established in 2011 through the cooperation of a select group of LED UV technology providers, LED UV chemistry providers, and LED UV process users to further the pace of LED UV curing adoption in multiple sectors of industry. As a solid-state alternative to common mercury (Hg) based lamp systems, the field of LED UV curing promises to be one of the most exciting new developments in the clean technology revolution.
In recent years, UV LED (light emitting diode) chip technology has grown incredibly in power and efficiency at wavelengths important for photo-polymerization of UV-sensitive inks, coatings and adhesives. The emergence of high brightness UV LED chips has quickly enabled the development of a new class of LED UV lamp curing luminaire systems and architectures, with radiant power and intensity that rival the output of traditional UV lamps, but without the unwanted side effects that have restricted the adoption of conventional UV technology. Alongside the major development of a new generation of high-powered LED UV lamp technology, a new class of LED UV optimized inks, coatings and adhesives has emerged from formulators capable of faster reactions under the most powerful LED UV wavelengths between 385 and 395 nanometers. This shift has been critical as the power of LED UV systems can only truly be harnessed with corresponding changes in chemistry underlying the UV photo-polymerization process.
The International LED-UV Association
The International LED-UV Association was formed to recognize end users and suppliers committed to quality and the environment via the innovative application of LED UV technology, and to encourage and promote development of sustainable LED UV printing inks, coatings, and curing technologies for the future. LED UV curing technology has made quantum strides in recent years, gathering great momentum in fields ranging from digital, offset, and flexographic printing, to adhesives curing in electronics manufacturing, applied coatings and other industries. It is our collective belief that improved recognition and cooperation across multiple scientific, technical and process adoption disciplines that additional breakthroughs will be made to further the transition to LED UV technology.