via INKISH.TV: LED UV First Movers (Three Videos)

View the original three videos here.

INKISH.TV, an online TV outlet based in Denmark, recently covered three companies that have made the move to LED-UV curing in a series called "First Movers." View the original text and videos below:

LED UV First Movers
When new technologies are introduced, some may seem more obvious than others - however, in the past few years, “UV” has become a buzzword in the printing industry. UV in itself is not new, but several innovations have made interest in this technology quite prominent.

Before introducing first adapters of this technology, it is initially ideal to understand what UV is. UV is an abbreviation of Ultra Violet - the non-visible light that we protect ourselves against when the sun is the source. Ink manufacturers use specific UV wavelengths to cure inks that contain photoinitiators, which react to the UV light - and the result is completely dry paper when delivered out of the printing machine. 

The most common type of UV-lamps use mercury arc bulbs to generate specific UV wavelengths – these bulb-based systems, which are still prominently in use, also use a lot of energy and generate a lot of heat. With the development of new technologies, printers today see UV technology with names like H-UV, LED-UV, and others. No one has ever questioned the advantages of UV - but energy use, heat, and environmental concerns have remained an issue with classic UV.

In this context, inks need to be mentioned, too – simply because UV ink is more expensive than conventional ink. However, with LED-UV and to some extent with H-UV, operational savings make ROI an interesting proposition. These technologies are not only interesting due to their curing capabilities, but also because of a lot of “nice” side effects - such as ability to print with MUCH higher ink densities than seen with conventional printing, something that customers printing on uncoated paper especially appreciate - and because they make it possible to print on substrates like plastic and other alternative substrates.

Photoinitiators are still in the UV-inks - which is a problem and also a legal issue in the EU since some photoinitiators are said to be responsible for cancer - and therefore forbidden for use in products that are in direct contact with food. The food industry is, however, really interested in LED-UV since such systems emit less heat, and therefore printers can use thinner substrates - saving an enormous amount of money on not only energy but on packaging, too - and of course, many products are packed in several layers of packaging, with an impenetrable barrier between the product and its exterior.

At the recent DRUPA, Air Motion Systems - now AMS Spectral UV - introduced a new LED technology with a much wider UV-wavelength that makes it possible for inks to contain fewer photoinitiators, thus making inks cheaper and “healthier.” Some believe that the EU will eventually allow LED-UV printing for food-packaging products, once the logic of how it would be done is outlined.

AMS has been a premier sponsor on INKISH since our origin, and we follow the development of not just AMS, but of UV technology in general. Today both Komori, Heidelberg, KBA and MAN Roland deliver UV-machines to the market - and let’s not to forget RGMT, who has also been a front runner with UV-technology.

Three of the First-Movers on the AMS LED-UV systems have been covered here on INKISH.TV - see the exciting episodes where the owners explain why they invested in LED-UV, and the great advantages the investment has given them.

Please enjoy the films below - and stay tuned for more info about UV :-)

/Morten Reitoft

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