10 Things LED UV Can Do for Your Pressroom
3. Say goodbye to protective coatings
In many offset pressrooms, water-based aqueous (AQ) coatings and litho varnishes are used not for "effect" but for "protection" of the sheet against marking and scuffing, and to accelerate the drying speed.
On presses that have the luxury of a coating tower, vast amounts of coating volume and electrical energy can be consumed just in an effort to meet this "protection" goal. The time, effort, cost that goes into maintaining the coating systems - the pumps, rollers, blankets and related items can be a tremendous waste, especially when the print buyer doesn't specify it.
Protective flood coatings further cover up the paper and literally mask the true feeling or design intent of the substrate.
The electrtical energy required to dry water-based AQ coatings can often be greater than the press itself. On most 40-inch presses, 70 to 100 kW of energy are routinely consumed by Hot Air Knives and IR lamps. In most presses, these dryers are set to 100% as a precaution, and they often keep running between jobs.
What's worse, many IR/HA dryers have trouble delivering enough energy for today's press speeds and ink and coating volumes to keep up. And consequently, printers spend a lot of time "debugging" the press, dryer and coating tower.
With LED UV, the need for protective varnishes and coatings is essentially eliminated. The ink itself is instantly dried via exposure to the LED light, and requires no further surface protection UNLESS... the customer pays for it!
LED allows commercial printers to move away from protective coatings, and opens a whole new world of effect possibilities that make sense for print designers and buyers.