The printing industry is quickly becoming the fastest growing area of LED-UV curing systems adoption. Printers recognized for adoption of LED-UV curing technology are some of the most forward-thinking companies in their respective regions.
Printing process technology that incorporates LED-UV curing offers numerous advantages over traditional printing methods.
LED-UV in Offset Lithographic Printing
The offset lithographic printing process generates the largest volume of printed material in the world. Products we encounter everyday from catalogues, brochures, business cards, plastic cards, consumer product packaging, beverage labels, display signs, books, newspapers and more are just the tip of the iceberg of what offset produces.
Most offset printing is still performed using conventional solvent-based inks and coatings that set or dry through oxidation. Often, heat energy is introduced to speed the drying process, but it consumes a significant amount of electrical or gas energy depending on the application.
LED-UV printing brings extraordinary benefits to the offset printing process, most fundamentally through the 1:1 replacement of solvent-based ink and coating chemistry with that of photo-sensitive inks and coatings, capable of transforming instantaneously from a liquid to a solid through a photo-polymerization process upon exposure to UV light, without generating hazardous Volatile Organic Compound emissions (VOCs).
While the concept of UV printing is certainly not new to many companies within offset printing– its growth has been limited through existing UV light generation technology, which is dominated by the mercury arc lamp. The metal hailde or mercury (Hg) lamp has many disadvantages that make it difficult and costly to implement, not the least of which is the presence and disposal of mercury. As a result, many companies in the printing industry, without a specific rationale for adopting UV chemistries have avoided this technology.
LED-UV printing offers not only a significant improvement over traditional UV lamp curing systems, but also offers a compelling alternative to conventional solvent-based printing methods.
LED-UV Printing Method Advantages
- Printers can eliminate oil-based ink solvent emissions by printing with VOC-free LED-UV inks
- Printers can gain UV capability and job flexibility without the equipment hassle or eco concerns of traditional UV systems
- Printers can dry inks and varnishes in a single pass without complex anti-marking solutions
- Printers can improve the quality of dot fidelity and print vibrancy
- Spray powder can be eliminated as a drying aid, further increasing quality and cleanliness in the pressroom
- Printers no longer need to wait for drying, and can process work immediately after printing, speeding customer shipments
- Printers can more easily print on exotic substrates, such as uncoated paper, plastics, and foils, that are often difficult to print conventionally
- Printers can pin or dry-trap colors at intermediate printing units to allow immediate, high quality overprinting or coating application