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UV LED Curing Technology Brings New Revenue Opportunities

UV LED curing technology opens the door to new applications and new revenue opportunities with the ability to print on heat sensitive and thinner substrates, offering increased profitability for printers and converters. UV LED curing solutions offer higher print quality, faster curing speeds, and a more reliable curing process than traditional curing methodologies. New and unprecedented applications are being proven successful that were not possible before LED. Imagine what would happen if you combined UV LED curing technology with solar power?

What if by doing this you could increase productivity with less down time and use significantly less energy? This is now possible and happening today. Against a climate of rising energy costs and escalating environmental concerns, today’s advanced UV LED curing technology is creating new opportunities powered by solar energy.

Combining Solar Power and UV LED Curing
South Africa has been coping with a severe energy crisis and energy costs have increased by 45 percent since January 2015. For South African label converters this presented a unique challenge for conducting business that is reliant on energy-consuming machinery. GM Graphix is headquartered in Alberton, the company specializes in fast-moving consumer goods and pharmaceutical applications, and produces various printing products such as self-adhesive labels, sachets, shrink sleeves and wrap-around labels. Their new six colour MPS EF 340 press, also equipped with full automation (APC Advanced) will be used to expand their printing capacity, especially in shorter print runs.

“The systems reliability is very high which translates to higher productivity and no downtime. The start-up time for the LED light sources is instant, saving us at least thirty minutes production time per day compared to mercury lamps. The inks are more stable and dry much faster with LED, so productivity increases and sharper colour."
Pieter Massyn, GM Graphix

GM Graphix got creative and decided to reduce carbon footprint while improving energy efficiency using solar power. Combining the efficiency of UV LED curing technology with solar power delivers an unprecedented solution with increased productivity and energy savings for flexographic printing.

The flexographic label converter partnered with MPS, Phoseon Technology and Paragon Inks to meet its growing demand for lower operating costs and energy consumption. GM Graphix recently purchased its third flexographic press with LED curing technology powered by solar panels. The LED light sources from Phoseon Technology combined with Paragon inks offer more than 50% energy savings and increase productivity significantly compared to mercury arc lamps for the production of labels. The solar panels at GM Graphix generate enough energy to run the press for 5.5 hours each day and the electrical consumption is currently 30 percent less than their other flexo presses. The MPS press with LED technology run by solar power is likely the most cost-effective and environmentally friendly printing press in the market.

According to Pieter Massyn at GM Graphix, “The systems reliability is very high which translates to higher productivity and no downtime. The start-up time for the LED light sources is instant, saving us at least thirty minutes production time per day compared to mercury lamps. The inks are more stable and dry much faster with LED, so productivity increases and sharper colour.”

New Capability
UV LED curing technology offers new capability for converters. The intense UV output paired with UV LED flexo capable inks achieved record press running speeds. The low heat output enables new capabilities such as heat-sensitive materials, unsupported films, and thinner substrates while requiring less maintenance and energy.

The main UV LED capabilities:

  • Higher quality opaque whites & dense blacks
  • Multiple thick layers cured all the way through with good inter-layer adhesion
  • Low/high Coefficient of Friction (COF) whites for shrink application
  • UV Metallic range
  • Fluorescent colours without fading
  • Wide range of coatings
  • UV adhesives, both for lamination and Pressure Sensitive Adhesives (PSA), as well as for cold foil
  • Low migration/food packaging

 With no IR heat, converters using UV LED technology can add new capability to a press, previously unable to run thin and heat sensitive films, eliminating the need for chill rolls.