The 2013 UV/EB Report

Energy curing technologies have been a growth area for ink manufacturers in recent years, particularly in packaging, narrow web and inkjet, driven by its production and performance advantages.

Energy curing technologies have been a growth area for ink manufacturers in recent years, driven by its advantages in terms of production and performance. That growth in UV and EB curing continued during the past year, particularly in the packaging and narrow web segments.

“Today, UV LEDs are finally taking their place as a mainstream curing technology,”
Stacy Hoge, marketing communications, Phoseon Technology

The Growth of UV LED
One area of interest within the UV market is UV LED curing. During the past few years, UV LED has expanded from a niche technology to a success story.

Stacy Hoge, marketing communications at Phoseon Technology, said that the interest in UV LED continues to grow in inkjet and screen printing, and now flexo and offset is following.

“Digital printing is the most broadly accepted for UV LED,” Ms. Hoge said. “Flexographic and screen printing are rapidly adopting. Last, offset will move to UV LED as the chemistry improves to take advantage of UV LED capabilities.

“Today, UV LEDs are finally taking their place as a mainstream curing technology,” Ms. Hoge added. “Labelexpo provides the proof. At Labelexpo 2011, there were 10 UV LED lamps on display. Labelexpo 2013 had 78 UV LED lamps on machines and display, an 8x increase.

“In 2006, very few types of ink were compatible with UV LED technology,” Ms. Hoge noted. “In 2013, more than 20 inks and material vendors touted their support and ability to formulate for LED. New resins, monomers, oligomers and photo-initiators have been under development. Not only inks, but also coatings and adhesives are now widely available that are either specially formulated for LED or work with both LED and traditional mercury sources. Specifically, UV LED flexo inks been formulated in combination with UV LED lamps, offering a viable solution for flexo printing.”