The Future of UV
The future of UV lies in LED technology. That’s the biggest takeaway from “The Latest in UV Equipment, Inks & Trends (In Partnership with Radtech)”, a session held Tuesday. Moderated by Howard Ragin of UV Specialties, LLC, the panel members included Mike Higgins of Phoseon Technology, Jim Raymont of E.I.T. LLC, David Biro of Sun Chemical and David Rose of Sakurai USA.
Following introductions, panalists fielded questions from audience members. Nearly all of the discussion centered on various aspects of rapidly emerging LED UV, and how it can, or should be adopted by printers.
Most of the questions covered the cost advantages or disadvantages of LED. Panelists cited power control, lower heat costs and safer wavelengths of light as reasons to invest in LED. Pigments in LED UV are the same as in current UV. And,“total cost of ownership … would be quite bit less over the course of two or four years,” claimed Higgins, when compared to conventional mercury systems.
Also, LED makes curing whiting better because the longer light wavelengths penetrate more easily. Still, panelists advised caution in moving towards LED. “It’s one of those technologies that’s changing all the time,” Raymont noted.
Rose said that inks have to improve and price points come down before implementation becomes widespread. “First, ink has to meet your product requirement,” he said. And while LED offers energy savings, some savings can be achieved with better management of the current UV curing technology.
Higgins pointed out that “LED ink will cure with a mercury lamp,” which gives printers the flexibility to learn and experience LED and gradually move into it. He recommended that printers work with their vendors along the supply chain to determine if moving to LED UV makes sense, and when.