Productivity and Performance Continue To Drive Growth of UV and EB
For ink manufacturers, the energy curable market has been one of the brightest areas in recent years, and that trend continues today, particularly in web offset, flexo and inkjet.
There are many reasons for this growth. Productivity is a huge advantage. The instantaneous curing of UV inks increases productivity and flexibility, especially on short to mid-length offset runs, which enhances turnaround and the ability to meet demands for just-in-time delivery. Advancements in energy curing technologies now allow UV inks to cure at speeds of greater than 1400 feet per minute.
There are also performance advantages. In addition to fast cure, UV and EB are ideal for high quality printing. Energy curable inks offer excellent adhesion, chemical and moisture resistance and gloss, and are versatile; they can be used on a wide range of substrates, from paper to non-porous.
Finally, UV and EB are green technologies, as they eliminate the use of solvents. At a time when environmental concerns are becoming even more paramount, energy curing is a popular alternative.
UV and EB initially gained a foothold in the ink market because of environmental concerns. However, the consistent gains have been driven by performance and productivity, which have been the result of determined R&D work. For more on what is new in the UV/EB market, please see “The UV/EB Report,” which begins on page 24.
Speaking of R&D efforts, it is always interesting to see what new technologies ink companies and their suppliers are developing. Two venues to watch are Graph Expo and Converting Expo, held annually in Chicago, IL, and the National Printing Ink Research Institute’s (NPIRI) Annual Technical Conference.
This year’s Graph Expo and Converting Expo, the largest since 2000, was no exception. Associate Editor Kerry Pianoforte attended Graph Expo and Converting Expo this year, and her report on new technologies that will impact the ink and printing industries begins on page 48. A wide variety of technologies were discussed during NPIRI as well, and beginning on page 46, we review the conference with an eye toward these new developments that will help to shape the ink industry in the coming years.