In response to the increasing need for improved sustainable print solutions, Flint Group Narrow Web is introducing a series of ink technologies for UV LED curing under the EkoCure brand. These inks will be the first commercially available inks designed for combination print formulated specifically for UV LED curing.
EkoCure is developed using specially selected photoinitiators that match the narrow and targeted wavelength area that is typical for UV LED lamp output. The main advantages with UV LED can be summarized as ecological and economical:
• Ecological benefits: Energy will be saved; UV LED lamps are ozone and mercury free (improved worker and environmental safety); EkoCure is formulated on bio-renewable resources.
• Economical benefits: Energy consumption will be significantly reduced; manufacturing space is reduced; UV LED lamps are nearly maintenance-free.
“We have partnered with Phoseon Technology UV LED lamps, and have tested our inks using their FirePower 16 W/cm 2 on our Mark Andy 4150 press in our Center for Technical Excellence in Plymouth, MN,” said Tom Hammer, product manager Narrow Web North America for Flint Group. “With the FirePower units on our press, we have been able to experiment and test inks on several types of substrates, and in many print combinations. We have found success and have been able to run a ‘first ever’ true UV LED combination print – using our newly developed 4-color flexo process inks in combination with UV rotary screen white.”
“The UV flexo ink series we have developed is based on bio-renewable resin technology as an added effort to address sustainability,” Niklas Olsson, global brand manager, Flint Group, added. “Bio-renewable resins for UV products are a new development that will increase in use in the future; by combining this aspect with lower energy consuming UV LED lamps, it was a natural fit to brand this technology as EkoCure.”
“With the launch of EkoCure, we are following our historical track record of many innovations in being first in the market,” Mr. Olsson added. “We have taken this initiative, and believe that UV LED printing is the future technology as it offers so many positive attributes.”
“We have witnessed great advantages with UV LED lamps as the surface temperature is so much lower; we have been able to run heat sensitive substrates, such as shrink films, without any problem on a press without any special heat management,” Mr. Hammer concluded. “This, we believe, is a true added value for many converters, as it is not possible with conventional UV lamps without having special web cooling systems in place.”