UV LED curing technologies represent the most significant development in energy curing for years. This technology demands an evolutionary change in ink chemistry and Ultraking XCURA LED is an example of Flint Group’s continuing commitment to providing innovative solutions to new trends in the printing industry.
Following the December 2013 launch of Ultraking XCURA, a brand new system of low energy UV curing highly reactive inks and coatings, Flint Group is now launching the newest member of the XCURA family - Ultraking XCURA LED.
“There are many factors weighing on the efficiency and benefit of using traditional UV curing in the printing process,” said Rodney Balmer, director of global research and product development, Flint Group.. “The fact the lamps contain mercury, require exhausts for the ozone they produce, need cooling and are actually relatively inefficient, typically utilising less than 15% of the energy produced, makes the search for alternative technologies all the more attractive. One of the first technologies to reduce the drawbacks of UV is LED curing.”
“UV LED lamp technology utilises high power light that emits diode technology, which requires significantly less energy to operate than traditional UV. This results in as much as 40% reduction in energy costs,” added Balmer.
Because of the targeted wavelength at 395nm, both ozone and heat generation are eliminated, resulting in a safer working environment and ability to print heat sensitive substrates. UV LED offers additional advantages over traditional UV like instant on/off, significantly longer lamp life (20,000 hours vs 2,000) and low maintenance.
Flint Group is not new to UV LED. In September 2013, after more than two years of development work, Flint Group Narrow Web won an Award for Innovation at The Label Industry Global Awards, for its EkoCure UV LED ink technologies.
Ultraking XCURA LED products have high color strength, display excellent ink/water stability and require lower levels of energy to operate. They also comply with ISO 2846-1 and are suitable for printing to ISO 12647-1 standards.
“There are long term cost advantages with UV LED compared to traditional UV, and with energy curing’s instant drying offering faster turnaround of work, the door is open for conventional commercial printers to adopt this technology,” said Jim Buchanan, business director UV sheetfed and key accounts. “Retro-fitting of LED lamps is very easy, and takes less than a day, while the R.O.I. on a 5 unit + coater B1 press can be under 12 months. This means Ultraking XCURA LED brings the perfect balance of press stability, cure speed and increased opportunities to the commercial print market. We believe the impact of LED will be equally profound in the packaging sector. Heat can be a major problem with traditional UV printing, but LED technology generates minimal heat.”
The Ultraking XCURA LED product range includes standard process inks, a base mixing scheme, metallic inks, overprint varnish and there will soon be a low migration product available.
“We are rolling-out Ultraking XCURA LED across Europe as part of the global product launch, and this will culminate in a series of seminars to be held in key locations, in partnership with strategic OEMs, like Air Motion Systems,” said Buchanan.