UV LED Curing in Production Printing Environments
Jennifer Heathcote, Phoseon Technology
Abstract: The adoption rate of UV LED technology within the printing market is an upward trend driven by economic, process, and performance benefits. For each commercial application, the suitability of the current technology depends on 1) the UV energy delivered to the photopolymer in terms of peak irradiance (Watts/cm2), energy density (Joules/cm2), and spectral wavelength (nm); 2) the formulation of the ink, coating, or adhesive; 3) the form factor and cooling method of the UV LED head assembly; and 4) the overall financial justification with respect to implementation, operation, and production yield. Companies willing to investigate the state of the technology and qualify it for their specific application needs are increasingly making the switch to UV LED curing.
This paper will profile one screen printer and one flexo printer who have made significant investments in UV LED technology over the past several years. The nature of their respective applications, the specific driving factors for each organization, the unanticipated benefits and challenges, the qualification and implementation processes each company undertook, and the current perspectives of management regarding UV LED technology and their respective decisions to invest will be discussed.