30.12.2013
FESPA Mexico is the largest dedicated exhibition for the wide format digital print, screen print, garment decoration and signage markets Mexico and Central America. FESPA Africa is the region’s largest, focused exhibition for the wide format digital printing, screen printing, garment decoration and textile printing.
A great line-up of digital textile printing experts sharing their experience and insights on the latest innovations, products, trends and trade secrets.
The FESPA-branded event will be managed in partnership between FESPA and CSGIA (China Screen Printing and Graphic Imaging Association), FESPA's associate member in China.
FESPA Eurasia will be a focused exhibition for the wide format digital printing, screen printing, signage and garment decoration markets. Supported by the FESPA Thai Association, TSGA, FESPA Asia will be a key event for Asian print service providers to source the latest equipment, software and consumables in one vibrant location.
The FESPA Awards 2017 is the only independent global awards in the print industry recognising the best print in the world, and the people behind them. FESPA’s successful worldwide events generate profits that we reinvest for the immediate benefit of the global FESPA community of printers.
Some of the money is used to enable FESPA to deliver world-class educational content at our global events. Here's the second part of our beginner's guide to the most common inks that are used for graphical and industrial printing.
A hybrid ink that uses a water based vehicle with heat-cured resins (polymers) and additives (co-polymers) that bind the pigments to the media. HP coined the Latex name, which was initially confusing to British English speakers, who associate latex with rubber solutions.
The ink is printed onto the substrate and a lot of heat is applied from above and below to evaporate the water. Used for: backlit film, coated paper posters, photographs, indoor display, point of sale, banner materials, self-adhesive vinyl and polypropylene, blue back billboard, wallpaper.
These inks remain liquid until exposed to ultra violet light, after which they cure by polymerisation and dry almost instantly to form a tough and durable coloured layer. Outdoor life is generally quoted at about five years, the same as solvent, but the ink cures instantly.
UV ink has virtually no VOCs and is non-hazardous when properly cured, but contact with uncured ink can "sensitise" human skin and breathing passages over time, leading to serious allergic reactions. Used for: originally mainly for rigid, non-absorbent media such as metal, glass, window graphics, wood, plastics.
Not used for: primary food packaging or garments, because of the risk of uncured ink migrating though the media and contacting food or contacting skin. A new class of ink that as the name suggests, mixes a small amount of volatile solvent with UV curable resins that bind the pigment to the media. The solvent dilutes the liquid polymer for a thinner, glossier finish and also helps to key it to plastic surfaces. Note that the 'downstream' nature of the UV curing means that the lamps have to be configured as a bar covering the maximum media width on the two systems developed to date. Used for: roll-fed applications including indoor and outdoor signage, self-adhesive vinyls. An ink type that is a waxy solid at normal room temperature, and is heated to a gel liquid in the feed to the printhead. The process works with cheap uncoated papers or textiles and garments, and many non-absorbent materials such as plastics and wood.
Not used for: graphics intended for close-up viewing (such as some fine art and photography), long life outdoor media, banners, textiles. Oce (now owned by Canon) developed a variation it calls CrystalPoint, using pellets of solid ink called TonerPearls. VEEA and VEEM have different kinds of polymerizable groups such as radical polymerizable (meth)acryloyl group and cationic polymerizable vinylether group installed in one molecule. Reactive Polymers having (meth)acryloyl group or vinylether group are obtained from VEEA, VEEM by selecting polymerization method. Coatings : Wood coating, Film coating, Hard coating, Optical disk coating, Optical fiber coating etc. Photoresists : Dry film resist, Semiconductor resist, Photo polymer plate, Barrier rib for PDP etc.
GEW has launched a faster version of its UV LED curing lab system, named Magic Carpet, as part of an initiative to show its continued support for the research and development effort of UV LED ink manufacturers. A sample tray, driven by a linear actuator, is passed under the UV array in a very precise, controlled and repeatable manner. In addition to having a simple magnetic hinged sample tray, the unit can also accommodate an EIT radiometer for precise UV power measurement. The LED array is height adjustable between 5-25mm to suit specific test items and scenarios. GEW said its new Magic Carpet LED lab system makes the task of developing and testing new UV LED ink formulations easy, accurate and ergonomic.
Which of the following are you interested to see and learn more from at Labelexpo Americas 2016?
Find out how you can promote your products and services through the industry's leading website. Labels & Labeling has been the global voice of the label printing and converting industry since 1978. UV LED (light emitting diode) technology is poised to take on UV arc lamps as the next generation of UV light applications. If the mention of UV makes you think of sunscreen rather than increased profit, then you probably do not own one of the estimated 10,000 UV wide-format printers installed in the world today.
Over the next few years, expect to see some big changes in the wide-format printing industry from printer applications and capabilities to more cost efficient operations. UV digital printing is the fastest growing segment in the wide-format printing industry and has taken a central place in the graphics business.
The reason why there is so much interest in UV-curable ink technology is because it enables the widest range of substrates to be printed.
The UV digital wide-format printing industry has grown up using arc lamp technology borrowed from the older UV screen and flexography industry, with a few adjustments. A Light Emitting Diode (LED) is a semiconductor device which converts electricity into light.
Since the optical spectrum is limited to that which the process requires, namely the UV range for ink curing, the electrical to optical conversion efficiency is substantially improved over arc lamps. Other advantages inherent with LEDs include a life that can be five or more times longer than with arc lamps. LEDs are not without their limitations, however, which must be overcome in order to achieve widespread adoption.


Until recently, an equally problematic issue with LED technology was the maximum irradiance or optical power density achievable on the printed substrate. High power UV LED systems are composed of arrays of individual LED semiconductor chips called "die" (see Figure 1). Many UV ink suppliers have also weighed in on this issue and created new formulations of ink that have a tailored response to UV LED light.
Peter Saunders, global sales and marketing manager at SunJet, the division of Sun Chemical that specializes in inks for digital applications, also believes the future for LED-based inks and curing systems in the digital print market is strong. The final issue that limits the adoption of LED systems into UV digital printers is acquisition cost. Much of the upfront acquisition cost of UV LED systems can be offset by the advantages they bring, both from the perspective of the printer manufacturer and from the print shop owner.
The cooler cure of an LED system also opens up new print applications on temperature sensitive substrates for print shop owners, which helps expand business potential. Saunders is also bullish on the adoption of LED solutions in the single pass label press and product-marking segment of the digital print market. The UV LED industry, working in partnership with printer manufacturers and ink suppliers, is well on the way to achieving all three.
The digital UV wide-format market continues to grow and is drawing in new technologies as it matures. This article appeared in the SGIA Journal, 1st Quarter 2011 Issue and is reprinted with permission. Encompassing screen, digital and textile print; the exhibition will see more than 700 exhibiting brands take to Hamburg, Germany. FESPA is developing a growing programme of regional thought-leadership Summits, and knowledge-sharing events such as conferences, congresses and seminars.
It's intended as an alternative to solvent inks, but with similar benefits of brightness and durability. The heat also activates the resin components in the ink, that bind the pigments to the media and then dry to a tough waterproof layer. Neither do the increasingly popular LED lamps, which also consume less electricity, run a lot cooler and have much longer lives than tubes. More flexible formulations have been developed for vehicle curtain sides, banners, meshes and flags. It's intended as a more economical alternative to Latex, needing a lot less energy to cure, and with greater outdoor durability.
Heaters in the printer bed evaporate the solvent component after printing, locking the ink in place long enough for it to reach the UV lamps for the final hard cure.
In addition, they say, there is no solvent outgassing so lamination can be performed immediately.
This is fired through the head nozzles at the cooler substrate, where the ink solidifies almost instantly. Tektronix pioneered the process in the 1990s and its solid ink operation was subsequently bought by Xerox, but these models are mainly for small format applications.
It incorporates the same high-performance LED curing module designed for full production printing and coating applications, so testing with this unit reflects genuine production scenarios. According to IT Strategies of Boston, UV-curable hardware already accounts for nearly one-third of all wide-format printers bought in 2010. Also, the broad UV spectrum they produce allowed for the creation of ink chemistries that are versatile and cure well. First and foremost, the generated light is concentrated in a narrow range of the UV spectrum. Recall that with arc lamps, only a portion of the light generated is UV and much of the optical energy does not contribute to the process. The most significant limitation of LEDs is also its key strength: The narrow emission spectrum.
To achieve a good tack-free surface, whether using an arc lamp or an LED, it is necessary to concentrate the optical energy sufficiently on the substrate.
Although these arrays promise to solve the irradiance challenge, they come with some cost and it is necessary to use liquid cooling to manage the amount of waste heat created. Since air does not cool as efficiently as water, special design in the packaging and optics of the LED array is required in order to achieve this ideal system. According to Saunders, by 2013, LED inks and curing systems should have a high degree of penetration into wide-format printers with hourly productivity levels of 25m2 per hour (or less). According to Chris Sobaszek, business unit manager, digital at ITW Transtech: "The option to use an LED curing solution on the InDecs SPM printer has opened new markets where traditional UV lamps have been unable to penetrate" (see Figure 3).
In both wide-format and label printing, more than 30 percent of the UV-curable products offered feature LED pinning or full-curing - a remarkable statistic given that the technology is still early in its development. A large number of the substrates typically used in these printers are temperature sensitive, so the cool curing offered by LEDs provides a real advantage (see Figure 4).
Adoption will most likely take place on a printer-by-printer basis, determined by the target applications and available UV digital inks. The industry has started to take advantage of the tremendous advances in UV LED light sources, bringing to the print world all the reliability and functionality they offer. He is responsible for developing and executing the company's UV strategy in the digital print market. He holds an MBA from Loyola University-Chicago and a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering from the University of Missouri-Columbia. Katia Studer, Ciba (now part of BASF) plays the market introduction of new UV sources a very important role in the development of radiation curing formulations and applications. However, Epson has a similar water-resin hybrid ink that is so far only used in its SurePress L-4033A and AW narrow format label presses. UV curing lamps must be carefully shielded to stop stray light contacting human skin or eyes. Conventional metal halide curing lamps are very hot, so preclude thin heat sensitive materials, but LED "cold cure" lamps run much cooler. At present it would be too expensive to fit a full-width array of LED curing lamps, even though on principle these would run cooler with longer lives and lower energy consumption. On the other hand, rub resistance may be poor, and some inks have a raised appearance and waxy feel. The process is used in Canon's ColorWave 550 and 650 large format plan and poster plotters.
UV-curable printing is clearly well-established in wide-format and is projected to grow nine percent annually from now until 2014. With UV systems, the fact that the ink remains uncured until exposed to UV light helps to keep the inkjet nozzles open and reduces the need for maintenance and maintenance cycles. Originally used for indicators or low power illumination, they are beginning to find application in general illumination and in the more specialized fields of photo activated material processing (such as ink curing) and high brightness specialty illumination.


Furthermore, in some instances, if this additional optical radiation is not filtered out, it may cause unwanted secondary effects such as sample heating. In addition, it is possible to switch LEDs on and off very quickly, eliminating the need for internal or external shutters. On wide- and super-wide format printers, this means added complexity to the printer architecture due to the addition of another liquid handling system and a chiller. Within the UV industry, this has been a very active area of research over the past year, and commercial versions of air cooled LED systems may soon be a reality. Their efforts have resulted in inks that require less overall energy to achieve full cure (by up to a factor of three in some cases) and that have the desired surface and adhesion properties with an LED spectrum.
For these printers, curing speeds are lower so there is a good match with existing LED systems. The cost of an LED system depends strongly on the number of LED die that are used to fabricate the array. Once in the field, UV LED curing systems will have lower running costs and provide shop owners with energy savings.
It illustrates the need and desire for new technology that can print with less heat, less energy and on a wider range of substrates.
Those print applications that have integrated LED curing to date have included lower productivity printers with narrow print swaths. This enables a new generation of printers to print a greater range of applications and provide higher reliability, easier operation and lower operational costs. Before joining Lumen Dynamics, Kuta was a research scientist with the biomedical optical instrumentation firm CME Telemetrix. His work experience includes eight years as a Systems Engineering Manager at Motorola and three years as a Senior Product Manager at Tyco. LED lamps start emerging in this market and offer a more efficient conversion of the electrical input into energy used during the curing process than mercury lamps do. It's effectively dry as it comes off the printer and there's no outgassing so you can laminate immediately.
Some UV curing lamps generate ozone gas, a health hazard, so again air extraction is desirable. There are no UV metallic inks, but a handful of systems apply thin metallic 'cold foils' to the ink layer before curing. What are the technological hurdles to implement them into wide-format printers and when will these hurdles be overcome? Optical reflectors are used to collect as much of the generated light as possible and direct it onto the substrate. On the downside, arc lamps have required certain accommodations be made to the printer architecture, and placed some restrictions on applications. The higher electrical to optical conversion efficiency for LEDs means sufficient optical energy for the process can be generated with less electrical input. The optical output of LEDs can be controlled by varying the electrical drive signals and allowing for electronic intensity control. This level has proven marginal in achieving good surface cure; for some printing applications it is sufficient, while for some it is not. In addition, the intrinsic features of LED make them advantageous to this segment (see Figure 2).
The size of the array depends upon the print swath and print speed, with narrower and lower productivity printers requiring smaller arrays. Due to the long life of the LEDs and the reliability of this solid state technology, service and maintenance costs will be reduced, and it will no longer be necessary to perform the expensive replacement of arc lamps every 500 to 1,000 hours of use. Furthermore, IT Strategies projects that the number of manufacturers that will offer LED curing will continue to increase rapidly, with nearly 50 percent of label printers offering products that feature LED curing by 2015.
For these applications, the power, irradiance and cost elements of the curing system have been optimized. In his current role with Lumen Dynamics, he manages both the Excelerate® and the OmniCure® product families. After Studer this raises the issue of more energy-demanding curing of pigmented systems, where pigments interfere with the light absorption of photoinitiators. All this happens at temperatures more than 1,000 degrees Fahrenheit, so considerable excess heat is generated in the process. This removes the need for mechanical attenuators, which further simplifies system design and improves product reliability. For older inks, the limited spectrum of LEDs can cause problems, such as insufficient cure leading to tacky surfaces or adhesion problems. Over the next five years, as the technology advances along these three vectors, we will see UV LED curing integrated into higher productivity and higher-end printers.
This includes developing, implementing and managing strategic and tactical marketing initiatives for the UV Curing product line. In addition, UV digital printing has opened up new opportunities and applications from printing on ceramic tiles to flooring. Some of this heat is transferred to the substrate which can cause issues for temperature sensitive materials. LEDs are more environmentally-friendly than arc lamps due to their higher effective efficiency and lack of mercury. Newer inks have been developed that overcome these problems, so this limitation may have passed. Inks tend to cure more efficiently with light from the deeper portion of the UV spectrum, but this requires a more expensive type of LED.
Second, high power arc lamps, such as those found on grand format printers, produce ozone, a dangerous gas that requires special venting. The lower overall heat load for the LED system enables more compact system designs without the need for complex igniter electronics present with arc lamps (see Table 1). Overall, the cost of UV LEDs is trending downward and has dropped by more than a factor of 10 over the past 10 years. Currently many R&D efforts are devoted to the design of an even more efficient photoinitiating system. Third, arc lamp output degrades over their 500 to 1,000 hour lifetime by as much as 50 percent.
Read also the opinion of Katia Studer on the mirgration of photonitiators into food and how it can be completely avoided in the October issue of the European Coatings JOURNAL.



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