SGIA Journal November/December 2013 - (Page 39)

feature UV LED Printing: Will Your Business Be Left Behind? Typical cost savings result from fewer lamp changes, energy savings, lower cost materials and less waste. Every new technology has its skeptics who take a wait-and-see attitude before getting on board. Now that UV LED technology has been in commercial use for over 10 years, let's take a look at what users of UV LED technology have to say, including press manufacturers, ink suppliers and end users. We'll address the common questions, concerns and misconceptions around implementing UV LED for specialty graphics applications. Is UV LED worth the investment? Foremost in any business owner's mind is whether UV LED is worth the investment. Of course that depends on a lot of different factors such as capital costs, operating costs (energy, ink, labor, maintenance, etc.), productivity and the potential for business expansion to name a few. Prices of UV lamps have come down significantly even as their energy output has increased. And it's also important to calculate the ROI for your business. UV chemistry platform manager, Collins Ink Corporation, said, "The lower energy consumption and longer life of the LED lamps can reduce operating costs sufficiently to make LEDs a more cost-effective option, despite the higher initial costs." 1 Jim Brush, owner of Empire Screen Printing who prints decals, labels, yard signs and more said his UV LED screenprinting press has a return on investment of three years based on energy savings, bulb replacement/disposal and reflector replacement.2 The cost to run a traditional UV press at Empire, based on 5000 hours, is $34,351 per year. The cost to run a UV LED press is only $658 per year, a savings of $33,693. Unlike traditional mercury lamps, LEDs are instant on/off, so the UV is only on when the ink is curing. This can lead to significant cost savings.3 Nazdar, a developer of UV LED screen inks for both the membrane overlay and graphics markets estimated paybacks for two different scenarios. In the first scenario, a six-station in-line mercury UV lamp press, 48-inches wide, is being retrofitted with UV LED lamps. The cost to retrofit is estimated at $504,000 and the annual savings at $184,700, resulting in a payback of three years. In the second scenario, a single-station press, 48-inches wide, is retrofitted with UV LED. The cost to retrofit is $92,000 with an annual savings estimate of $43,883, providing a payback of two years.4 "There is a strong business case for adding a device to an existing personalization business and also for starting a new business focused around UV applications," said Hiroshi Ono, group product manager, Roland DGA Corporation during a discussion about compact UV LED flatbed inkjet printers which now compete directly with pad printing. "In fact, the right UV LED printer generally pays for itself within the first three months, and offers profit margins per print ranging from 40 to 90 percent."5 Are the cost savings really there? The cost savings are a significant factor in any ROI or payback calculation for retrofitting or installing a new UV LED press. Typical cost savings result from fewer lamp changes, energy savings, lower cost materials and less waste. UV LEDs last longer than mercury vapor UV lamps, a 20,000-hour lifetime compared to under 2,000 hours, meaning less downtime, energy savings and lower costs. BFC Digitaldruck und Mediengestaltung, a German printer of outdoor advertising, signage and exhibition stands, reports changing the mercury UV lamps on its previous grand-format digital inkjet printer up to five times a year at a cost of $4,000.6 Because UV LEDs produce much less heat than traditional U V lamps, it's often possible to use less expensive materials that warp, shrink or expand Stacy Hoge, Marketing Communications Specialist, Phoseon Visit SGIA at SGIA Journal ■ November/December 2013 | 39

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of SGIA Journal November/December 2013

How to Survey Your Print Customers
Nanography™ and Nanotechnology: A Primer
How to Select Your Next Wide-Format Printer, Part II
Determining & Nurturing Your Areas of Opportunity
UV LED Printing: Will Your Business Be Left Behind?
Making Big Decisions: Will Doing Nothing Destroy Your Business?
MIS: Is Your System Working For You or Against You?
Sustainability and Media
Standardization and Process Control in Wide-Format Printing: Why It Will Change Your Life (And Make Your Customer Happy)
Test the Water Before you Commit with SGIA's Digital Equipment Evaluations
How CorelDRAW® Can Help Transform Your Sign Shop
A Time for Leadership: A Survival Guide for the 21st Century
Extracting Lessons from SGIA’s 2013 Industry Data
New Products
UV LED Technology & the 2013 SGIA Expo
The Ins and Outs of Color Management
SGIA Bestows “Product of the Year” Designation on Top Entries at 2013 SGIA Expo

SGIA Journal November/December 2013