Screen Printing - April/May 2013 - (Page 16)

Perspectives on UV LeD curing this roundtable discussion focuses on UV inkjet printing and the emergence and impact of UV LED technology. gail flower T echnology changes many industries eventually. Though UV curing has been in the printing industry for more than 20 years, LED curing technology for UV printers is a modern technological twist in digital imaging. For a new technology to catch on, users have to feel a compelling need to accept it. How is the technology taking hold? We talked to some printers about UV inkjet printing and UV LED inkjet systems and their experiences. We also interviewed industry professionals whose companies supply UV LED printers to get their perspectives. Our particpants in the conversation are: Emily Williamson, president of Columbus, OH-based Franklin Imaging; John Dziak, owner and CEO of Printscape Imaging and Graphics, Pittsburgh, PA; Paul Meek, VP of operations at Indianapolis, IN-based Firehouse; Steve Cutler, marketing product manager, mid-range inkjet, at Fujifilm; and Paul McGovern, sales manager, USA, at Mimaki. Is UV LED cUrIng morE EffEctIVE than aLtErnatIVE cUrIng mEthoDs for InkjEt prIntIng? Williamson: For us, the only lamp curing we do is UV, and [conventional] UV printing is very effective. As the prints come out of the machine, they are cured and require no additional dry time. We can move on immediately to finishing steps, such as lamination, cutting, and mounting. Meek: I think that curing is more consistent with LED. With LED curing, it’s on or off. When you are using UV, the consistency can change due to the fact that each time the light flashes, the bulb gets less intense. Therefore, the curing can change over time. With LED, that is not an issue. Temperature makes a difference. Whereas the standard mercury lamp is hot when curing, the UV LED is not. Therefore, the latter gives more consistent, cooler curing. (Figure 1 shows an example of a retail display his shop produced on a UV LED inkjet printer.) Is It a growIng trEnD to UsE UV LED cUrIng In InkjEt prIntIng? Dziak: I believe so. It is more convenient and can be used on a wider array of materials. Meek: We’ve seen an increase in the industry. A year ago, I only knew of four or five printers using LED; now I know at least 15 printers using it. There are certainly more LED machines in the field now than at this time last year. Williamson: UV-cured printing is a popular option. It allows us fast turnaround times for print projects, flexibility in choice of substrates, and consistent color throughout the printing process. why DID yoU DEcIDE to or not to UsE InkjEt prIntIng wIth UV LED cUrIng capabILItIEs? Dziak: We went with UV alone because we needed a machine with more versatility (Figure 2) than solvent and aqueous methods. Figure 1 this 10 x 10-ft window display was produced by Firehouse on a UV LED inkjet printer. 16 screenprinting Meek: Our customers are hyper-critical when it comes to color results, and UV LED gives more consistent color. Also, UV LED helps by using less energy, making it less expensive

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Screen Printing - April/May 2013

Screen Printing - April/may 2013
Editorial Insights
New Products
Keeping Pace With Digital
Creating Artwork for DTG
Perspectives on UV LED Curing
Form and Function: Digitally Decorated Textiles
Diving Into Digital Workflows
Distributor/Dealer Directory
Opportunity Exchange
Advertising Index
Shop Talk

Screen Printing - April/May 2013