There is no question that LED UV is attracting a lot of attention, particularly from commercial printers who see it as a more economical than normal UV curing solution for value additions that they are keen to do on printed products. One issue has been the price and availability of LED curable inks and this is increasingly being addressed by several manufacturers.
Sun Chemical presented its latest innovations in the field of low-energy printing for the sheet-fed commercial and packaging, and the narrow web label markets at the recent Ipex exhibition in the UK.
Under the theme of ‘Brighter Ideas for Low-Energy Printing,’ the leading ink manufacturer showcased its high-performance, low-energy (LE) UV curing offset ink set, SunCure StarLite. Expanding the capabilities of SunCure StarLite, Sun Chemical also launched a new range of inks for LED UV curing systems at the show.
Using the latest generation, ‘low energy’ metal doped UV curing lamp and LED technologies, the SunCure StarLite range is designed for printing on paper, board and certain plastics as well as in non-food packaging applications. While offering the ‘instantly dry and finish-ready print’ benefit of standard UV curing, LE UV systems use iron-doped mercury lamps, so they don’t emit the shorter, ozone-generating UV wavelengths that require ozone extraction.
LED UV curing systems, although requiring higher initial capital investment, have significantly longer lamp lifetimes and, as they emit no heat onto the substrate, are ideal for the production of print on a wide range of substrates, including synthetics and low weight materials.
Specifically developed for high productivity lithographic production, the SunCure StarLite range offers excellent dot gain and trapping properties to ensure the highest print quality output. In addition, the range of inks produces low odor, a benefit for press operators and production staff. A strong odor in the pressroom is often an issue with UV inks caused by ozone (O3) and generally requires evacuation using hoods and ducted exhaust systems, which are then expelled outside the factory but into the air without any scrubbing. In this case, no treatment is necessary since the O3 combines with the ambient air to become O2.
As well as standard process inks, the SunCure StarLite portfolio also includes a full range of products for added value printing on LE UV and LED UV curing presses. These include overprint varnishes and coatings to enhance print reproduction and increase gloss as well as improving physical and chemical resistance. Specially adapted matt and gloss ‘drip off’ effect finishes and gold and silver metallic inks are also available, as well as special and Pantone SunCure Lite blend colors on demand.