Sun Chemical’s innovations in low-energy printing

Sun Chemical

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.

The Covid-19 pandemic led to the country-wide lockdown on 25 March 2020. It will be two years tomorrow as I write this. What have we learned in this time? Maybe the meaning of resilience since small companies like us have had to rely on our resources and the forbearance of our employees as we have struggled to produce our trade platforms.

The print and packaging industries have been fortunate, although the commercial printing industry is still to recover. We have learned more about the digital transformation that affects commercial printing and packaging. Ultimately digital will help print grow in a country where we are still far behind in our paper and print consumption and where digital is a leapfrog technology that will only increase the demand for print in the foreseeable future.

Web analytics show that we now have readership in North America and Europe amongst the 90 countries where our five platforms reach. Our traffic which more than doubled in 2020, has at times gone up by another 50% in 2021. And advertising which had fallen to pieces in 2020 and 2021, has started its return since January 2022.

As the economy approaches real growth with unevenness and shortages a given, we are looking forward to the PrintPack India exhibition in Greater Noida. We are again appointed to produce the Show Daily on all five days of the show from 26 to 30 May 2022.

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– Naresh Khanna

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