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FLEXO Magazine : August 2013
ELIMINATOR Introducing a New Standard of Label Metering Excellence • eliminates basic print defects including UV spitting • superior wear resistance • low friction against anilox • NEW AF TIP reduces break-in time • new alloyed material + dimension ...developed to meet the challenges of today’s high performance press room. R TM Printing Doctor Blades FLXON IS THE EXCLUSIVE DISTRIBUTOR IN CANADA - USA - MEXICO FOR +1.704.844-2434 www.flxon.com Performance Through Quality ELIMINATOR Introducing a New Standard of Label Metering Excellence • eliminates basic print defects including UV spitting • superior wear resistance • low friction against anilox • NEW AF TIP reduces break-in time • new alloyed material + dimension ...developed to meet the challenges of today’s high performance press room. R TM Printing Doctor Blades FLXON IS THE EXCLUSIVE DISTRIBUTOR IN CANADA - USA - MEXICO FOR +1.704.844-2434 www.flxon.com Performance Through Quality Printing Doctor Blades . $2,700 per station, while the rate for traditional mercury UV comes in at just about 75 percent the cost—around $2,000 . ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT The bottom-line impact of UV LED is noticeable, but not miraculous. But, cost considerations are, of course, just one area of concern. Converters have noticed that customers are increasingly asking for environmental friendly products, including post-consumer recycled paper, bio-dynamic inks, and renewable energy processes. New technology that is environmentally friendly can thus provide an added value to the customer. So, just how environmentally friendly is UV LED compared to traditional mercury lamps? Again, the differences are stark. First, UV LED contains no mercury. Mercury is poisonous if directly handled, and is a dangerous pollutant. Thus, UV LED eliminates contamination worries. UV LED systems also pro- duce no ozone that would need to be vented to the outside. Second, UV LED consumes much less energy. As stated above, a typical UV LED system uses 50 percent less energy than a traditional mercury lamp. This means a much smaller carbon footprint for the plant. The environment is not limited to the global environment, of course. Machinery can often affect the workplace environ- ment in a number of small but important ways. Every moving part, every heated element, and every waste product has the potential to annoy or even harm an operator. The safest equipment, then, should minimize exposed moving parts, heated elements and waste products. In this regard, UV LED comes out on top. LED arrays are cool to the touch, and because there are no fans or blowers to cool the array, there is much less noise as well. In a traditional mercury bulb, a high voltage is used to vaporize and excite the mercury, creating a mercury plasma. But, since mercury is not used in UV LED, there is no heated plasma that can potentially escape, and no high voltage ballasts that can arc or shock an operator. The narrow bandwidth output of UV LED is also a plus here. The lack of short-wave UV (also known as UV-B and UV-C) means that there is less risk of exposure to eyes and skin. Granted, the risk of serious injury from a traditional UV sys- tem is minimal, and such systems have been used safely in printing operations for some time. But, the risks are not zero. Any high-volume shop thus leaves itself open to a safety prob- lem, unless the necessary precautions are taken. Then again, the best precaution is to take away the source of the risk entirely. Here, again, UV LED provides a distinct advantage. ATTRACTIVE CAPABILITIES Two questions that many converters ask are: “Can I do the same things with the new technology that I could with the old?” And, “What can I do that is new?” All the cost savings and environmental benefits in the world would mean little if a new technology could not replicate, or better yet, expand and improve upon existing processes. For this reason, UV LED systems have been tested on a number of substrates in a number of different configurations. UV LED works with a number of substrates, including self- adhesive labels (including coated and uncoated papers, bi-axi- ally oriented polypropylene (BOPP), polyethylene (PE), polyactic acid (PLA) and synthetic films), shrink sleeves, polyethylene Close up of Mark Andy’s ProLED UV LED system on one deck of a narrow web press. 70 FLEXO AUgUst 2013 www.flexography.org