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FLEXO Magazine : January 2014
Prototypes produced on substrates differing from those used in the final product—even if those differences are subtle—can cause problems when the job goes to production. UV LED inkjet printers deliver the precise color imaging of water based inkjets and the broad media support needed to effectively sim- ulate on press results, at a fraction of the time and cost. Employing a UV printer can also enhance and expedite the prepress process when more than one facility is involved. Advanced color management software designed to interface with such a printer—including programs from GMG, CGS and EFI—dramatically improves color matching accuracy and simplifies the proofing/color verification process. Working with UV printers, this software makes it possible to hit the exact color needed while ensuring consistent results across prepress and production platforms when printing takes place at multiple locations. UV BENEFITS Package designers and brand managers often wish to see a variety of packaging options that differentiate their products from competitors while capturing the look and feel of finished goods. UV printers and printer/cutters offer a variety of fin- ishing options. Clear coat ink adds matte or gloss varnishing and embossing effects. Some machines also perform scoring, kiss cutting and die cutting functions in a single workflow. Conventional UV lamps can reach temperatures as high as 1,500 degrees Fahrenheit, virtually eliminating the possibility of printing on any heat sensitive material. Today ’s UV LED lamps generate very little heat, allowing them to print on a wide variety of films used in flexible packaging, including • Clear • Metallic • Colored • Shrink In addition to printing CMYK, some UV printers can also be equipped with white ink. The ability to print high opacity white ink is important for flexo printers, since many flexo jobs are printed on metallic, clear and shrink films. The cost of producing a proof on a UV LED device is often as low as a few cents per sample. Compare that to an estimated dollar per sample for the same proof generated on a water based inkjet or $50 to $500 per sample when out- sourced. Running a press to produce proof samples is even more expensive. To learn how UV technology is revolutionizing prepress and proofing, it helps to take a look at some real world examples. PBM GRAPHICS Durham, NC based PBM Graphics, an A to Z printing and fulfillment company that employs a staff of nearly 600, has specialized in commercial printing for more than 30 years. PBM uses its UV printer to produce prototypes of gift card carriers for many of the most recognized retailers, overwraps for trading card clients and shrink wrap prototypes for bottle packagers and adhesive label packages. President Adam Geerts says that, while his company origi- nally purchased a UV printer for its opaque white capabilities, www.flexography.org JANUARY 2014 FLEXO 53 White ink at a high opacity is another benefit afforded by UV machines.