Survey “Highlighting LED UV”: Part 5 with IST Metz
The whole printing industry is talking about LED UV: Where do companies see the greatest potential in this regard? NarrowWebTech asked a range of companies who are active in the label industry what they think about LED UV and its current status quo in the market. Volker Selg from IST Metz comments the currect status-quo of LED UV in part 5 of our survey.
Conducted by Rosina Obermayer
Head of Sales Web
1) What is the current market situation for LED UV and how will this further develop during the upcoming years?
Volker Selg: LED UV is developing very well and has become a standard in some applications, especially in areas where the advantages of LED lamps versus conventional arc lamps lead to technical and/or commercial advantages. A challenge is that too many false promises were provided to the industry, causing wrong expectations. Technologies have pros and cons and those must be balanced prior to an investment decision. Further growth will be seen for LED – as for all light curing technologies.
2) LED UV curing opens up potential for processing difficult substrates. What are the most promising applications with regard to narrow web production?
Volker Selg: One of the core advantages is the absence of IR radiation, simply leading to less thermal stress on the substrate. As the range of applicable film materials (especially thinking towards unsupported mono-films) is huge, there is a simple answer: Every application where the additional temperature is not wanted is usually looking into LED, i.e. translative printed label.
3) Ink migration is a hot topic: What are the challenges regarding printing inks and substrates? Compared with other ink systems, what do print shops have to consider if processing LED UV inks?
Volker Selg: The challenges are clear: Consumer awareness is growing which simply means that brand owners require products which are fully compliant with the valid specifications as otherwise the brand’s name can be harmed. Brand owners understand their responsibility and therefore there is no tolerance at all. LED UV underlays the same requirements as conventional (lamp) UV, due to the small emission band the ink formulation plays an essential role: It must ensure proper polymerization in the available range.
4) LED UV is often characterized as being sustainable: What ecological aspects do you identify such as recyclability of the printed and cured substrates?
Volker Selg: LED UV is UV curing which allows printing on nearly every substrate – even on the new substrates like paper manufactured from grass! In addition the need for focusing on the collection of film based packaging (which from a global perspective does not at present exist) prior to the question of recycling, LED UV will not be a problem for recycling.