UV LED curing has become more popular over the years in commercial and industrial applications. But how does this type of technology work, and what are the benefits of using UV LED curing systems in conjunction with UV curable ink? We are going to cover the basics in the latest blog post: UV LED Curing 101.
What is UV LED Curing?
UV LED technology provides stable and efficient curing of CIJ, Piezo, and Thermal UV curable inkjet inks. UV LED curing, which stands for ultraviolet light-emitting diode, is the process of hardening liquid ink, adhesive, or coating from exposure to ultraviolet light. Photo-initiators in UV curable ink react and cross-link, or polymerize, forming a dry film.
UV LED curing technology can be used for visible lighting, water purification, nail curing, and many other applications. UV LED curing can also be used in industrial applications with products like Squid Ink’s UV LED curing system. Squid Ink’s system uses UV LED technology to cure ink on metal, glass, automotive products, plastics, electronics, and more.
There are typically two types of UV curing lamps used in inkjet curing applications: mercury vapor and LED. Mercury arc lamps are still used, but UV curing is slowly taking over because they are more environmentally friendly, longer lasting, and less costly. Also, the need for exhaust systems to help prevent contaminated air when using mercury vapor systems is causing many manufacturers to make the switch to newer LED UV curing.
Advantages of UV LED Curing
UV LED curable ink and curing systems have seen growth over the past years due to advances in technology and the increasing demand for more environmentally friendly curing methods. Another advantage is that UV LED curing lamps do not output infrared wavelengths that are translated into heat. The absence of heat is a key factor when used on production lines where heat can change the chemical properties of the coating or adhesive.
A major benefit of UV LED curing systems is their life span. Squid Ink’s UV LED curing system has around 20,000+ hours of LED lifetime, significantly higher than a mercury arc lamp’s 500 to 2,000-hour life. Additionally, Squid UV curing systems use about 75% less energy than typical mercury arc curing lamps. The reduced power consumption helps extend the lifespan of the system.
UV LED systems are also designed to be more compact than mercury systems. Squid Ink offers a space-saving benefit with its system because it can mount directly to your existing manufacturing line. Squid UV LED systems require less space, downtime, and maintenance, resulting in higher productivity at a lower cost. Since UV inks don’t cure until they pass under the UV LED light, printhead maintenance is kept to a minimum. UV requires no need for preheating, and because UV ink cures rapidly, printers can work quickly and economically.
Squid Ink UV systems have seen tremendous success with several applications. In the video below, our distributor in Poland, Druk Serwis 24, utilizes the Squid Ink CoPilot Max printing system with UV curable ink to print safety codes on medical face masks. The CoPilot Max is paired with Squid Ink’s Squid UV LED Curing system to provide a high-quality print that is immediately cured. With the help of Squid Ink products, this mask manufacturer is streamlining their production process while providing a high- quality product.
Want to learn more about Squid Ink’s Squid UV LED Curing System? Visit the UV LED Curing section of our website for more information, send us an email (link to contact page), or give us a call at 1-800-877-5658.