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UV Curable Inks, Issue 2
In This Issue
Greetings!

Welcome to the second of a continuing series of articles on Collins' UV Curable Ink. This three newsletter series will discuss current and future trends of digital UV technology, from our perspective. We hope you find this series as exciting as we do!
Customer Testimonial
UV Curable Inks for Ticket Printing and Flexo Proofing

 

Premier Southern Ticket is one of the major players in the Ticket Printing Industry, shipping its products world wide. The company offers a complete line of admission ticket products which are all manufactured on site for maximum security and quality control. Premier's customers include carnivals, fairs, festivals, transportation, sporting events, amusement parks, theaters, parking facilities and other venues that utilize tickets for admission, seat assignment and revenue control. When it comes to printing, the company utilizes traditional flexographic printing, as well as water-based and UV curable inkjet printing. Kirk Schulz, President of Premier Southern Ticket, says that the ticket printing industry has a "significant need for short run, full color printing and variable data." Kirk quickly made the decision to utilize UV curable inks because they "provide good adhesion to a wider range of substrates, have controlled dry time, and have a lower risk of clogged jets." He added, "They also generate a beautiful print quality that is superior to water based inkjet inks or traditional flexographic printing."

 

Kirk didn't always utilize Collins' UV curable inks. He tested inks from Collins and Collins' competitors. When we asked him about the results of his comparative testing of Collins vs. The Competitor, this is what he had to say:

 

"The inks (Collins) that we are now using are better than your original inks and better than the competitor's UV ink jet inks. The improvements you made to the color shades of the Cyan and Magenta are really helpful. For one thing, the printed pieces have a more true color - skin tones, etc. look more life-like. Another advantage of your ink color shades is that an Illustrator file prints basically the same if we run the job flexo or inkjet. This is a big deal for us. It lets us choose where to run a job without having to fool with the art files or re-send the customer a new proof. It also lets us see how a process job will look on a flexo by running a quick proof print. I have a sample of a King Tut ticket we ran flexo and the same ticket ran with your inks, and you can hardly tell the difference. Both were run from the exact same art file. The same art file ran with the competitor's inks looks quite different."

 

Aside from the image quality and proofing versatility that Kirk experienced with Collins' inks, he explained how the chemistries actually increased his productivity.  He explained, "Your inks have a lower dyne level than the competitor's inks, which offers better print on a wider variety of stocks. Your ink runs at a lower temperature. I believe your inks like to run at about 46 degrees and the competitor's ink likes to run over 50 degrees. This means a faster warm up each morning. Warming the inks can take an hour, so every bit helps here."

 

Premier Southern Ticket runs a customized variation of Collins' C-Jet CMYK inks in a single pass piezoelectric print head that has been mounted to their existing flexo press.  

What's New?
Low Migration
 
Collins has several years of experience formulating low migration inks for specific inkjet applications.  We have a few different low migration ink products based off of some of our patented ink technologies. These inks have been through the low migration test processes and are being used in production applications today. 
 

The low migration approval process is something that tends to take some time. It requires open collaboration between all parties involved in the printing process.  Most of the time, low migration inks require the user of the printer and inks (the producer of the end product) to be the party who acquires the migration data and approval.  Migration tests can be very expensive and time consuming.  For that reason, these applications tend to be with bigger corporations who have the ability to invest in this ground breaking technology.  In the end, we believe low migration inks will play a big part in the future of inkjet printing.  However, the process of understanding these inks will take some time and the market will need to build a foundation of installations before it is taken seriously.

 
 

The newest addition into a relatively young UV single-pass inkjet ink market is the LED curing lamp. LED was introduced as a low energy, low heat, and environmentally friendly alternative to arc lamps. Since the introduction of LED technology, Collins has gained a greater understanding of its advantages and limitations for industrial printing. Here is a brief overview from Collins' perspective:  

 

Capital Investment-  Acquisition costs for LED curing systems is dependant upon the curing and printing conditions. Typically, the initial investment for an LED system is higher than that of a UV system, but most recently, the prices have come down drastically. A lot of new start up companies have entered the market, offering LED curing lamps at a more affordable price. Regardless of the purchase price, LED systems offer many long term savings that arc lamps do not. For example, when compared to arc lamps, LED's require less energy, have an instant on/off, longer bulb life, and are easier bulbs to replace and dispose. 

 

Performance- LED curable technology has rapidly carved its own niche into industrial printing and that niche is quickly expanding. The limitations that we see today may not be around tomorrow. For example, a Collins customer has been innovative with their LED lamp configuration and it has enabled them to print at 300 feet per minute. LED curable inks at 300 fpm!  

 

Inks- From an formulation perspective, there are limited photo initiators available for LED inks. However, as the technology grows, additional raw materials will become available. Along those same lines, LED inks are typically required to be formulated to the specified wavelength in order to achieve optimum curing, which means having individual inks for each application. This also sometimes means utilizing more expensive raw materials.

 

Substrates- Since LED lamps create little to no heat, it's possible to print onto more heat sensitive substrates like thin PP and PE films, heat sensitive papers and labels.

 

Collins is excited about the future of LED curable technology and what it will be capable of in the next few years.

If you have any questions regarding this newsletter, or anything else, please contact us today. Print samples and tech data sheets are available upon request.

Sincerely,
 
Kristin Adams
(513) 948 9000
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