High quality printed labels and packaging showcase their products in the most dynamic way possible. Low-quality printing, in comparison, projects products in entirely the wrong way, suggesting them to be substandard or of poor value, so it’s vital for manufacturers to choose a print method that accurately reflects the business’s Unique Selling Points (USPs), and for printing businesses to provide them with a service of the required quality and reliability.
UV curing is a proven solution that delivers consistently perfect printed materials with every print run. So, what is the UV curing process and what are the advantages for printing businesses serving the textiles and label markets?
What is UV curing printing?
UV curing is a technique used in flexo printing to instantly dry printed labels and packaging, without loss of quality, definition, or vibrancy.
UV curing is a photochemical process in which intense ultraviolet light is used to quickly cure inks, adhesives, or coatings, and offers important benefits compared to conventional drying methods. First introduced approximately 60 years ago, UV curing has been adopted by many sectors and is often chosen over solvent-based drying techniques due to its capacity for better quality, better consistency and greater productivity.
How is LED UV curing different from conventional drying methods?
Traditional water and solvent-based inks rely on heat to dry, which evaporates the carrier (water, solvent, or alcohol) – a process that takes time to complete. In LED UV curing, the UV light comes from a narrow wavelength between 200nm (nanometers) and 400nm, at which range UV is ideal for adhesive curing, water purification, and lithography – hence its value in the LED-UV curing process for the instant hardening of inks and coatings.
What are the advantages of UV curing?
UV curing offers several tangible benefits which are particularly advantageous for businesses creating labels and packaging for luxury products, including:
1) Lower ink consumption: Because the UV curing process is virtually instantaneous, less ink is used than in solvent or water-based processes. Rapid drying reduces absorption and dispersion into the web stock.
2) Superior quality: With a UV curing machine, the printed media will feature superior high-definition images and a more consistent finish. Instant drying ensures the ink doesn’t become absorbed into the substrate, resulting in more vibrant and vivid colours – perfect for high-quality printed labels.
3) Better ink stability: Compared to water or solvent-based ink, UV inks are more stable so can remain in the printing press during downtime, such as overnight. No additives are required to maintain ink stability.
Contact Focus Label for more information
At Focus Label, our Centraflex, Proflex & eFlex equipment features UV drying systems for fast and impressive results. To find out more, please request our free brochure to see how your business could benefit.