UV Ray LED solution for coating
[Original article from MetaPrintArt translated in to English]
From research and collaboration between UV Ray and Etifix , three birds were killed with one stone for UV LED curing systems: complete drying without yellowing of the coating, environmental sustainability, and energy savings.
Before hearing Alberto Maiano's explanations of this solution developed for Etifix, a company part of the Arca Etichette group in Boffalora Ticino, in the western hinterland of Milan, we talk with Girolamo Abeti CEO of Etifix.
Arca Etichette is a historic company in the industry. What can you tell us about Etifix?
Etifix is part of the Arca Etichette group of Marcallo con Casone and was founded 1987 as a subcontractor company for fixaform.
Fixaform is a multi-layer label used to contain all useful consumer information, but over time also used for promotional or institutional labels. In 1990 a sales network was created to promote self-adhesive labels, and it was at that time that Etifix moved to Boffalora Ticino, becoming an independent company with its own customer base, which over the years has grown mainly in the cosmetics sector. Our core business today is in the cosmetics sector-but we also have customers for labels from the food, wine, and automotive sectors. Pharmaceuticals, on the other hand, has remained as a specialty of the parent company Arca Etichette.
So today you have your own specific field. What is your fleet of machines?
In the 2,500-square-meter hall, 1,600 square meters of which are enclosed, we use every type of printing: letterpress and Gallus flexo, a Prisma screen printer, and also digital with a Screen InkJet. For finishing we use both hot foil and cold foil. And, of course, Prati machines for inspection.
Annual label production reaches two million square meters, or nine and a half million linear meters.
Speaking about sustainability...
And not only that. In 2021 we turned into a charitable company, so a portion of profits are invested in social and sustainability. For staff, we have established with union representatives an annual company bonus based on budget results. Like Arca, we are FSC and Bicorp certified, certifications that identify companies that, in addition to having profit goals, meet the highest standards of social and environmental performance, transparency, and accountability.
And on to curing. For this we hear from Alberto Maiano, owner of UV Ray.
As we know, curing with traditional UV mercury lamps, in addition to high energy consumption, causes ozone emissions into the atmosphere, so in the label industry it is becoming increasingly common to adopt UV LED lamps. However, it must be recognized that for coating, UV LED still tends to yellow them and, generally in screen printing, sometimes leaves them not perfectly dried, compared to drying with traditional lamps.
Do you have a solution?
In this field, research is constantly evolving. For example, the problem often remains precisely in screen printing because of the thickness of inks or varnishes. Now, UV Ray in collaboration with varnish manufacturers has developed a UV LED lamp that can perfectly cure this varnish even in screen printing. A solution that is not only sustainable and affordable, but also practical.
Is this a final solution?
We can say we are well on our way, although materials research still needs to be refined. So a lot depends on the ink and varnish manufacturers. We at UV Ray, however, are at the forefront and have already solved the problems at Etifix for now.
At Etifix they have both LED and traditional UV RAY lamps. The latest installation was done on a Gallus R200 6-color + cold embossing + flexographic varnish. In this case, UV RAY LED technology was chosen not only for sustainability and energy saving, but also for the obtained results. Again, always with the right varnish.
So your UV LEDs are good on all types of machines?
UV Ray's LEDs are fine on letterpresses as they cure perfectly. On the Gallus R200 we have mounted the "Hybrid Model," which saves 75 percent energy at maximum machine speed, with a noticeable reduction in temperature on the printed substrate. As a result, the machine needs a small chiller. This system gives new life to the letterpress machine by improving its quality and reducing energy consumption.