UK manufacturer opens up UV printing to all with Ipex launch

By Darryl Danielli, Tuesday 28 January 2014

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Benford UV will use its Ipex debut in March for the European launch of its EcoUV retrofittable low-energy, low-cost curing system, which it claimed opens up UV to commercial litho printers of all sizes.

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Eco UV: significantly cheaper than a standard UV system

The EcoUV system only requires 25% of the power required by a standard UV system, according to Benford. However, rather than LEDs it uses a conventional-style single lamp that emits UV light at a frequency that replicates LEDs without the associated costs or compromising the speed of the press.

“While you can switch LEDs on and off, whereas a convention lamp has to warm up and cool down, the problem is that LEDs are just not powerful enough, especially as the lamps have to be so far away to avoid the grippers,” said Benford UV managing director Marc Boden.

“Some LED systems have been demonstrated, but they require inks that are so reactive that they harden just sitting on the shelf. We use a system similar to the Komori system that uses the same LED compatible inks that require much less UV light.”

According to Boden, the special frequency UV lamps in the EcoUV unit are also a fraction of the cost of LED lamps to replace: “To replace an LED lamp head array it could cost you £20,000, to replace a EcoUV lamp, which is essentially the same technology as conventional UV, costs around £150.”

The EcoUV system is an evolution of Benford’s DualUV curing system which was launched two years and was designed for presses that run both conventional UV and also highly reactive LED UV inks and need the ability to switch between both easily.

The development of the new system partly stemmed from users in Canada that operate its DualUV curing system, which can switch between conventional and low-energy lamps by simply switching lamp cartridges, which takes around two minutes.

According to the company, while the EcoUV system doesn’t offer the same flexibility as the Dual system it’s almost half of the cost and makes converting smaller offset presses to UV drying viable.

“What we’re doing in effect is releasing the Eco part of our DualUV system because we have confidence in the ink technology as we have customers that are using it. So we will release it the UV as a standalone one-lamp system and, as a result, it will be significantly cheaper than a standard UV system,” said Boden.

“So it opens up UV to printers that are, say, running a four-colour press that relies on IR drying and spray powder. Well, now you take that off and put on an EcoUV system that will use no more electricity and deliver sheets that come out instantly dry.”

Benford UV is a UK firm based in Holmer Green, Buckinghamshire, where it designs and manufactures bespoke drying systems, around 95% of which are exported. It has around 200 systems installed worldwide.

Around 80% of the units are retrofitted to turn conventional presses into UV presses, with the remainder made up of replacement systems to upgrade an existing UV press or are specified on new presses where customers are looking for an alternative to the press manufacture-offered systems.

The firm will be exhibiting on stand N5 C460 at Ipex, which runs from 24 to 29 March at London’s Excel, and also in the event’s dedicated Eco Zone.

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