Grafica News - October 2006

Single Phase Table Top UV Curing Machine A MUST for every screen printer in India ... for every reason

Here is a good news for small, medium and big screen (and offset) printers in India.

Grafica Flextronica, specialized in the manufacture of a wide range of state of the art screen printing machines/UV curing machines and allied products, has introduced a NEW single phase table top UV curing machine. This compact machine, is specially designed to solve the numerous problems faced by Indian small and medium screen printers. This machine is a MUST for every screen printer, for every reason. Why? Read on ...

R-E-J-E-C-T-I-O-N:Rejection occurs due to DUST collection on the jobs kept in the dusty and untidy environment which is common with most printers. Rejection especially occurs when a job is done on gloss or light colour or plastic substrates. The substrates which are placed on racks for drying get attracted by dust on the wet inks due to its static condition. In solvent ink system, printing and drying procedures are carried out separately. But in the case of UV ink this problem is avoided because the substrates, after printing, pass through the UV curing machine and get CURED instantly. And hence there is no question of placing it for drying on the racks and the jobs collecting dusts. This way with UV system we can maintain high quality

W-A-S-T-A-G-E: The greatest advantage of the UV Curing machine is that it reduces wastage of substrates. When we use UV ink in a four colour job especially on substrates like plastic, suppose after printing the first 3 colours, if we notice a mistake while printing the 4th colour, we have to just wipe only the 4th colour for reprinting and not the first three colours. Also the cleaning solvent will not affect the other colours while wiping out the 4th colour. Where as in a solvent ink system this is not the case. Here we have to clean all the previously printed inks too with the help of some solvent or we have to discard the substrates and start printing afresh.

100% solidity of UV ink and the micron factor: Also, there is a misconception among the screen printers that UV ink should be printed with standard fabric thickness (which is also used in the case of solvent ink) of say 120 t/cm, 140 t/cm (threads per cm). But UV essentially does not contain solvent that must evaporate during the curing phase. The cure takes place through the interaction of the ink ingredients and a strong UV (ultra violet) light source in a dryer or a reactor. With UV we can print by using very finest fabric like 180 t/cm with thread diameter of 27 microns. Because of UV we can print very thin ink deposition by using just a single coat of emulsion with thickness of say 3-4 microns.. In solvent ink, the solvent content is 65% - 70 % where as UV is 100% solid. Therefore in solvent ink we have to use so much more ink required to print 10 microns to achieve the final thickness of 3-4 microns. This means, 70% of the solvent is evaporated and only 30 % of solid is remained. Where as in UV ink we have to just print the desired thickness deposition of say 3-4 microns directly. This is the greatest benefit of UV ink.

High Speed and high production: UV's high cure nature translates into very high operating speeds. UV inks can be run on high- speed production equipment like the one introduced by Grafica's without having to allow for excessively large dryers, as would be necessary for high-speed solvent systems.

Low labour cost: In solvent ink system the substrate is printed and then put through the dryer (or racked for air-drying), and then returned to the press for the next color (and many odd jobs of lifting and shifting), leading to extra manpower. In the case of UV machine since the end product gets cured inside the chamber and automatically falls in the collection tray no extra man power is needed.

Print multi colour at one go: Usually screen printing is done one colour at a time using solvent ink system, one has to wait for the ink to dry before printing the second colour and so on. But in case of UV one can use multiple printing and UV machine and can print four colour one after each other simultaneously, hence speed up deliveries.

For process colour printers, easy to print even on small substrates: UV inks' the high level of transparency produces a very clean color image. This quality makes UV ink an exceptionally good choice for four-color process printing. This clarity of color and the fact that the ink does not dry in the screen is a PLUS point to go for UV curing machine. Sooner or later this UV curing machine would become rather an essential equipment even for all printers besides it being most economical, user friendly and compact machine. Offset printers can print even on small substrates of sizes such as 12 x 18, 12 x15 of A3 size. A3 size substrate can easily be printed and cured especially for application in spot varnish, special varnishing, etc to enhance the print quality of presentable products such as greeting cards, invitation cards, certificates which can be supplied in short quantity in short time. Usually offset printers refuse such jobs from their regular customers or they accept it and get it done from small printers. But by owning a UV curing machine, offset printers can now accept such jobs willingly to undertake it on their own and satisfy their valued customers.

And now one ink for multiple purpose: Earlier there was a hassle of different UV inks being supplied for multiple substrates. But now manufacturers have come out with one solution, that is, one common ink which will adhere (which gives adhesion) to 13-14 different substrates for variety of jobs, except for few substrates like polysterine and polypropylene which require special attention on inks. For almost all papers only one ink is applicable. And for other substrates such as ABS plastic, PVC, paper boards, sun boards too almost one common ink is applicable and hence it is easy for printers to stock materials.

UV ink is highly thixotropic: When the UV ink used through the screen it falls on the substrates immediately it gets jelly. This way there is no lose of half-tone details especially when we print dark images which have more shadow details. This is because of the thixotropic property of UV ink.

A machine for colour consistency: Solvent is a major problem today. When one has to print especially with half tone and fine lines there is always loss in fine details When we print half tones there is always problem of highlights and shadows. When we print fine lines, after some prints there is loss of sharpness in lines. It is because the solvent is getting choked in the screen. UV ink does not dry in the screen because of its thixotropic nature. There is no loss of details. 100% consistency in colour reproduction is possible in UV curing machine. For e.g if the print run is in thousands, all the copies will have same colour reproduction.

Further, in solvent ink, one has to wipe out the screen while breaking for tea/lunch as otherwise the ink gets chocked up in the screen. In the case of UV ink one need not clean the screen till the production is over. One has to just restrict outside light and have only UV free light which is not expensive and easily available in the market or one can use yellow light to ensure that ink does not dry in the screen because of ambient lights.

Wastage of solvent ink: In solvent ink system, we have to waste plenty of ink just to interrupt production during the day for various intervals or close for next day because every time we stop the job we need to clean the screen as otherwise the solvent ink gets chocked as mentioned earlier. In the case of UV there is no need to clean screen even for 3 days. Operators need not clean when they stop their day's work and go home by just covering the machine and come back next day and straight they can start the job.

Savings in cost of screen making In solvent ink, when we repeatedly clean the screen to remove the chocked up ink, it may get spoiled and then we end up preparing more and more screens and hence we end up incurring extra cost. The chances of being able to print a long run of solvent ink without having to clean the screen are very low. In the case of UV ink there is no question of ink getting chocked and hence there is no need to clean the screen and hence there is no need for making extra screens. Since UV ink does not dry in the screen, it is very easy to work with. Printers do not have to worry about the ink choked in the screen and stop printing. The printer can work for extended periods without ever having to touch the screen. The result is excellent production throughput. It is quite common, with a good quality screen, to be able to run an entire print run without having to clean the screen.

Extension of squeegee's life: Life and sharpness of squeegee is extended when we use UV ink since it does not have aggressive solvent content. And even there is no need to apply more pressure to get the ink deposited.

Print on very thick substrates: UV curing machine is designed to print on very thick substrates. For printers who are dealing in industrial printing, plastic component printing this machine is useful because this is space saving and user friendly.

Super Power saver: This being a SINGLE PHASE machine consumes less power. For e.g, the power cost in Mumbai approximately @Rs. 5 per unit. So to run 12“ inch width UV curing machine it will consume power of 4 kilo watt per hour and that is, the cost power consumption is : Rs. 5 x 4 kw of power = Rs. 20 per hr that is multiplied by 8 hour (per day). So the cost of power consumption is Rs 160 which is equal to approximately cost 1.5 labourers per day. When we compare UV machine with labour cost it is one and same because of power savings and also because this machine does not require extra manpower to lift and shift substrates to place on drying racks etc as is the case in solvent ink system.

Rugged machine: This machine is not a laboratory or a showcase model. It is ruggedly tested and designed to run on “24 hours/ 7 days a week” formula and will not face any wear and tear problem.

Minimum Maintenance: This machine required hardly any maintenance and we need not have a qualified staff to maintain the machine if at all required.

Cost Effectiveness: Considering all the above factors Grafica's UV curing machine is most economical without compromising on quality. It requires a low investment, with high volume and big return. It is because UV ink is cost effective. Solvent Ink is cheaper than UV ink only in terms of cost but not output wise. UV ink is not only cost effective but very much practical in terms of obtaining high volume of production with good speed. In order to find out the cost effectiveness of solvent ink in comparison with UV ink, we need to multiply solvent ink cost by 3 times. This will reflect that the cost of both the inks remains the same. But at the same time UV ink has greater advantage since the comparison of both inks is not in terms of weight and cost their volume of output and also the wastage factor that matter.. Therefore the perception of thinking of the screen printers should be in this direction, not in terms of cost of one kg of solvent ink vs one kg of UV ink, Then only the usefulness of UV curing machine is understood practically also one has to consider profits on annual basis rather than thinking in short terms.

Health hazard solvent ink vs Export friendly UV ink: Solvent ink is hazardous because of its strong odor and its vapors can create health concerns since it produces a large volume of VOCs (volatile organic compounds). Health hazard is a matter of concern in the case of solvent ink especially when it comes to pollution control. But UV ink has very less VOC which is great appealing aspect of UV curable ink. There is water based UV ink in supply now which is solvent free and hence less hazardous compared to solvent ink. UV is safe for operators. And solvent would soon become outdated ink.

UV curing machine for export jobs: In order to undertake export jobs use of UV ink is necessary since solvent ink based jobs are not acceptable abroad especially in Europe and US who want eco and environment friendly products to float in their countries. Therefore this UV curing machine is useful for printers who want execute export jobs.

Quartz glass filter: The machine can be customized with quartz glass filter to cure very heat sensitive substrates especially the one which does not allow temperature more than 50-600C and melts at this temperature. But this machine is designed to put on glass to maintain / reduce substrate temperature at the Indian air 40- 450C. Printers who use thin substrates like plastic, vinyl or thin PVC can print those jobs with UV ink with this UV curing machine with low temperature. This additional feature is OPTIONAL and offered at EXTRA cost.

And finally UV curing machine is a dealers friend in need: This 4” UV curing machine is so compact that the dealers of UV ink can carry this with them even in a small car to practically demonstrate their products to their customers. Suppose their customers have problems in curing ink with UV machine in their production units due to the lamp's malfunctioning or the lamp has no proper technical requirement leading to problem of adhesion. Now the dealer can show to his customers with this machine to prove that there is no problem with his UV ink but the problem is with the lamp which is older and does not reflect that much of power. But currently ink suppliers are handicap that even if the problem is something else, the INK is blamed for it. But, dealers by owning this small machine, they can now give proper guidance to the customers and send proper report to their principals overseas.

Grafica machines are known for its high quality, most reliability, most competitive price. Customers can expect delivery of a fully assembled machine in a few weeks' time. Grafica technology is in the market for over 15 years and these machines are still in operation with minimum service requirement. Customers can really feel the confident of reliability with 100% surety when they buy Grafica equipment.

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