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Quantum leaps in quality and environmental friendliness: UV print

Monday, 05 February 2007
By Print21

A smooth surface, brilliant sheen and the best materials: with UV print technology, print shops are rising above the competition. UV products are superior to conventional print products in surface texture, protection, and resistance to abrasion.

But that is not the only reason why this technology has proved a tremendous asset for print businesses over the past few years. In addition to these advantages, with UV printing, printers are also finally able to generate products that can be immediately finished.

In recent years, UV print sales have increased nearly three times as quickly as sales for conventional offset products. UV inks and coatings meet clients’ growing demands for innovative designs on product packaging, for example with synthetic laminations. The demand for synthetic materials for use in labels is also growing, such as in so-called in-mold labels. These labels are directly inserted into the synthetic blow-molds and are thus 100 percent recyclable. Yet even for traditional job printing UV processes are becoming more popular.

“Until now UV print has been considered a complex process with high health and safety risks. Yet in conjunction with the German Print and Paper Processing Association Heidelberg has developed a UV package, which ensures a high level of safety for humans and machinery,” said Dr. Klaus Spiegel, Management Board Member for Products and Marketing. “Heidelberg already delivers between 10 and 15 percent of its Speedmaster CD 74 printing presses and five percent of its Speedmaster CD 102s in a UV version. The printing of so-called lenticular materials is on the rise. These materials make it possible to incorporate 3-D as well as “jitter” effects. Dull finishing effects, which can be produced with both hybrid colors as well as using classic UV print, have also found a large market.

UV colors and special varnishes are known for their high gloss and eye-catching surface. The printed sheets arrive already dry in the delivery and thus the application of powder is not necessary. The rapid hardening of the ink in turn simplifies the printing of non-absorbent materials. “This makes the processing of special materials like plastic foils or metallized paper possible,” explains Spiegel.

“The problem is that until now UV print has been considered a complex process with high health and safety risks. Yet in conjunction with the German Print and Paper Processing Association Heidelberg has developed a UV package, which ensures a high level of safety for humans and machinery,” explains Dr. Spiegel. “Environmentally friendly production is now more important than ever, especially since it cuts down on our environmental tax burden. In this sense it is even a cost-cutting measure, and we’re saving money with a clean conscience.” In addition inks, coatings and printing presses are being further developed so that today’s UV technology can be made just as safe as conventional offset printing.

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