Awards & Engraving

July '16

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36 • A&E JULY 2016 W hen UV-LED desktop direct-to- substrate printers were intro- duced by Mimaki, Roland and Direct Color Systems more than six years ago, they were considered by some in the industry as an exciting new product for a limited niche market. Since then, that perception has changed dramatically. New applications for UV-LED tech- nology are appearing almost every day in the awards, engraving, sign, custom gift and technical industries. The high- end model printers introduced this year are much faster and can handle much larger, thicker and heavier items than ever before. At the same time, prices on smaller entry-level models continue to go down. Smaller capacity full-featured printers from Direct Color Systems, Roland, Mutoh and others are now avail- able in the $14.5K to $20K range. This article summarizes the capabili- ties of the new high-end models from Mimaki, Direct Color Systems and Roland. In addition, Rowmark's GoVivid UV-LED printer systems are covered for the commitment to complete, bundled support. First, some basics. THE ADVANTAGES OF UV-LED INK CURING Prior to the introduction of UV-LED technology, only wide-format UV printers using high-power mercury lamps were available for printing on sheet stock for indoor/outdoor display. These mercury lamp designs continue to be used and sold today. Mercury lamps have certain disad- vantages—they require a great deal of power and generate substantial heat that mandates water cooling and slow power on cycles. In addition, the lamps create some environmental concerns including the dangers of mercury use. The lamps can emit ozone, although this can be reduced by utilizing filters to remove ozone from the production area. The use of a UV-LED curing unit resolves all the limitations of the mercury lamp design and allows the production of a compact, efficient UV printer that fits an office/light production environment. A UV-LED printer uses only 20 percent power of a water-cooled lamp model, offers immediate power on, and has a 10,000 hour LED lamp life. The unique advantages of UV-LED UV-LED Desktop Printing Wine box and sign decorated by a GoVivid printer. By Bill Leek The Growth of

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