UV LED is an emerging technology in the graphic arts. As with any emerging technology, few products can be found in the beginning years. We’ve tracked down both wide format and tabletop UV LED devices currently available and targeted toward print service providers. Many of these vendors first debuted a larger UV LED device and translated the technology to smaller units based on customer demand.
The :Anapurna 2500 LED 2.5-meter printer from Agfa produces prints on both roll and flat media at resolutions of up to 1,440 dpi. Inks are Agfa’s CMYK UV-curable set, in five liter containers with an 18 month shelf life. The company targets posters, photo reproductions, billboards, fleet displays, point of sale and point of purchase, exhibition panels, and stage graphics as ideal applications to run off the printer. The printer is not sold in the U.S.
EFI announced its VUTEk GS3250LX UV LED printer at the company’s annual Connect conference in April 2011. The 3.2-meter hybrid prints at speeds of up to 2,400 square feet per hour on a variety of substrates to offer both productivity and media versatility. Two rolls can run simultaneously, at up to 60 inches wide, and the device produces up to 50 four- by eight-foot boards per hour. Eight-color plus white printing is possible to create resolutions of 600 or 1,000 dpi. EFI customers who already own a VUTEK GS3200 have the option to upgrade in the field to a GS3250LX.
Fujifilm North America Corporation
Fujifilm debuted the Acuity LED 1600 at Graph Expo in September 2011. The wide format inkjet device features a proprietary-design LED light source and optimized fast-curing UV LED ink. Best in class productivity includes a print speed of 215 square feet per hour. A hybrid printer, the device prints on roll media, rigid board, and sheet substrates up to a half-inch thick and 63 inches wide. The printer comes standard with CMYK, light cyan, light magenta, white, and clear.
Digitex Printing Technologies Co., Ltd.
Digitex offers the UF-4547 UV LED flatbed inkjet printer, part of its Gunsjet portfolio. This desktop device, at 17.7x18.5 inches, utilizes a single LED lamp that provides a lifespan of 5,000 hours. The device prints on a variety of substrates including acrylic board, aluminum composite boards, corrugate cardboard, pasteboard, PVC, synthetic paper, and PET. These materials are ideal for applications such as banner, wraps, backlit film, and signboard. An optional white ink feature enables overlay printing on both transparent and colored substrates of brighter and vivid print quality.
Roland DGA Corporation
Roland manufactures both print/cut and hybrid UV LED printers, part of its VersaUV portfolio. The VersaUV LED printer/cutters—available in 30- and 54-inch widths—print, contour cut, crease, score, and emboss graphics ideal for packaging prototypes and labels. The 64-inch LEJ-640 hybrid printer, released in April 2011 at the International Sign Association’s annual trade show, supports both roll and flat media up to a half-inch thick. All of the above are compatible with ECO-UV and ECO-UV S ink from Roland. Original ECO-UV is available in CMYK, white, and clear coat. ECO-UV S is offered in white and CMYK, and can be stretched up to 220 percent for shrink for forming applications.
Roland also offers tabletop UV LED solutions, perfect for those with a small footprint. The new VersaUV LED-12 is a 12-inch benchtop UV flatbed printer. It also utilizes ECO-UV inks to provide instant drying and flexibility with CMYK, white, and clear coat. The printer handles objects up to 3.95 inches thick, allowing for the output of thumb drives, cell phone covers, and laptops.
Mimaki USA, Inc.
Mimaki’s JFX portfolio of UV LED printers includes the JFX-1631plus and JFX-1615plus. Both offer print widths of 63.1 inches. The difference between the two is the depth, at 122 and 59.1 inches, respectively. Two UV inks are offered for these devices. LH-100 Hard UV Ink—available in CMYK, white, and clear coat—is ideal for applications requiring high scratch and chemical resistance. LF-200 Flexible UV ink—available in CMYK and white—offers 200 percent elasticity, making it suitable for embossing and other post-processing tasks.
Mimaki’s UJV-160 is a hybrid device that also works with both LH-100 and LF-200 ink sets. The 63-inch printer outputs on aluminum composite board, acrylic board, corrugated cardboard, pasteboard, and PVC.
The UJF-3042 is a tabletop UV LED printer at 11.8x16.5 inches in dimension. It targets those looking to produce short runs of gifts and novelties such as pens, paper weights, and gift cards.
Accept New Technologies for the Future
The benefits of owning a UV LED device, as discussed in part one of this series, can be summed up in three major groups—sustainability, increased productivity, and media versatility. UV ink offers little to no volatile organic compounds and the LED lamps found on these printers allow for faster curing and instant on/off technology to save energy. This quick curing process increases productivity and allows for a range of thinner media types to run through the device, previously impossible with other technologies.
You can read about one end user’s experience with UV LED in the September issue of Digital Output, which features a spotlight on a company that recently installed an EFI VUTEK GS3250LX printer.
Click here to read part 1 of this exclusive online series, LED Versatility.