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UV the "green" drying solution
UV – the "green" drying solution
Keywords: Primarc, UV, Drying
Until now the principal reasons for choosing ultraviolet curing over other methods of drying are thought to have centered on speed and improved end production characteristics. Yet, according to Primarc, perhaps the most important feature of radiation curing is that it is also a "green" technology, the environmental benefits of which include the reduction in solvent emissions known as VOCs (volatile organic compounds) and improved energy efficiency. As impending legislation to reduce solvent emissions and environmental concerns move ever to the fore, so the case for UV becomes even more powerful.
Over 50 per cent of solvent-based ink is exhausted out into the atmosphere. In contrast, UV inks and coatings are said to be solvent free and virtually no VOCs are produced during the drying process. The small quantity of ozone produced during curing is generally removed by an extraction system and vented into the atmosphere where it quickly undergoes a change back to oxygen.
The UV process is also thought to make for a better working environment, an important factor with regard to employee health and safety. As UV inks create practically no solvents, the atmosphere in the print shop is more comfortable and the need for sophisticated extraction systems is reduced.
Another major ecological advantage can reportedly be found on re-cycling. Printed matter consisting of UV cured inks and/or varnishes applied to paper/board is generally considered to be suitable for either recycling or disposal through land-fill or incineration. In addition, most types of UV ink and varnish are said to form an impervious layer that can be readily separated from the substrate. Many mills with facilities for recycling are successfully utilising waste UV printed matter and often use simple floatation techniques to extract the paper pulp from the cured UV materials.
According to Primarc, energy efficiency of the UV process can be illustrated in a number of areas. The energy required to polymerise (cure) a UV coating is much lower than is necessary to volatise water or solvents from conventional coatings. Faster production rates are achievable because of the rapid cure, resulting in less use of energy and cheaper running costs. Lower transportation costs are achieved as the weight of UV mixture is half to one-third that of water or solvent mixture. Space saving is obtained as curing units are smaller than conventional dryers, and less floor space is required as there is no need for drying racks. Finally, the UV curing process delivers more consistent results, leading to fewer rejects and lower waste production.
UK-based Primarc UV Technology is well known in UV curing technology. Established in 1970, Primarc's early pioneering lead to the increased advance of UV curing within a number of printing applications as UV technology developed from a technological innovation into a widely used procedure for coating and printing surfaces.
Primarc manufacture a wide range of medium-pressure mercury arc lamps as well as electrodeless microwave bulbs and metal halide additive lamps for enhanced spectral output. Hand-crafted from the highest quality materials, Primarc UV curing lamps are designed and manufactured as direct replacements or to meet the specific needs of original equipment manufacturers world-wide.
Recognising the wide variety of applications in which their clients utilise UV lamps, Primarc can produce a UV lamp to meet virtually any demand.
Primarc informs us that it devotes 10 per cent of its workforce to research and development and the company's R&D department works constantly with a range of companies to develop new uses for UV curing and improve existing products.
Details available from: Primarc Ltd. Tel: +44 (0)1753-528678; Fax: +44 (0)1753-811678; e-mail: email@example.com