Printers wishing they had a brand-new sheetfed press equipped with today’s most advanced technologies are finding it easier than ever to retrofit existing equipment so that it boasts the same capabilities a new press would; this is especially true when it comes to LED-UV curing technology, according to Steve Metcalf of AMS Spectral UV, a company that manufactures next-generation UV and LED-UV curing equipment for sheetfed offset printing and other applications.
According to AMS, more and more sheetfed printers are deciding to invest in LED curing technology in a retrofit capacity, because it offers a host of benefits that are unattainable with the older technologies, making it possible to achieve “new press” results. To a large extent, LED technology already has surpassed the capabilities of IR and conventional UV setups in many ways.
When comparing LED to conventional UV curing, one of the greatest benefits is the life of the light source: while mercury-arc bulbs need to be replaced every 2,000 hours, LED-based systems can operate more than 20,000 hours before degrading to the point they need replacement. Over time, this saves copious hours that would otherwise be spent on maintenance, and returns them to production time.
Additionally, LED curing modules do not release ozone as a byproduct, and do not contain mercury—two driving environmental factors that make printers seeking to become more environmentally friendly with their operations more interested in LED technology than ever before.