Current state of adoption and mind set on UV LED in the European market in Inkjet

Inkjet printing systems have become popular in the past decades because of the constant development of new printing methods as well as techniques that adapt to different materials.

UV inks can be inkjet printed onto a wide variety of porous and non-porous substrates, even metal or glass, using standard large format flatbed or hybrid printers and are cured almost instantly by a photo-chemical process in which high-intensity ultraviolet light is used to cure or dry inks (UV curing).

UV inks are exposed to ultra-violet lights as they are printed, immediately turning from a liquid to a solid state without evaporation of solvents and almost no absorption of the ink into the paper stock.

The development of UV LED curing technology for UV inks has revolutionized the field of digital printing, opening new opportunities for printing different materials and substrates. UV LED curing avoids the extreme heat of curing with mercury lamps. Plus UV LED lamps last longer (and do not have all the mercury of the super-hot style curing systems).

PROs and CONs



Limited range of printing substrates

UV lamps generate high temperatures to cure UV ink; causing substrate curling, distortion, yellowing of the surface or heat damage to fragile kinds of media material.

Wide range of printing substrates

With the UV-LED technology, the temperature implied on the substrate surface is significantly decreased, avoiding overheating the substrate, making printing possible onto many materials that would be vulnerable to hot temperatures

Lower ink cost

Higher ink cost because of special photo-initiator and formulation


Optimal adhesion without the need for pre-coating

Optimal adhesion without the need for pre-coating

Wide range of ink's, varnish's and coating's

Limited ink's, varnish and coating's

Used for indoor and outdoor applications for store and point of sale branding, posters, interior design, etc.

Used for indoor and outdoor applications for store and point of sale branding, posters, interior design, etc.

UV mercury arc lamp operating life is 1,000 – 1,500 hours

UV-LED lamp last up to 10,000-20,000 hours.

High energy consumption

The UV mercury arc lamps consumes approximately 1.2 KW / lamp of electricity

Low energy consumption

The UV-LED lamp consumes approximately 60 W of electricity

All these advantages of LED-curing are the reason why companies around the world are gradually switching to LED-curing. More and more machine manufacturers are implementing the UV LED curing units in their newest machine version. For example according to Efi VUTEk over 80% (or more) of their models use LED-curing. Agfa currently installs 7 on 10 units with UV LED curing units vs 2 on 10 units in last year.

Source: FLAAR Reports