The UV coating and hologram transfer machine from the Vasai-based Unique UV & Light, features UV technology as the medium to transfer holograms on to the substrate. The machine comes as a variant for sheetfed offset and for wide-web with an option for spot-hologram transfer as well.
Unique UV launched this semi automatic UV coating and hologram transfer system for sheetfed systems in 2012. The version for the web press was launched in February 2014.
Sunil Daddikar, the technical director of the company, says he first saw the technology abroad at a show and thought of Indianising it. “By doing so it will not only lower the cost and foreign exchange of the machine for the customer but also help them in lowering the capital investment and a dedicated after-sales service.”
So far, the UV hologram transfer machine for sheetfed presses has been installed at two production units in Mumbai and Ahmedabad.
Unique UV has a good grip in UV coating machine manufacturing since 1997 and is engaged in designing and manufacturing of conveyorised UV. This includes: curing machine and controls for UV curing lamps. It has notched up more than 900 installations of its conveyorised machines in India and 75 plus in exports. The exports include installations in SAARC countries, Middle East and Africa.
Recently, the company has tied up with Elmag, an Italian company for technical collaboration for retrofitting interdeck UV curing system in old offset printing machines. Elmag provides the company with UV curing casettes instead of the earlier used lamps, for their UV coating machines.
The soft embossing hologram machine works on the principle of 'Cast and Cure' technology. This means, the machine transfers holograms through soft-embossing on the pre-printed film that acts as a master and thereby converting the films to plastic pouches.
It is a combination of UV coater and hologram transfer. It acts as an on-press addition on to a sheetfed or gravure flexo press. "The UV coater and hologram transfer parts are designed to retro fit on a gravure and flexo press and not on web-offset presses," says Daddikar.
The web width is designed for 1m and 1.3m roll diameters. The speed achieved on a web press ranges from 60-120 m/min. For sheetfed presses, the machine has two variants depending on the sheet sizes, a 20x30 inch and 30x40 inch model. The machine can deliver speeds of 4000-5000 sheets/hour.
The basic holographic film which is used to transfer the holographic image onto the UV coating can be used 10-20 times. "This can be made re-usable depending on the working conditions of the press," says Daddikar. “The machine is easy to use. It runs at a speed of 160m/min and the gloss achieved is very high,” he says talking about the properties that the machine provides.
He adds, “The gloss is similar to that of the plastic film which practically averts the need for any type of lamination.”
The bottomline of this machine is the high productivity generated by the machine with tremendous savings, claims Daddikar. The machine can be run by a single user. “The machine is PLC controlled. Once the operator puts the roll in the machine, he can remove the roll and put the second one,” he explains.
“For pharma or consumer packaging, they require protection for their off-shelf products, so they put a small hologram. But at most times, this is not legible. If they want to go for a bigger one then it is expensive. So in case of UV hologram transfer, there is no media involved and the transfer happens through UV varnish so the cost is negligible and the hologram remains intact on the surface."
“The target customers for this machine are FMCG, Pharma, flexible packaging sectors. The pan masala sector is our focus since they are using paper pouches as an alternative to flexible packaging pouches. “These manufacturers of pan masala pouches can achieve an equivalent gloss ranging to that of flexible laminates on their paper pouches using the UV coater," explains Daddikar.
Coatings and inks
Special UV curable coatings are needed to achieve the holographic pattern on the substrate. “The entire hologram transfer process on the substrate is dependant on the quality of the coatings used,” says Daddikar. “There is a particular grade of UV coating chemical to be used and we educate the customers and give them the specifications of the chemicals to be used.” We also guide them on the vendors that provide such coatings,” he adds. The coatings are available with ink manufacturers like DIC, Micro etc.
“We don’t force customers to use any particular brand of coatings, we leave it upto them and as of now we haven’t faced any problems with any coatings/inks on our machines,” he claims.