Made in India: Ultracure UV LED

UV LED is the future. Ultracure UV LED promises to save power, cuts down on shopfloor space and the environment, while doing its job in silence, without much maintenance. Dibyajyoti Sarma finds out how

14 Mar 2018 | By Dibyajyoti Sarma

Ultracure UV LED is a UV coating and curing system manufactured by Noida-based UV Graphic Technologies. The system is available in air-cooled, water-cooled, and inert gas-based system. Options include dichroic reflectors, the cold mirror, electronic stepless power supplies, hot mirror, water-cooled UV systems, driven or idle chill rolls, ozone filters and infrared dryers for a wide variety of curing and drying applications for flexo, offset, letterpress, gravure, silk screen printing and coating machines.
According to Abhay Datta, director, UV Graphic Technologies, UV LED is a semiconductor-based technology which requires no maintenance, is power efficient and eco-friendly. He said Ultracure UV LED replaces conventional UV lamp which consumes high energy, produces ozone and uses mercury which is hazardous to humans and the environment. Datta added that UV LED uses a fraction of the power of conventional mercury vapour lamps with a lifespan exceeding 30,000 hours.
The components of the machine include water-cooled LED housing, LED COB, active condition sensors, thermal and water flow sensors and solid state power supplies. The systems have been tested at speeds of 17,000 sheets per hour or 150m/min and can handle all filmic, synthetic and plastic-based substrates, including conventional ones.
The technology utilises inks and chemicals specifically designed for LED curing and is developed by leading ink manufacturers like Toyo, Siegwerk, DIC, Toka, Flint, etc.
At UV Graphic, all UV Systems are manufactured using the state-of-the-art EPS, an intelligent electronic power supply. This power supply is a 100% solid state device manufactured to aviation tolerances in Europe. The power supply boasts of features, such as lower power consumption compared to transformers: no influence of voltage or frequency fluctuation; low power factor; longer lamp life; standby power of only 10%; adaptability to any future technology such as LED, and so on.
UV Graphics is also launching its full servo multicolour narrow-web flexo press this month with hybrid UV Curing. “This means the printer will have the option to use conventional or LED-UV with plug-n-play convenience. The customer will have the option to instantly switch over from LED to conventional UV without any modification. The intelligent control will recognise which module is installed and will cater to the system in use,” Datta said. 
The product was launched during Labelexpo 2010. “We launched at that time when there was no availability of inks and coatings in India,” Datta said, adding, the technology is aimed at all kinds of printing equipment, namely flexo, letterpress, offset, gravure and screen printing.
There is awareness about the technology in the market, but the high cost of investment has played a deterrent in its acceptance. Datta agrees, but argues, “Although the initial cost is high, this technology pays back within months of installation, through power saving and no maintenance costs associated with it.”
Established in 1990, UV Graphic Technologies began its journey by producing UV curing systems and UV coating machines. According to Datta, the primary objective of the company is to deliver reliable equipment, quality service and latest technology to valued customers in the packaging and label segment. The company is also an accredited OEM supplier to some of the big names in UV curing abroad and some OEM printing machine manufacturers. The company also specialises in used and reconditioned machinery for the sheetfed and label printing industry with a huge inventory of used machinery.
The technology
The company manufactures state-of-the-art water-cooled UV Systems primarily used in offset printing machines. These systems are internally water cooled to keep the press temperature to the bare minimum. This is essential for good UV ink printing, allowing a minimum water emulsion also known as ink-water balance. All UV cassettes are manufactured in-house using sophisticated alloys and components. The water-cooled cassettes are compact and equipped with quick connectors for air, water and electrical connections.
As an option, all blowers are integrated in a single cabinet. This concept eliminates blower noise and clumsy looks. It is maintenance free and occupies a very small floor space resulting in a clean room environment. A single duct over the cabinet can be used to evacuate the air out of the press room. All the blowers are dynamically balanced and are inverter driven to optimise lamp cooling.
The UV Systems run on intelligent temperature management. Each lamp head is independently monitored and cooled with microprocessor-based closed loop cooling with inverter technology. This optimises lamp life and minimises evacuation of precious air-conditioned pressroom climate and reduces heat while working with temperature-sensitive substrates.
A large user-friendly 128 colour touchscreen control interface keeps the operator fully informed of all the functions, lamp power and cooling system. The unique human interface stores data for up to 25 lamp changes and lifetime use giving the user complete information and statistics of the lamps.
The heart of all Ultracure EPS UV Systems is the solid-state electronic power supply and an onboard CPU and PLC developed exclusively for UV Graphic by its European partners.
This intelligent system utilises all the three phases of power resulting in a balanced load. The power increment is step-less with relation to press speed or user-defined manually. In standby mode, the EPS runs on only 10% power adding to significant savings and increased lamp life. The machine application and synchronisation are controlled by a solid state PLC.
The design of the lamp-head is an easy pull out the cassette-based system and can be removed or exchanged from the press for cleaning and maintenance purposes within seconds. Lamp and reflector change can be accomplished in a matter of minutes without formal experience or special tools.
The market
To date, UV Graphics has installed 19 LED UV systems in India. Its customers include Azzue Press in Bhadurgarh, Colorplast in Noida, Rational Business Systems in Sonipat, Ask Advertising in Okhla, and Ravindra Arts in Nagpur.
“For such a system, customers usually look for low investment cost, power saving, zero impact on the printing machine, no maintenance, quick return on investment, and a reliable supplier,” Datta said.
The company seems to fit the bill, as it specialises in installing UV systems without making any alterations to the existing machine. No holes or modifications are made to the frames of the machine and all wiring is optically isolated to avoid any interference with the electrical system of the press. “We also provide full training and knowledge for implementation of the UV process. Should the equipment ever require service, our technical team is always available to assist,” Datta said.
Among other things, Datta said, the systems can help printing on filmic substrates including polycarbonate, PVC, in-mould label and metalised polyester.
The systems come with the optional feature of image dependent emission. “This means you could control the emission width of the lamps by switching off the lamps not required. You can also create emission zones and switch on / off the lamps rapidly when not required,” Datta said.
Ultimately, Datta says, Ultracure LED UV is a highly reliable product backed by 25 years of experience in the UV business. “We understand the market demands and the substrates that a customer wants to convert. With six years of experience in the LED business, we have the right training, after-sales support and application knowledge,” he adds.
On the current market of LED-UV curing, Datta said, “LED UV Systems are getting stronger, smaller and more efficient and will quickly replace conventional UV Systems due to huge power savings, compact and quick installations and ease of operation with virtually no maintenance.”
Datta is optimistic about the future, so much so that he hopes to achieve 60 installations this year.

Customer testimonial

Sanjay Nagpal, Azure Press, Bahadurgarh
We had a conventional UV system from UV Graphics installed on our Ryobi 920 which is UV LED-ready. A few months back, we converted the conventional UV to LED. We are happy with the LED System and are convinced that this is the technology of the future. We recently added two more interdeck LED systems on the press, making our machine extremely versatile and easy to operate with substantial power savings. 

From the word go, we were confident that UV Graphic technologies will deliver on their promise of introducing to us this new technology. Today, we print on all possible substrates using these LED systems at 12,000 sheets an hour without blinking an eye. We print a lot of thermally sensitive materials, lenticular and conventional substrates.

We highly recommend UV Graphics for LED installations as it has the trained staff and application engineers to implement this technology.