Toward a Painless Cure
UV equipment developments are surfacing almost as quickly as new applications for the technology.
by Kate Tomlinson, Assistant Editor
THE SHRINK SLEEVE is just one of the latest packaging structures forcing suppliers to keep in step with the technology needed to process thin film substrates such as PET-G (the most common for shrink sleeves).
So what are bulb and UV curing equipment manufacturers doing to meet these rising demands? Bulb suppliers such as Primarc UV Technology are working to improve standard bulb life. Curing systems manufacturer Honle UV America has released its Advanced Cold Mirror (ACM) UV curing system, which reduces damaging heat by up to 70 percent. Prime UV Systems has recently installed UV dryers for shrink film lines running 1 mil film.
James McCusker, president of Honle, says curing UV inks and coatings on shrink film requires UV suppliers to be sensitive to the heat generated by conventional UV systems. "The ACM UV system maintains a high UV peak intensity to the web, allowing successful curing while running the press at full speed. It also eliminates conventional UV equipment using a chilled drum, which can be a costly solution," he says.
J.E. Doyle Co., known for its line of quality control systems, recently announced it has teamed with German supplier PrintConcept GmbH to distribute Print Concept's line of air- and water-cooled UV curing systems. J.E. Doyle President Joseph Lynch says these systems boast a compact lamphead design, a cassette system that provides uninterrupted production, and high-volume water cooling to reduce IR.
Don't shrink from sleeves
Hanovia's Jeff Andrews, director of sales and marketing, says while the company has not specifically designed systems for shrink sleeve applications, they have provided UV technology for similar supported and unsupported film stock requirements. "Typically dichroics, coated quartz filters, and cold mirrors are used on delicate film applications," he says, "all of which are designed to minimize the IR signature on very thin substrates."