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KBA Leads the Industry with Popular Sheetfed LED-UV Technology

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Press release from the issuing company

Fastest-growing drying technology provides significant advancements, benefits, and savings

KBA North America is leading the industry with the fastest-growing drying technology---LED-UV curing, an exciting low-energy drying technology that is one of the hottest topics among commercial and packaging printers from small to large format.  KBA’s research and development team in Germany, along with its ink partners, have successfully integrated this instant cure-to-print technology as a modular, interchangeable LED-UV curing platform into its press line and is able to offer highly knowledgeable assistance to its current and prospective customers to immediately capitalize on LED-UV’s many advantages and benefits. Called VariDry LED-UV  the system’s significant advantages include:

  • Very low energy costs to power LED-UV; a savings up to 50% in power consumption and energy costs versus conventional UV dryers. 
  • No heat on the printed sheet thus eliminating distortion of plastic substrates
  • No spray powders or other chemicals
  • Yields more than 15 times the lifespan of conventional lamps
  • Flexibility to easily move LED-UV lamps interchangeably on press depending on job printing applications
  • Inks can be cured at up to 340% total coverage at standard densities
  • All stock types can be utilized including gloss and matte coated papers, uncoated offset papers, paperboard for packaging, non-porous synthetic papers, foil-laminated sheets, and plastics such as lenticular as well as most plastic packaging, card and label stocks.
  • Environmental and safety benefits; UV, HUV, HR-UV or LE UV all rely on mercury lamps; LED eliminates the risk of mercury or ozone contamination and is 100% compliant with future bans on mercury for human safety 

“We are at the forefront in this rapidly-accelerating transition to LED UV drying as this new technology gains fast acceptance,” says Chris Travis, KBA director of technology. “KBA is the only large-format press manufacturer that can offer LED hybrid presses using both traditional UV and LED-UV processes. We are also the only large-format press manufacture that produces its own dryer; this means the KBA VariDry system is fully intergrated into the press allowing for easy operation no matter if it is infrared, hot air, traditional UV, HR UV or LED-UV. KBA has been supplying traditional UV long perfecting presses for a number of years and, with the introduction to LED-UV, the process is a perfect fit for perfecting configurations. Over the last year ink development has increased and we are now seeing a number of suppliers offering LED UV inks. We continue to test and help to develop new products at our headquarters in Germany to provide valuble feedback and recommendations for our customers.”

At Drupa 2012, KBA demonstrated LED-UV drying on a Rapida 106 41-inch press—the first and only press manufacturer to do so. Today, KBA can offer LED-UV presses on all formats with or without traditional UV capability. KBA also offers traditional UV presses that are LED-UV-ready. This means that when a printer wants to switch to LED or complement a traditional UV press, it can be easily accomplished with a few modifications since all KBA UV presses are LED-UV ready. This provides KBA customers with maximum flexibility and future-proofs their investment. The KBA VariLED™ LED-UV system is fully integrated into the press and can be actuated according to the print format. In the future, when running a short sheet the light-emitting diodes will turn off outside of the sheet.

At the Print UV Conference in early March 2015, KBA had many notable discussions about its technology with interested printers. At the seminar entitled New UV Technology Impact on Sheetfed Press Manufacturers, Dirk Winkler, KBA international director of the print technology department in Radebeul, Germany, discussed how sheetfed press manufacturers, including KBA, put UV technologies such as HR-UV and LED-UV through an arduous process long before these technologies are ever declared ready-for-delivery. Winkler and Travis offered their deep knowledge and experience as they discussed the LED process and what KBA and other press manufacturers do to qualify this new process before going to market.

“We see the immediate future of energy curable presses to be a combination of LED-UV and traditional UV,” remarks Travis. “For example, LED-UV offers a big advantage within the printing units while we will continue to utilize the benefits of traditional UV in the end-of-press dryer to cure coatings. After our many LED UV installations on Rapida106 presses in Europe last year, we will be hosting an open house this summer focusing on LED-UV showing the process on all press models from small to large-format. We look forward to welcoming printers to see what this popular technology can do for them.”


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