Cost Saving Innovations from GEW
Against the backdrop of the world’s challenging economic climate, GEW has strengthened its acclaimed energy-efficient product line-up with a new range of peripheral technologies. These have been designed to further reduce the operating costs of its UV systems, shortening their payback time and improving job security. The company can now offer intelligent power management software to lower mean standby power to below 15% and save energy; cost-effective UV monitoring solutions; proactive servicing of systems in the field via the Internet; and extended equipment warranties for added peace of mind.
The fact that further reductions in power consumption at stand-by are possible may come as a surprise to some: already the stand-by power level of GEW systems is typically around 15% of full power, whilst other manufacturers’ systems run at between 30% and 50% on stand-by. So how can further savings be realised? The secret lies in intelligent avoidance of power wastage. Printers typically leave the UV on stand-by for long periods, as opposed to switching them off, so that they are always ready to run as soon as the printer is ready to re-start the press. Common examples include during make-ready and at lunch.
When making ready, the lamps are normally turned on so they can warm up while the operator works on the machine so that they are ready when he is finished, as this avoids needing to wait while the lamps burn in. At lunch, the system is normally left on stand-by so that printing can be resumed as soon as the lunch hour is over. To combat this energy wastage without making printers waste time, GEW has developed GreenTimer, a simple, user-friendly software package which allows the operator to program the system to start automatically after the desired amount of time, and also to power down after a pre-determined duration on stand-by. Additionally, the total number of hours which the system has been ‘intelligently’ switched off for are logged, so that managers can quantify the savings easily.
Despite the additional switching on and off of the lamps caused by the GreenTimer, their warranty will not be affected. This is because all GEW lamps can be powered on and off as many times as the operator desires without incurring penalty clauses.
GEW’s own R&D team has developed two different UV monitoring solutions, which can be either be fully integrated with the lampheads to give a constant read-out on the touch screen, or else a hand-held unit for taking readings from each lamp.
The integrated solution, or ‘online’ version, simultaneously measures the output of all lamps in the system, and displays a percentage read-out on the touch screen showing the relative output compared to a brand new lamp. Thus as the lamps age the decrease in their output can be seen easily, allowing the printer to replace the lamp(s) or increase the input power as necessary. This makes it easy to ensure that a sufficient level of UV power is always available to cure the job being printed, and it also avoids wastage on cure-critical applications where lamps might otherwise be replaced more frequently than is necessary.
The hand-held unit is a specialist scientific instrument, which is inserted into a docking station in the front door of the lamphead to measure the UV intensity in milliwatts per square centimetre (mW/cm2). Precision engineering of the sensor probe and docking station ensure consistent positioning of the sensor in relation to the lamp, which is critical to obtaining accurate and repeatable results. The unit itself is capable of storing readings from up to sixteen lamps in its internal memory, which can then be downloaded to a computer via a USB cable.
A line graph can then be plotted to show how the intensity of each lamp changes over time, and thus indicate when it is time to replace the lamp. The effects of cleaning the reflectors and glassware can also be measured quantifiably.
Remote Monitoring And Diagnostics
GEW now offer its customers another major benefit – remote monitoring of its installations. Here the UV system’s control unit can be connected to Internet, where they can be directly monitored from any of their service centres worldwide. Conditions that affect UV curing performance, reliability and efficiency such as ambient factory temperature, unchanged filters or other minor maintenance issues can be diagnosed and pre-emptively corrected, eliminating unnecessary downtime and service calls. Where this option is fitted to a UV system, GEW can also offer a three-year extended warranty package, which has the added benefit of regular online health checks for the system and also entitles members to preferential pricing on spare parts.
A new high-intensity focussed reflector will also be revealed, based on the company’s existing retractable cassette system. This new design not only delivers a boost in UV output together with corresponding energy savings, but also incorporates a number of heat management features to allow a wider range of substrates to be processed. This has been a major step forwards in the versatility of these high-intensity reflectors, many of which have been notorious for the large increases in IR output that accompanies their improved yield of UV.
The new reflectors incorporate a specially developed, multi-layer dichroic coating which will last for years. Innovatively, this coating has been applied to removable inserts which can be easily and cost-effectively replaced should they become scratched or dirty.
Set against the background of the recession, these new innovations could not have come at a better time. Compared with conventional UV curing technologies, the company’s e-System range of electronic power supplies and optically perfected lampheads has collectively saved its customers an estimated 7 million Euros and has reduced their carbon emissions by around 30,000 tonnes to date. This healthy saving in operating costs and carbon footprint has coincided with tightening environmental legislation, delivering printers a twofold benefit. In addition, the company remains true to its long-standing policy of competitively priced original equipment spare parts and highly responsive after-sales service. These latest innovations will further sharpen the operational efficiency and payback time of any press specified with a GEW system, helping to relax the pressures that today’s economy is exerting on our industry.