Our guide to UV curing systems looks to offer a simple outline of the process that many graphic arts go through.
Specifically, UV (ultra-violet) curing printing presses are used to reproduce graphical images in high volume. The process starts with a blank substrate, typically paper, as either a roll (or web, as it is known in our industry) or a stack of cut sheets.
The substrate is fed through the press and the image is applied one colour on top of the other to form a complete image. After one colour is printed, the ink needs to be cured before the next colour is applied, otherwise the image will be ruined.
The picture shows how the press prints and dries one colour at a time to form a complete image.
Traditionally, printing inks were dried with heat, and in some cases this is still done today. UV curing uses inks that set hard, or ‘cure’, when they are exposed to ultra-violet (UV) light.
The use of LED (light emitting diodes) for UV curing in the printing and coating process has become increasingly available throughout the industry. Within a hybrid system printers are able to operate with both conventional mercury arc and LED lamp technology on the same press.
GEW is a global company, designing and manufacturing UV systems for UV curing inks and varnishes on printing presses. GEW UV curing systems are sold both to companies who build printing presses and also to printing houses directly.
The UV systems are designed and built at GEW’s head office and manufacturing facility in Crawley, England, from where they are sold around the world.
This page represents a simplistic guide to UV curing. To read more about the sources of UV curing, you can read Jennifer Heathcote’s in-depth article on the subject.
Lastly, to learn about how UV curing is measured, read Jennifer’s article ‘Understanding and quantifying energy emitted from UV curing sources‘.