IST UV attracted 1,300 visitors to its Nurtigen factory near Stuttgart last week for the latest iteration of the UV Days, its extended open house.
This is a format that has been popularised by the Hunkeler Innovation Days and IST takes the same mix of its own technology, short presentations and stands from companies that work with the supplier’s technology. These span ink companies, coatings suppliers, rollers, cooling systems as well as showing off and discussing its own technology.
While the focus is inevitably on LED curing, the is plenty of life in mercury vapour lamps, secured by demand for systems used to sterilise the water carried by cargo vessels to act as ballast. The maritime law intended to prevent spread of invasive species from continent to continent, has spurred demand for UV lamps.
But print remains at the heart of the business with LED UV of increasing interest to commercial printers to enable them to compete with digital on speed or turnaround. Lamp technology gets a look in with the Excimer system for producing textured effects on wood and leather using specialised coatings. And IST is not averse to more conventional IR/hot air drying with systems supplied for this market.
This is a steady opportunity. The growth comes from OEM supply of LED UV and retrofit UV systems. IST works closely with Heidelberg and supplies the core LED arrays for new Heidelberg presses, keeping pace with the 18,000sph these presses can deliver.
The retrofit market rarely demands this performance, consequently IST UV showed progress on a new lower cost array which will go to market with field trials later this year. This will give some real life feedback ahead of Drupa where LUE will receive its formal launch.
It joins LVE, a powerful LED UV implementation that shares the same power units and controllers with a conventional mercury vapour lamp system, in IST’s portfolio. LUE is better suited to a retro fit market. It will run up to 12,000sph on four colours only with a maximum ink coverage of 320%. There are fewer diodes in the unit and is rated at 85W/cm.
Where the LUE is strictly for commercial printers, the LVE is equally suited to packaging applications, can work with special colours and is rated at 135W/cm. IST demonstrated progress on the seven-colour press installed in its research and demonstration labs.
This year, the sixth iteration of the event, attracting visitors from 46 countries. The host’s own technology was supported by 55 other exhibitors discussing inks, blankets and applications for UV technology. This extends beyond commercial and packaging printing into application of a wide range of coatings to create tactile finishes on wood, metals and non standard substrates.