Taking care of your printer’s curing system is neither difficult nor time consuming, but proper monitoring and maintenance must be priorities if you want to realize the full benefits of this technology.
Heat generated in the UV-curing assembly is managed by air flow generated by fans or blowers. Keeping conventional curing lamps cool helps to prolong their life. In some cases, filters are included to prevent airborne contaminants from entering the curing assembly as it’s cooled. These filters must be cleaned regularly and replaced periodically. Dust buildup reduces the system’s ability to keep the assembly cool. Finally, the transparent plate that protects the curing assembly must be tended to routinely. Ink overspray, dust, and other substances will otherwise accumulate on the plate and cause UV light to reflect back into the assembly, creating excessive amounts of heat.
Containing the UV light produced by the curing assemblies also is a consideration. Exposure to UV light can be hazardous to the press operators, which is why UV inkjet printers contain various shielding systems and other safety measures. Routine inspection is necessary to ensure that these safeguards function properly. One such device is a normally closed shutter mechanism that is activated by the printing process. Flatbed UV inkjets, many of which accommodate thick substrates, have a necessary gap between the print bridge and the table to accept such materials. However, the printers generally are equipped with brush curtains or similar contraptions on either side of the print engine to contain the UV light.
Other types of safety considerations include shutoffs on a printer’s access points. These shutoff switches only allow activation of the UV lamps when certain parts of the printer, such as sliding doors and front covers, are closed tightly. This makes the curing assembly inaccessible while the machine is in use.
One of the major benefits of using UV inkjets is that their ink systems are free of solvents. However, some users may be sensitive to monomers and other chemical compounds in the inks that can undergo polymerization, as well as to ozone, which is a byproduct of the use of UV lamps. Installing an air-filtration system nearby or a localized exhaust that vents to the outside can help reduce exposure to these chemicals. Some manufacturers call for the installation of a dedicated exhaust system to support high-speed printing by extracting air that has passed through the printer to cool its curing components. Depending on the printer, you might be able to either connect ducts to the exhaust system or in-stall a ventilation hood directly above the printer.
Flora Digital Printing
Fujifilm North America
Inca Digital Printers
Lawson Screen and Digital Products
Neolt Digital Printers
Océ North America
Signs Int’l Dist.
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