Flint Group predicts LED curing switch in narrow web sector

Flint Group, a global print consumables manufacturer, predicts that 2023 will be the year of conversion to LED curing for label and narrow web packaging printers.

The company noted a drive towards LED curing over traditional UV methods and believes that while the adoption of LED has been slow, market conditions, the cost of energy and the evolving regulatory landscape indicate an uptick in the adoption rate.

“Just a few years ago, the industry believed that LED curing could never match the quality or performance of UV curing and required significant investment,” Flint Group global director of narrow web product and commercial excellence Niklas Olsson said.

“However, right here and right now, the case for LED curing has never been stronger, so it’s no surprise that we’ve seen businesses of every size making the transition.”

According to Olsson, achieving more sustainable printing is on the mind of printers globally as brands and retailers seek sustainable supply chain partners. LED curing offers reduced downtime driving productivity, and much lower energy use than UV curing. Olsson believes it to be between 50 and 80 per cent depending on light dissipation.

“With today’s business environment and the cumulative benefits of LED, we’re clearly looking at the tipping point of real market-wide change. This is likely to intensify with global sustainability legislation limiting the use of mercury, which looks set to make UV lamps harder to acquire and dispose of. With LED curing offering lower cost in use, rapid speed, and high quality, it’s time to move the curing conversation forwards, and 2023 could be the year this happens on a broad scale,” Olsson said.

To support customers in this transition, Flint Group designed EkoCure, a range of inks with Dual Cure technology suitable for traditional lamps and UV LED curing. The range includes EkoCure Ancora F2, developed for food labelling and packaging applications. 

“With EkoCure, and its ability to cure under mercury or UV LED lamps, we are helping our customers future-proof their operations,” Olsson said.

“As the case for LED curing grows, no printer wants to generate unnecessary waste or be stuck with costly UV ink inventory they can’t use as they transition over. 

“With over 10 years of experience formulating LED inks, Flint Group is the market leader in this technology with the expertise to make the switch easy and cost-effective for our customers.

“LED technology today is miles ahead of where it was a decade ago and can finally meet its potential, offering speed, quality, and consistency indistinguishable from traditional UV curing but with additional cost and environmental benefits. 

“From our perspective, it’s the future of narrow web printing. With our pioneering EkoCure range and local technical expertise, we are perfectly positioned to support our customers to adopt LED curing easily.”

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