Jim Hingst explains how UV inkjet systems utilizing LED curing lamps differ from inkjet printers utilizing traditional UV curing lamps.
UV ink cures when it is exposed to UV light. In this curing process, the photo initiators in the ink absorb the UV energy and break down into reactive components that initiate the polymerization process.
Polymerization is the chemical process in which the smaller monomers and oligomers bond together to form the much larger polymer molecules. As the smaller molecules polymerize, they entrap the pigments, which give the ink its color and the additives in the cured solid inks.
The differences between UV inkjet systems are the ink formulations and the types of curing lamps used. Traditional UV lamps emit a broad spectrum of UV light. By comparison, the band of UV light which LED curing systems is much narrower. The ink formulations for both types of inkjet printers must be matched to the light source in order for polymerization to occur. Read more »