Kendle: We are starting to see UV sources based on light emitting diodes (LEDs) appear in commercially available printers. This trend is likely to continue, particularly where LEDs are used to “pin” (partially cure) the inks. However, medium pressure mercury arc lamps will remain the dominant technology in the medium term owing to their high power output and relatively low cost.
There will be further improvements in acrylic-based UV curable inks with regard to adhesion and flexibility, as chemists develop better ink formulations based on newer monomers and oligomers. This means even longer lasting inks for demanding applications and even more vivid and demanding graphics.
Mendelssohn: I think the next wave will build off the BIL UV inks we introduced earlier this year. They are fast-curing, designed for high speed production, formulated VOC-free and perfect to meet the demand for 30 and 60-day, 30-sheet billboard postings. Combine those factors with the potential cost savings of up to 25 percent or more, and the market will be demanding more of these types of products.
Muhr: All machines are going to have new head technologies, machines are becoming faster with those new head technologies. The market will be splintered between new technologies for
Screen printing systems and machine in a so-called office environment.
Paar: Besides the usual faster, higher resolution, lower price trend in the large format arena, what might be the biggest development may not even be in large format at all. Considering advances in things like lower power LED curing systems it’s possible that office or even home desktop UV printers may be in our future.
Urmano: Smaller and less expensive and easier to use products will widen the appeal and the end user base.
White: New developments with UV curable inks that are specifically designed to react to the radiation of UV LEDs are remarkable. LED technology uses dramatically less power than conventional UV lamps and they last much longer before replacement is necessary. Also encouraging is the space needed to install UV LEDS is much more efficient and they emit less infrared which makes them applicable for heat sensitive substrates. These new developments mean even more new opportunities with UV inkjet.
Wozny: The technology that offers greater cure rates, while emitting less heat, at lower costs will be the next technology to evolve. Some people think that it will be LED. It’s not clear if it will be the winner or not but it will be exciting to be part of it.