Addressability in UV LED heads refers to the ability to individually control and manipulate the on/off status and intensity of hundreds or thousands of individual LEDs within the head. This allows for more precise and efficient curing of UV-sensitive materials, such as inks or coatings, on various substrates.
Traditionally, UV curing was done using arc lamps, which are large tubes that emit UV light. However, these lamps have limited control over the curing process, as they can only be turned on or off, and their power cannot be varied along their length. In contrast, addressable UV LED heads offer greater flexibility and control, leading to several advantages.
Energy saving is a significant benefit of addressability. In a UV curing system designed to cure a specific width of product, there may be areas of the lamp that are illuminating dead space when running narrower products. By switching off the LEDs in these unused areas, energy costs associated with curing unnecessary areas can be reduced.
Moreover, addressability allows for precise adjustment of the curing width to match the printed design on the product. For example, in a CMYK print setup, each color may have different cure widths to cure only the printed areas at each station. This customization not only saves energy but also reduces cost and waste associated with over-curing.
Another advantage of addressability is the ability to minimize stray light and heat. Overexposure of UV light can cause unintended curing on nozzle plates or other unintended locations, resulting in print defects. By adjusting the curing size to match the width of the product, stray light can be minimized, reducing the risk of unintended curing and improving print quality.
Addressability also enables the creation of localized print effects or artefacts. For instance, by assigning different intensity levels to different areas of the product, local variations in gloss or other print effects can be achieved, enhancing the overall appearance and quality of the printed product.
IST INTECH offers a range of UV curing products that support addressability, from simple switching of zones or stripes to complex mid-print pattern changing. This advanced patented technology provides greater control and flexibility in UV curing processes, offering numerous benefits in terms of energy savings, improved print quality, and customisation of print effects.