GIDUE, a manufacturer of narrow web presses based in Turate, Italy, has introduced UV TIME!, an ultraviolet curing system described as environmentally friendly and oxygen-free. The system was produced in partnership with Air Liquide France.
“UV TIME! is conceived to answer to all the critical issues in the food packaging industry, says Federico d’Annunzio, president of GIDUE. The principles at the base of its creation are to offer an environmentally friendly and not dangerous solution, compliant with the strictest EC regulations on food packaging, and cost efficiency.”
The heart of the process is the prevention of photo-initiators — which are responsible for ink polymerization — from creating unwanted radical combinations with the oxygen particles carried by the web, when excited by UV radiations. D’Annunzio says that the main effect is the elimination of radicals responsible for odors and ink migration, the decrease in the amount of expensive photo-initiators inside UV ink formulations and the increase in curing speed rates.
Unlike other curing systems that pump out oxygen and substitute nitrogen, UV TIME! uses a nitrogen “blade” to break the boundary layer of air transported by the web, creating a thin bed of inert atmosphere close to the substrate, d’Annunzio says.
The new system has been coupled to GIDUE’s Athena press for initial testing, and will be included as an option in Athena UV flexo midweb presses. A company spokesperson says that retrofitting the system to other presses, such as the company’s Combat line, will be possible in the future, as will its availability for use with offset presses.