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Can Small Format UV Quality Rival Larger Industrial?

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  • Can Small Format UV Quality Rival Larger Industrial?

    I have a small format UV machine (Morgana Digicoater 33) - I've experimented with a couple of different gloss suppliers and our current coating does the job/has an ok finish but it still doesn't come close to the deep, smooth gloss from the commercial finishers we use.

    However, I'd like to do more short turnaround on-demand work and for that we require in-house UV. Is there anything that comes close on the small-format front? Is the machine the weakest link, or is it more to do with the coating or even operating knowledge?

  • #2
    What gloss reading are you getting and what is the gloss reading from your commercial supplier. A lot of the smoothness and gloss is related to what is called 'Flow out' this is the time/length between applying the UV coating and when the lamp cures the coating. Commercial machines have a longer flow out time than the small machines and can achieve higher gloss and smoother appearance. Not sure you can do too much about increasing your gloss level besides what you are already doing experimenting with different suppliers, you might just be limited by the length of your equipment.

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    • #3
      Thanks for the info Cornish - I must confess I haven't measured the gloss on either (don't have a gloss meter). I'd guess though, if transit length is a big factor, then the machine is a big limiting factor as you say.

      Floor space is limited though, if anyone could recommend anything I'm open to suggestions. I should also note it's Konica Digital prints which doesn't help (require IR pre-heat).

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      • #4
        I have seen some increase in Gloss levels as a result of heating the UV coating to make it flow easier. We used just a small electric element heater, dont heat it too much though as it might start to 'cure'

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Cornishpastythighs View Post
          I have seen some increase in Gloss levels as a result of heating the UV coating to make it flow easier. We used just a small electric element heater, dont heat it too much though as it might start to 'cure'
          Is that a "coffee cup heater" cant tell for sure nothing to compare it to. We have taken to wrapping our 5 gallon buckets in an electric blanket and turning it on about an hour before we start to run. I'm sure that there is a heater out there for 5 gallon jugs . . . and then there would be something like this:

          Grainger.com and search for barrel heaters . . .
          Last edited by dabob; 04-20-2017, 01:44 PM.
          "If you think you are too small to be effective
          you have never been in the dark with a mosquito."

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          • #6
            That's a very good point Cornish - the environment isn't controlled so the tanks would often be pretty cold! Will try that too.

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            • #7
              I'm sorry to just pick up on this discussion, after a few months. Perhaps it's too late and you've resolved your problems, However, I thought I'd chime in.

              The comments made by Cornish are quite valid, however regarding heating the coating, as with the immersion heater described, even a band heater can cause premature gelling on the sides of the container. you would be best served with the addition of a small mixer to move the hotter outer coating and producing a more uniform temperature within the pail. I would keep the overall temperature around 110 deg F.

              To test the issue of time to flow, if you can run a sheet through your coater without the lights on, then send it thru the lights after, you'll see if the coating needs more leveling/flow time. I know this can be either difficult of messy, but it will help confirm this as the issue (highly likely).

              Finally, KM toners can be a challenge for UV coatings to adhere. I'm a partner in a UV coatings manufacturer specializing in UV Coatings for digital printing www.uvspecialties.com. We have designed coatings that do not require the IR for adhesion, and they result in higher gloss because of the lack of IR before cure. my email is hragin1@uvspecialties.com let me know if I can help.

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