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Carbon infra-red emitters allow printing inks to dry at high speed

Heraeus Noblelight : 19 November, 2013  (Application Story)
An investment of £180,000 in Carbon infra-red (CIR) emitters from Heraeus Noblelight have allowed GI Solutions to achieve the rapid drying of water-based inks at line speeds of up to 300m/min on printing machines at its Leicester factory.
Carbon infra-red emitters allow printing inks to dry at high speed
GI Solutions' high volume personalisation runs are carried out using Kodak Versa Mark technology, where printing heads can print at up to 1000 300m/min). It is essential that this ink is dried completely and quickly to ensure high resolution, final quality.
Infra-red (IR) drying is a technology used throughout the printing sector. The Versa Mark inks used by GI Solutions are water-based and water molecules most readily absorb IR energy when it is radiated in wavelengths between 2 and 4 microns and CIR has a peak wavelength of 2 micron and radiates most of its energy in the 2 to 4 micron range. Therefore CIR proved to be the best technology for this application. Heraeus specialises in the production and application of high quality energy sources covering the electromagnetic spectrum from ultraviolet to infra-red.
The 288kW CIR drying system installed at the Leicester factory comprises two drying units, one fitted to a new vertical tower and one fitted horizontally to allow drying of duplex (two-sided) printing. Each unit is fully enclosed with its own air exhaust module and each is fitted with 18 8kW CIR emitters, which can be switched on in banks of three to optimise power if only a few printing heads are used. The control panel features two sets of controls, which allow separate regulation of each unit, either by a 0-100% potentiometer or via an optical pyrometer, which measures the exit temperatures of the web.
Since installation, the total CIR system is already proving its worth. As Ifor Pedley, Operations Director at GI Solutions, explains, “Energy costs have been substantially reduced compared with the old system, as the power requirements are considerably less because of the efficiency of CIR in removing water. In addition, as the ink is now dried before it has a chance to be absorbed by the paper, quality in terms of sharpness of image has been improved. And this drying can be effected at speeds up to 300m/min on both silk and gloss papers. We also have a better environment, as temperatures in the immediate environment of the presses are now a lot lower, which makes access for personnel a lot easier and, as we run at lower, but more efficient, power levels, there is no need for cumbersome water cooling of the system. We are also pleased at the fast response of the emitters, which means we do not have paper spoilage due to overheating when we have unexpected line stoppages. In fact, the system has been so successful that we are looking forward to installing an identical system on a second line.”
  • GI Solutions offers every aspect of modern communications, including imaginative personalised direct mail, secure transactional mail and electoral campaign mail, as well as e-mail and multi-channel communications options.
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