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DRYING/CURING EQUIPMENT -- Avoid Half-baked Systems

March 2002
BY ERIK CAGLE


When you have the need for speed (press speed, that is) the last thing you want is some clunky drying/curing system that is not able to keep pace.

Systems that generate high UV output to cure difficult colors and the heavy laydown of inks and coatings at high press speeds are highly sought, according to Dave McDowell, UV product manager for UVTechnology. Minimizing the temperatures of the web allow for printing on films and thermal-sensitive substrates.

"As print quality improves, demand has grown for greater image quality and impact from non-traditional substrates," McDowell states. "In many cases, printers are seeking to acquire this work to replace lost business in other areas due to economic slowdowns."

UVTechnology has introduced Maxim single- and multi-lamp curing systems for narrow web presses. Maxim systems feature a reflector and lamp design to increase useable curing energy. The standard closed-loop heat management system and optional cool UV upgrade reduce web temperatures, significantly allowing heat-sensitive substrates to be run with heavy ink and adhesive coatings at higher press speeds.

Competitive print markets continue to drive customers to focus on copies per hour and cost per copy, according to Ken Zak, director of marketing and business development for MEGTEC Systems. The subsequent performance requirements for dryers include reliability at maximum press speeds and the flexibility to efficiently process a wide range of papers, paper weights, web widths, ink coverages and compositions.

"The dryer must accept a variety of input materials and deliver high-quality signatures that have sufficient retained paper moisture for easy handling downstream," Zak notes. "Dryers must exhibit low running costs and high uptime, and operate with no web wander or marking that could cause reductions in press speed. Reduced paper waste and low energy consumption are very important, as well. In short, dryers must do what it takes to help the printer maximize his pressline profitability."

New Designs

MEGTEC Systems introduced the Dual-Dry RTO and Dual-Dry OMEGA drying systems at DRUPA 2000. Both units incorporate three major design innovations. The Dual-Dry air bar system provides enhanced web stability on high-speed, wide web presses.

The systems include an integrated regenerative thermal oxidizer (RTO) section for energy-efficient operation and high volatile organic compound (VOC) destruction capabilities. The 95 percent effective heat exchanger allows both dryers to run with zero gas consumption under most print conditions. The systems utilize a conditioning zone featuring Triton ES evaporative cooling technology. The ES seals ink surfaces to minimize solvent condensation and folder marking.
 

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