GEW Innovations Cut Costs for Customers
SURREY, U.K.—07/09/2009—Up until 2008, the world economy was a confident, arguably brash environment, where the familiar ‘buy now, pay later’ culture had largely evolved into a mentality of ‘buy now, think later’. Over the past 12 months though, markets have slumped, credit has dried up and purchasing decision-makers have become increasingly risk-averse. In today’s world, every expense is scrutinised, and pressures for reduced costs and rapid returns on investment are mounting.
Against this backdrop of a challenging economic climate, GEW has strengthened its energy-efficient product line-up with a brand-new range of peripheral technologies set to be launched on its stand, 6H70, at Label Expo in Brussels. These have been designed to further reduce the operating costs of its UV systems, shortening their payback time and improving job security. The company can now offer intelligent power management software to boost energy savings further when the system is on stand-by; cost-effective UV monitoring solutions; proactive servicing of systems in the field, via the Internet; and extended equipment warranties for added peace of mind.
The fact that further reductions in power consumption at stand-by are possible may come as a surprise to some: already the stand-by power level of GEW systems is typically around 15% of full power, whilst other systems run at between 30% and 50% on stand-by. So how can further savings be realised?
The secret lies in intelligent avoidance of power wastage. Printers typically leave the UV on stand-by for long periods, as opposed to switching them off, so that they are always ready to run as soon as the printer is ready to re-start the press. Common examples include during make-ready and at lunch. When making ready, the lamps are normally turned on so they can warm up while the operator works on the machine so that they are ready when he is finished, as this avoids needing to wait while the lamps burn in. At lunch, the system is normally left on stand-by so that printing can be resumed as soon as the lunch hour is over.
To combat this energy wastage without having to make printers waste time, GEW has developed GreenTimer, a simple, user-friendly software package which allows the operator to program the system to start automatically after the desired amount of time, and also to power down after a pre-determined duration on stand-by. Additionally, the total number of hours which the system has been ‘intelligently’ switched off for are logged, so that managers can quantify the savings easily. Despite the additional switching on and off of the lamps caused by the GreenTimer, their warrantee will not be affected because GEW lamps can be powered on and off an infinite number of times without incurring penalty clauses.
Whilst this may not in itself be a new concept, past offerings on the market have often been poorly executed and expensive. GEW’s own R&D team has now developed two different solutions, which can be either be fully integrated with the lampheads to give a constant read-out on the touch screen, or else a hand-held unit for taking readings from each lamp.
The integrated solution, or ‘online’ version, simultaneously measures the output of all lamps in the system, and displays a percentage read-out on the touch screen showing the relative output compared to a brand new lamp. Thus as the lamps age, the decrease in their output can be seen easily, allowing the printer to replace the lamp(s) or increase the input power as necessary. This makes it easy to ensure that a sufficient level of UV power is always available to cure the job being printed, and it also avoids wastage on cure-critical applications where lamps might otherwise be replaced more frequently than is necessary.
The hand-held unit is a specialist scientific instrument, which is inserted into a docking station in the front door of the lamphead to measure the UV intensity in milliwatts per square centimetre (mW/cm2). Where measuring the intensity of UV, or any light source for that matter, the positioning of the sensor in relation to the lamp is critical to obtaining accurate and repeatable results. If a sensor is located in three different positions, it is likely to give three very different readings. GEW’s solution involved designing a precision-engineered docking station and corresponding probe to ensure that the sensor is always in exactly the same position relative to the lamp, so that the only variable that can possibly be measured is the lamp’s UV output. The unit itself is capable of storing readings from up to sixteen lamps in its internal memory, which can then be downloaded to a computer via a USB cable. A line graph can then be plotted to show how the intensity of each lamp changes over time, and thus indicate when it is time to replace the lamp. The effects of cleaning the reflectors and glassware can also be measured quantifiably.
GEW will shortly be offering its customers another major benefit – remote monitoring of its installations. Here the system’s control units can be directly connected to any GEW via the Internet, where they can be monitored from any of their service centres worldwide. Conditions that affect UV curing performance, reliability and efficiency such as ambient factory temperature, unchanged filters or other minor maintenance issues can be diagnosed and pre-emptively corrected, eliminating unnecessary downtime and service calls.
Set against the background of the recession, these new innovations could not have come at a better time. Compared with conventional UV curing technologies, the company’s e-System range of electronic power supplies and optically perfected lampheads has collectively saved its customers an estimated 7 million pounds and has reduced their carbon emissions by around 30,000 tonnes to date. This healthy saving in operating costs and carbon footprint has coincided with tightening environmental legislation, delivering printers a twofold benefit. In addition, the company remains true to its long-standing policy of competitively priced original equipment spare parts and highly responsive after-sales service. These latest innovations will further sharpen the operational efficiency and payback time of any press specified with a GEW system, helping to relax the pressures that today’s economy is exerting on our industry.