A treasure house of waterless UV printing technology for packages.
Seieido Printing Co., Ltd
It’s now 10 years since the company first started full-fledged waterless UV printing in the packaging field. Seieido Printing Co., Ltd. in Yonezawa City has become an indispensable treasure chest of know-how when it comes to waterless UV printing.
Mitsugu Hoshikawa, the company’s Director and Production Department General Manager, explains it as follows: “More and more manufactures producing products such as cosmetics, health foods, industrial-use products, etc., are demanding an environmental response and are specifying waterless printing for their packaging. This has become the motive and force to polish our technical strengths, maintain highest quality and store know-how for long-run printing jobs.” As he says, up to now, the company has implemented waterless UV printing with A1 size four-, five- and six-color machines, A2 size six-color machine and a five-color machine for seals and labels. It also embarked on a mass production system that enabled them to easily print 10,000 sheets per lot. Especially when it comes to film printing for PET and PP materials, the system is ideal for long-run printing that exceeds 50,000 sheets.
In addition, production makes a distinction between pure UV and hybrid UV according to application.
Printing of labels and decorative boxes for sake, operations that have continued since its founding, involves receipt of orders from sake brewers around Japan.
Waterless UV printing with Komori Lithrone 640C, Heidelberg Speedmaster SM-74-6, XL-105-6
Shigeru Watanabe, the company’s Deputy General Manager, says, “Hybrid UV printing is ideal for thick paper of liners, such as G-flute cardboard. Even with pure UV, in the case of thin-film aluminum deposition and pearl paper, waterless UV is clearly the favorite compared to wet offset UV printing. Whether it’s aluminum or film, the chemistry between water and ink with wet offset printing is poor.” He has been conducting repeated tests for several years now on the aptitude of wet offset printing and waterless printing according to the original material of the printed object, thus confirming the improvement results of waterless UV inks.
But what about the possible higher running costs that are a source of worry with waterless UV printing? Watanabe explains: “As is the case with oil-based inks, you can eliminate dampening roller winding, developer and waste liquids, which is a definite advantage. But whether its wet offset or waterless printing, costs go up for electricity.”
In order to save on electricity costs, the company took on the challenge of creating Japan’s first waterless UV printing system with brownout function.
“By using KHV, a special brownout type ink recommended by Komori Corporation, we could achieve operations with a single 120W final lamp. That meant operations with less than half the original electricity costs. As for drying speed and gloss, these compared favorably with lamps featuring conventional brightness,” explains Watanabe. This hints at how such brownout type inks and improved light sources are key elements in further spread of waterless UV printing.
On the other hand, there is the fact that, in reducing electricity usage resulting from greater use of UV methods, it will be unavoidable to create UV printing systems of the brownout type. As a matter of fact, UV orders at the company are growing by leaps and bounds.
“In the next two or three years, there’s a chance that the growth rate of the UV orders will reach double digit figures,” says Hoshikawa. A growing number of clients desire more value-added. Last year, the company won the Japanese Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry Award in the seal-label contest for the third consecutive year, not to mention the top prizes in the World Label Contest for five consecutive years. Seieido’s own Super Duo waterless UV printing technology, which allowed the company to win the awards, has established a sterling reputation in Japan and abroad, with increasing orders resulting. The company faces the challenges of increasing orders for UV printing while reducing electric power use.