Home' Australian Printer Magazine : November 2013 Contents Buyers Guide: Consumables
46 November 2013 - Australian Printer
Alan Anderson, managing
director of Monocure,
wonders why customers
prefer the more expensive
option of OPP laminate over
a gloss UV finish
OPP is not biodegradable in
the recycling process; it
must be physically removed
from the pulping vessel.
This is a costly operation compared
to repulping a UV varnish which
breaks down with the normal caustic
The cost of UV is around 10¢
per sqm compared to a laminate of
17-20¢ per sqm. Inhouse lamination
with capital equipment, heat, stock
and warehousing costs is no cheaper.
There is an argument that a matt
cello finish gives a stronger contrast
with spot UV gloss. This effect can
be achieved using a spot UV gloss
over an aqueous or UV matt coating.
Alternatively, by adopting the
chemical embossed print technique
a gloss UV can be used over a release
OP varnish which repels varnish
and blocks out images to become
matt. This process offers perfect
registration as the varnish is applied
using the same printing unit.
Originally there was an argument
that the odour of UV from a sealed
package was overwhelming, as well
as concerns about fingerprinting
in the dried UV gloss varnish and
about cracking during folding and
Monocure has overcome these
concerns and today’s UV gloss finish
can be favourably compared to an
OPP or cello laminate.
THE savings to the environment are
significant. Manufacturing cello is a
major use of carbon with petroleum-
based raw materials and heating
costs for extrusion.
Corona treatment to enable
adhesion of inks or adhesives is
another high energy input.
There is also the risk that the film
may exceed its use-by-date as the
treatment wears of f or reverses with
age. Stock more than six months old
will show signs of surface dyne level
deterioration. Pre-applied thermal
adhesive stock often exceeds six
months old, leading to print and
embellishing problems and waste.
PRE-APPLIED thermal films often
exhibit insuf ficient adhesion to
digital inks or to aqueous gloss or
matt coatings, which are now often
used in place of offset powder.
Offset powder can lead to spotting if
not removed before laminating. UV
coatings absorb the offset powder
used to separate conventional litho
ink and rarely lead to spotting.
Advantages of today’s UV
MONOCURE began making UV
curable coatings in 1981 when the
technology was in its infancy. We
developed an in-house resin system;
the world found it hard to believe
that an Australian company had
made such a breakthrough. The first
products contained water, the same
base used to make UV curable water-
based inks. Many tonnes were sold
for screen printing.
Adhesion to conventional oil-
based litho inks remained a problem.
Today, presses apply a primer in-line
before the UV final coat, or UV
varnish is applied to a UV ink which
is relatively easy to adhere to.
Changes in silicone technology
mean less silicone for good flow
and levelling with a mirror-like
finish, even at high press speeds.
Fingerprinting has been eliminated.
Magazine covers are now printed
at over 300m a minute on a web
press by applying a fast drying heat-
set ink. A thin 2-3 micron coating
with one 200kg drum of varnish
produces more than 120,000 covers.
UV is economical, the cost
of running the lights minimal
especially with LED UV. There is
no waste or contaminated product,
no overspills caused by foaming
and dependable production in all
weather extremes – no need for
temperature controlled premises or
Not all UV coatings are the same.
In the w ine label industry Australia
is a leader in UV technology. Non-
scuffing and water resistant matt
coatings for coated and uncoated
stocks are applied as a single coat
rather than 6-7 coats of conventional
varnish as in the US. These finishes
ensure no scuf fing in transport, no
expansion with moisture ingress in
storage or refrigeration and zero see
through with ice bucket immersion.
With high speed sheet-fed or
web operations the UV cured gloss
varnish must wet over all inks,
level rapidly depending on machine
speed, provide maximum gloss
or matt levels and dry completely
to avoid blocking in the stack or
potential to fingerprint.
An importer of UV varnish
cannot adjust what is required for
today’s high speed presses. Each
press has peculiarities and for best
results the balance between blanket
choice, application amount and
speed is all-important. Different slip
levels are often required for feeding
into a filling process.
Monocure employs the country’s
most experienced UV chemist Peter
Mousouleas, and with nearly 25
years of experience in the Australian
market is a leader in this field.
Unfortunately UV in some
applications is treated as a
commodity. Some impor ted
products contain chemicals that are
prohibited in Australia and solvents
that cause serious injury over time.
Monocure’s materials all adhere to
European Printers Guild guidelines.
materials are continually developed
in Europe and introduced by
Monocure’s R&D team. The company
attends overseas radiation seminars
and uses radiation curing expert
Professor Garnett as a consultant.
Writing this article I do not
wish to persuade people one way
or the other. I simply want to point
out that advancements have been
made in UV technology delivering
lower odour, lower smearing
products which deliver equal or
better gloss levels obtained with
OPP laminations and are more
UV curing machine: green light shining on the conveyer belt tests curing times and proper ties of products
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