UV LED technology

UV LED technology

Environmentally friendly, quick marking

High-quality UV LED technology from Phoenix Contact.

Your advantages

  • Printed materials are available for immediate use, thanks to UV LED technology
  • Wipe- and scratch-proof marking
  • Solvent-resistant marking with clear typeface
  • Emission-free LED technology with low energy consumption
  • Can print bar codes

Printing method

UV printing process  

UV printing process

One printing process offering both high flexibility and resistance, at a low cost, is printing with UV-curing fluid. Here, a special fluid is used with a print head similar to that of inkjet printers; this is affixed to the component to be marked and subsequently cured using a light source.

In the print head, individual fluid drops build up and are thrown toward the component. To create the desired print image, the print head travels over the component and applies the fluid line by line. UV radiation cures the fluid within the same work step. The component is not heated up, either during printing or curing.

This print technology can be used in many areas of application. Plastic marking labels can be marked, as well as any existing metal signs.

Solvent-free fluid

Solvent-free printing fluid  

Solvent-free printing fluid

UV printers from Phoenix Contact use solvent-free printing fluid. This fluid consists of three main parts:

  • A UV initiator, which initiates the photochemical reaction to cure the fluid on the printing substrate
  • A bonding material, which functions as carrier matrix the for the printing
  • Color pigment for coverage

The key to the UV digital printing technology is photochemically-induced polymerization. The UV radiation converts the fluid initiators into radicals. Radicals are molecules with one free electron that wants to create a bond. The radicals activate modules in the bonding components, called monomers, and bonds with them to form chains and matrices. Such chains are referred to as polymers. They surround the color pigments and thereby cure the ink. The printing process is completely free of emissions, as the fluid used is free of solvents or volatile substances.

Inks containing solvents

In addition to UV-curing fluids, inks that contain solvents can also be used. If
these are not used, there is a risk of drying out. To cure the ink, the component
is heated for several minutes following the printing process. Depending on the material and ink used, it is heated to
temperatures between +70°C and +200°C.

The component must cool before it can be used. Not all materials are suitable for this process; plastics in particular can warp at these high temperatures. Generally, the solvents in these inks vaporize when exposed to the effects of these temperatures. Furthermore, it must be ensured that the dried ink is not dissolved by other solvents. This is why UV-curing fluid is used in Phoenix Contact products.

Print heads

Basically, there are two different ways of transmitting inks and fluids onto components.

Continuous inkjetDrop-on-Demand inkjet (DOD)
Firing off the ink dropsPermanentIf required (during the actual printing)
Inks/fluidsWith a high solvent contentContaining solvent or solvent-free
NozzlesAn individual nozzle with continuous jetHigh number of nozzles with vertically delivered drops
ResolutionLow (e.g., for cable marking)High (for high-quality printouts)

In DOD Inkjets, two different print head technologies can be used:

  • Bubble jet method: A steam bubble is generated here through electrical heating, which then presses the drops out of the nozzle thanks to the resulting pressure. Ink containing a solvent is required to generate the steam bubble. Bubble jets are used in inexpensive printers, for example for private users.
  • Piezo jet method: Here, the two nozzle channels consist of piezo crystals, which are moved by electrical pulses in waves. The drops are then fired out in this way. Piezo jets are high-quality, durable print heads that are used in UV printing, for example. The BLUEMARK ID and BLUEMARK ID COLOR also use the piezo jet method.

Light sources

Light spectrum

Light spectrum

UV lamps (burners) are frequently used as UV sources. Their use is associated with high heat development due to the construction type. These burners are particularly powerful, but also have a large variance of emitted UV light. As such, a UV C burner (100–280 nm wave length) also emits light in the UV A (315–380 nm) and UV B range (280–315 nm).

LEDs are an alternative to the burner lamps. UV LEDs emit light in a very narrow range (UV A), and therefore have significantly lower variance than the burners. The UV-induced, photochemical polymerization is often in a wave length range of 200 to 400 nanometers. The reduced heat development is an additional advantage. This allows the realization of smaller, lighter printers, such as the BLUEMARK from Phoenix Contact.

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C6 The Exchange
Calmount Park
Dublin 12
D12 XE18