UV Coating, or ultraviolet coating, is a specialty covering applied to the printed surface and cured using ultraviolet light. The technology, itself, unlocks many sustainable and cost-effective opportunities for sheetfed printers in a competitive environment. One of the most common questions in today’s commercial market place is “to UV or not to UV.” There are a number of UV options available to fulfill the need for integrated solutions intended to promote maximum curing with minimum energy. But the question remains: Which type of UV is best suited for your business?

The type of UV solution needed depends on the mix of applications a shop provides and the specific markets they serve:

DryStar UV

Traditional UV, also known as Mercury Vapor, is the most trusted and widely used form of UV in the sheetfed market today. After decades of use, it has become a proven technology and offers the widest range of selections in consumables, substrates and overall applications that can be achieved.

With DryStar UV, efficient temperature management ensures that, despite the high UV output, the heat is absorbed with limited heat transfer to the printing stock. This capability is ideal for sensitive materials and ensures complete register accuracy, even on thin plastic films. The DryStar UV solution combines integration into the press with a very short distance between the UV dryer and the sheet —minimizing the energy required for maximum curing. To add, this technology has a special URS (UV Reflection System) reflector that absorbs IR and minimizes any heat transfer to the printing stock to increase dryer output and drive top production speeds.

Working on the full UV wavelength of 200-400 nanometers is equivalent to having the widest operating window in production. This means you have the ability to take advantage of all the cost-effective benefits and have more photo initiator ingredients available.

DryStar LE UV

Are you looking for a solution compatible with common, four-color applications? DryStar LE UV, a low energy UV solution for commercially printed products could be the answer.

LE UV is ideal for the on-demand production of hybrid print products combining digital and offset printing. The DryStar LE UV from Heidelberg is available for specialty printing and packaging depending on application requirements and substrates. The LE UV is highly flexible and is not restricted to a single ink series. The LE solution can also be equipped with iron doped lamps and a charcoal filter to eliminate any ozone which is generally present at the wavelength between 200 and 250 nanometers.

DryStar LED

The latest innovation in UV curing is LED UV which combines the lowest energy consumption with high quality. Similar to LE UV, the new DryStar LED technology is integrated into the original press design. This technology, however, takes press integration and energy saving to a new level.

With unique features such as automatic format setting (A.F.S), the LED bar automatically shuts off the modules not being used (useful when printing on a smaller sheet size). Additionally, the instant on/off feature shuts the LED bar off at the end of the tail of the sheet creating additional savings— compared to having the UV on throughout the cylinder gap (as found in other systems). As a result, this feature extends the life of the LED bar. DryStar LED is the perfect solution for a range of applications from commercial printing with or without coating, to thin metalized foil and distortion-free plastic foil. This new LED technology delivers high-end quality products including plastic cards, in-mold labels, official stickers and plastic packaging.

DryStar LED can be used in the delivery or as an interdeck dryer for maximum flexibility. LED lamps deliver their full output as soon as they are switched on.

See for Yourself

To aid in your UV decision, Heidelberg has installed the world’s first Speedmaster XL 106 equipped with full UV, LE UV and LED UV. Adding the capacity to switch between UV capabilities gives customers the unrestricted ability to test which type of UV is best suited for their business. The press is now available for customer demonstrations. Customers can trial their own applications and expectations of the variety of UV sources available.

For more information, watch this video:


C. Penge

Clarence Penge

Vice President, Sheetfed