For the last twenty years, the print industry has been on a journey of technological transformation. Printing markets are changing, many publishing products have electronic versions replacing previously printed media. E-books, online newspapers and magazines are taking significant sections of their respective markets, while directories, catalogues and brochures have electronic alternatives.
These factors have seen a shift from traditional products to packaging and labelling, where demand is growing fast. In fact, the print market is forecast to continue expanding for the next five years.
The digital age has allowed machine manufacturers to develop systems that are now so advanced that printing companies have been forced to invest in the latest machinery in order to remain viable in the market.
Product designs are now sent online to print companies, which will generally be able to turnaround and deliver finished product within 24 hours. Older methods of waiting for inks to dry have been replaced by UV systems where the ink is instantly cured. The ability to rapidly cure inks has allowed printing machinery to run at higher speeds and significantly increasing productivity.
A consequence of modern machines running at higher speeds is that they use more energy.
This generally results in the liberation of more heat. In most print applications, excess heat is a problem for the following reasons:
Chillers play an essential role in printing applications. They are vital in providing the machinery with temperature stability, which is in turn, critical to ensuring the quality and speed of production are maintained.
Most machine manufacturers circulate chilled water through the critical components to reject the unwanted heat and provide stable working temperatures.
The heat load is generally removed by circulating chilled water through the print roller or through the UV curing lamps.
Chilled rollers provide cooling directly to the product to maintain consistency of throughput. The chilled water passes through rotary unions at each end of the roller.
UV and LED lamp systems are used to create ultraviolet light that can be directed onto the printing surface. The UV light reacts with the wet ink resulting in rapid curing and drying. The UV curing method is common in modern and large print systems as the printing throughput can be significantly increased. Chilled water is typically passed through a heat-sink attached to the bulb mounts and maintains a stable operating temperature.
Larger printing systems often adopt a centralised system, where an integral heat-exchange unit is used to control the cooling of individual components in the line. An externally located chiller is then used to provide primary cooling to the integral heat-exchange unit.
The diagram below depicts a typical large printer installation. Click to enlarge.
In many instances, the complete print line is supplied by an integrator that packages a number of OEM systems to provide the customer with the required solution. Ink curing through UV lamps is commonly employed in these larger lines. Hyperchill and Hyperchill Plus chillers offer a robust and cost-effective solution and are ideally suitable to meet the cooling demands from a UV based system.
Hyperchill and Hyperchill Plus chillers deliver safe and reliable operation under the varied working conditions typically found in the printing industry.
Design features on Parker chillers can deliver significant benefits to the end-users. Some key features and benefits for printing are as follows:
This post was contributed by James Brown, compressed air and gas treatment/analytical gas sales manager, Parker Gas Separation and Filtration Division EMEA
Filippo Turra, product manager, Parker Gas Separation and Filtration Division EMEA