New investment of £180,000 in Heraeus Carbon Infra Red Emitters Allow GI Solutions To Dry Inks at High Speed.

An investment of £180,000 in Carbon infra-red (CIR) emitters from Heraeus Noblelight have allowed GI Solutions to achieve the rapid drying of water-based inks at line speeds of up to1000 ft/min (300m/min) on printing machines at their Leicester factory.

GI Solutions offers every aspect of modern communications, including imaginative personalised direct mail, secure transactional mail and electoral campaign mail, as well as e-mail and multi-channel communications options. It invests in the latest technology in both printing machines and printing heads. For example, high volume personalisation runs are carried out using Kodak Versa Mark technology, where printing heads can print at up to 1000 ft/min (300m.min). It is essential that this ink is dried completely and quickly to ensure high resolution, final quality.

Infra-red (IR) drying is a technology used throughout the printing sector. After extensive tests, it was demonstrated that Carbon Infra-Red from Heraeus Noblelight was the best technology for their application. Ian Bartley, of Heraeus explains why, “The Versa Mark inks used by GI Solutions are water-based and water molecules most readily absorb IR energy when it is radiated in wavelengths between 2 and 4 microns and CIR has a peak wavelength of 2 micron and radiates most of its energy in the 2 to 4 micron range.”

The 288 kW CIR drying system installed at the Leicester factory comprises two drying units, one fitted to a new vertical tower and one fitted horizontally to allow drying of duplex (two-sided) printing. Each unit is fully enclosed with its own air exhaust module and each is fitted with eighteen 8kW CIR emitters, which can be switched on in banks of three to optimise power if only a few printing heads are used. The control panel features two sets of controls, which allow separate regulation of each unit, either by a 0-100% potentiometer or via an optical pyrometer, which measures the exit temperatures of the web.

Since installation, the total CIR system is already proving its worth. As Ifor Pedley, Operations Director at GI Solutions, explains, “To meet the challenge of running our inlines at high speeds and, at the same time, reducing costs and improving quality, we introduced a number of initiatives including the CIR drying system. Energy costs have been substantially reduced compared with the old system, as the power requirements are considerably less because of the efficiency of CIR in removing water. In addition, as the ink is now dried before it has a chance to be absorbed by the paper, quality in terms of sharpness of image has been improved. And this drying can be effected at speeds up to 1000 ft/min on both silk and gloss papers. We have enjoyed other benefits in terms of a better environment, as temperatures in the immediate environment of the presses are now a lot lower, which makes access for personnel a lot easier and, as we run at lower, but more efficient, power levels, there is no need for cumbersome water cooling of the system. We are also pleased at the fast response of the emitters, which means we do not have paper spoilage due to overheating when we have unexpected line stoppages. In fact, the system has been so successful that we are looking forward to installing an identical system on a second line later in 2013.”

Heraeus specialises in the production and application of high quality energy sources covering the electro-magnetic spectrum from ultraviolet to infra-red. It has over 40 years experience in infra-red technology and offers the expertise, products and systems to provide efficient and effective solutions to drying, heating and curing problems throughout industry.

Curing problems throughout industry.

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showing the horizontal and vertical CIR drying systems at GI Solutions, can be obtained from Dave Jervis at Quantum

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