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Jun 17th, 2013
 
Curing puts UV LED sector in good health
 
Heraeus Noblelight, IST METZ, Luminus Devices, Nichia and SemiLEDs reveal strong demand for UV-A LEDs and systems that use them to Andy Extance and iLED
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As you walk around any city, many of the sights that confront you owe their existence to ultraviolet lamps. The adverts and posters that plaster walls across the world rely on inks that are made resilient against their environment by lamps shining light with UV wavelengths. LEDs in the UV range from 365-405 nm have started to displace the lamps exploiting toxic mercury previously used to trigger this chemical reaction, known as curing.

Today they are also helping manufacturers of some of today’s most popular electronic products speed up production and lower costs. But to best use UV LEDs, curing system producers and users also face the challenge of adjusting to their unfamiliar characteristics.

Tokushima, Japan’s Nichia is the leading UV LED supplier, and has watched their growing exploitation since releasing its first products in 2003. “There have been three phases of UV LED growth so far,” explained Jiro Ono, Deputy General Manager responsible for sales and business planning for these devices at Nichia. “The first was printing, which was the early adopter of UV LEDs, and is still shifting from mercury lamps to UV LEDs. That is mainly for commercial printing of outdoor advertisements, and the huge posters that you see on buildings or buses. Regular ink gets dirty, or gets wet and washes away, so they have to use UV-cured ink. The printing industry is the largest sector for UV LEDs right now, it’s solidly established.”

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