Greater energy efficiency has long topped the list of development goals for IST METZ GmbH. The new product generation of the MBS UV system, to be presented by the company for the first time at Labelexpo Europe 2011, will represent the progress made in the sustained improvement of economic energy use.
The first major success attributed to Nürtingen's UV specialists was in 2005 when they presented the MBS-5 at Labelexpo, the predecessor to MBS-6. Compared to other UV units regarded as standard at the time, the new unit type generated up to 40% more UV energy on the substrate surface.
Increasing efficiency to reduce costs
IST METZ has since worked hard on this development and has been able to significantly increase efficiency levels once again. The MBS-6 system, for example, requires a lamp output of just 120 W/cm in order to achieve the same drying results as standard UV units which require up to 200 W/cm. This has primarily been achieved through the optimisation of individual components such as reflectors, lamps and electronic components, all of which are perfectly coordinated with each other and which have been developed and manufactured in-house.
The rising oil and energy prices were already an issue six years ago, with the industry calling for the conservation of depleting resources. Today, the situation has once again been exacerbated due to, among other things, the recent global economic crisis or the recently introduced energy revolution. Global energy consumption continues to rise, taking energy prices with it. "As the energy costs for label printing represent a far from insignificant percentage of production costs, intelligent solutions are required so that this cost pool doesn't get out of hand or, better yet, can be reduced," explains IST METZ Managing Director, Dirk Jägers. "The new MBS-6 makes it possible for users to conserve resource in production. The energy saved thus has a direct influence on the company electricity bill and opens up possibilities for reducing production costs."
The following example shows just how much potential for saving there is. As an starting basis, we have an eight-colour press with 3,000 production hours per annum. Lamp length is 450 mm and the electricity rate has been fixed at 0.12 euro per kW/h. Using conventional UV technology and a lamp output of 200 W/cm, annual electricity costs come to 25,920 euro. If the lamp output is reduced to 120 W/cm following a changeover to MBS-6, electricity costs for UV curing on this print line fall to 15,552 euro which means a saving of 10,368 euro each year. Despite the lower lamp output, there is no change to quality or process productivity.
New reflector technology
According to IST METZ, the recent increase in efficiency can be traced back to a series of innovative solutions. There has been key progress made, for example, with the newly developed reflectors that boast URS Duo Technology. A combination of special URS and URS-A reflectors allows for a considerably higher degree of reflection. Furthermore, raytracing technology has been used to change the geometry of the reflectors to facilitate their use in label printing. In contrast to conventional reflectors, the URS series from IST METZ comprises what are known as cold light reflectors which have more than 60 different metallic oxide layers. They ensure that the infrared radiation is conducted via the coating directly to the air-cooled aluminium profile. Thanks to the specially designed rotary reflector, the MBS-6 system boasts a very compact design and can thus be integrated into label printing machines without a problem. The dryer is easily accessible at all times for any maintenance work. The standard features of the MBS-6 UV system with ELC electronic power supply device offer further potential for saving energy. The intelligent electronics allow for a smooth, step-less dimming of the UV lamp and the clever, compact ELC stacking concept allows space requirements to be reduced by up to 50%.
It is not only energy-saving production which provides cost advantages but also a more efficient use of the machine. Bearing this in mind the MBS®-6 UV system has been designed to reduce machine downtimes. Playing a part here is the wireless FLC UV lamp system, enabling the user to remove the UV lamp from the lamp unit in just one movement. It is thus possible to change a lamp in a matter of seconds.
The MBS-6 unit has also been designed as a quick-change cassette. As all supply connections couple automatically, it is possible to simply slide the unit into the machine. For the purpose of maintenance work, the inner housing can be removed from the outer housing without touching a single screw and all components in the unit can be easily accessed. This means less effort is required for maintenance and cleaning, an advantage also boasted by the unit's improved cooling system. Thanks to the reduced lamp output of 120 W/cm, it was possible to make adjustments to the air flow and exhaust air quantities that meant less contamination of the lamp and reflector. Furthermore, the standard preparation of the MBS-6 units for UV measurement using the portable UMS-2 measurement device offers an uncomplicated way of monitoring output and thus helps to avoid machine downtimes.
The MBS-6 system has been classified as being particularly energy efficient by the Professional Association for Printing and Paper Processing (BG ETEM) and may now display the "energy-minimised UV printing" label. Furthermore, as the first system of its class, it has received the DGUV Test Seal of Approval (German statutory accident insurance, formerly BG Mark), a legally regulated and internationally recognised symbol for product safety.