Empire Screen Printing leads Industry in sustainable production with development of UV LED Ink Curing Technology
Inspired to keep employees safe and reduce pollution, Empire works with suppliers to develop environmentally friendly press
Empire Screen Printing, a nationally recognized manufacturer of screen-printed products, leads the industry in environmentally-friendly practices thanks to the UV LED ink curing technology it has pioneered over the last decade. Empire’s leadership works with suppliers throughout the industry to replace traditional solvent-based inks and mercury UV-cured inks with a more sustainable option.
Developed to replace UV curing via mercury bulbs, UV LED curing technology is now used across 80% of Empire’s business. UV LED is 98% more energy efficient than traditional UV mercury curing. The combination of UV and LED in the manufacturing process doesn’t produce ozone emissions or harmful volatile organic compounds (VOCs), eliminating the need for ventilation systems to cope with irritants and pollutants. The curing process uses light, instead of heat, allowing the company to print on thinner substrates and eliminate material distortion.
“Now that we’ve developed this LED curing technology, we’ve learned that there is simply no downside to sustainable printing and production,” said John Freismuth, president of Empire Screen Printing. “The end product is of the same or greater quality, which, thanks to our ongoing process improvements, is exceptionally high.”
With their exclusive registration system, Empire’s UV LED press holds mechanical tolerances of .001” and can hold color-to-color registration between .005” – .007”. This greatly improves efficiency in quality and lead times for customers.
The UV LED ink curing technology has many advantages. The most important being this technology provides a healthy working environment for employees. Another advantage is the reduction in energy and HVAC demands on the company. The overall cost to run these presses is significantly reduced, allowing Empire to invest back into the company.
“The benefits to our manufacturing process and the cost savings are great side effects to achieving our primary goal of protecting employees,” Freismuth said. “By taking steps to protect our employees, we have also managed to protect the environment and provide sustainably printed products to customers. The efficient processes we’ve developed means we can offer more environmentally-friendly products to our customers without any additional cost.”