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GEW unveils next generation UV monitor

With up to five sensors per lamp monitoring once a second, unprecedented control over the UV curing process can be achieved

On show at Labelexpo Americas 2018, GEW's new multi-point UV monitor ensures correct UV output throughout the production run

GEW has launched a major innovation for UV curing installations, the multi-point UV monitor, or mUVm. The company will be showcasing the technology at Labelexpo Americas.

UV monitoring consists of one or up to five sensors positioned along the length of the lamp in a UV curing system, to continuously measure the UV intensity. Effective ink curing depends upon a guaranteed output from the lamp and reflector system and this new device is calibrated to monitor UV output with high accuracy, enabling the operator to ensure that undercured product does not reach the customer. GEW’s UV monitor is described by the company as a ‘highly reliable and cost-effective solution’ for production monitoring of UV intensity at multiple positions across the web. This enables the user to ensure the correct UV output at any point across the product and throughout the production run, to eliminate the possibility of inadequate UV output.

A simple user interface displays the UV output of the lamps on the GEW Rhino system touchscreen and alarms can be set to warn when the output gets too low or too high, to ensure exactly the right UV energy level is applied. With up to five sensors per lamp monitoring once a second, unprecedented control over the UV curing process can be achieved. As a result, potential waste is eliminated and efficiency is improved.

The GEW mUVm also enables the user to easily see when UV lamps reach end of life. Accurate UV outputs determine when to change lamps to extend their life, while saving energy by reducing lamp running power, without risking undercured product.

Low migration

In the label and packaging industry, printing with low migration inks is increasingly becoming a requirement. Low migration inks are designed to support the safe production of food contact packaging by avoiding the possibility of harmful components within the ink formulation from contaminating the products to which the labels or packaging materials are applied. For the successful production of a safe product, the whole production process must be carefully controlled, and printers need to be able to ensure the correct UV energy level is always applied on each and every job.

With mUVm it is possible to attain 100 percent UV inspection for every batch, and to generate a UV curing certificate by recording live UV outputs for every lamp. Detailed monitoring data reports are transmitted to the customer as a data file, or – with the use of an API – the customer can view live information and reporting, online.

Multi-point monitors are available for the measurement of broad spectrum UV output for labeling and packaging, or for the measurement of UVC output for special manufacturing processes such as hot melt adhesive curing and silicon release liner production. In either form they enable the control of UV exposure from edge to edge of process width to give uniform curing across the web, enabling the consistent production of high quality and safely cured finished products.

GEW is a member of the UVFoodSafe initiative, a group of leading European manufacturers who have partnered to promote the use of UV inks and varnishes for food contact packaging. The multi-point UV monitor is designed to comply with European legislation on food contact packaging, including Framework Regulation (EC) 1935/2004 article 3; Good Manufacturing Practice Regulation (EC) 2023/2006; Plastics Regulation (EU) 10/2011 and Swiss Ordinance SR 817.023.21.

‘Every UV monitor is uniquely serialized and traceable to German PTB standards, offering a solid reassurance of their precise accuracy,’ says Robert Rae, technology development manager. ‘They are designed to perform in a broad range of ambient temperatures, from 5 to 40 degrees Celsius and up to 80 percent relative humidity, with no effect on the sensor readings. The calibration certainty is very high and the sensors record UV output with a measurement delivered in mW/cm2.’

Brian Wenger, president at GEW Inc, adds: ‘We have developed the mUVm to consistently perform in a busy production environment. Here UV monitors will be subject to ink particles and dust. With this in mind, the GEW mUVm has been engineered with filtered compressed air purging to prevent dirt and dust ingress, keeping the sensor window clear. The unit has been designed to be simple to clean and maintain with an easily removable optical assembly, and the annual recalibration by an ISO certified laboratory will ensure the optimum performance of the unit.

‘It can easily be retrofitted on any GEW Rhino system, immediately enabling the user to ensure 100 percent effective curing across the web and to create the necessary data records to comply with legislation, particularly with regard to food contact packaging. Now that the hard work is done, we look forward to having the opportunity to show off the new multi-point monitor at Labelexpo Americas.’

James Quirk


James Quirk is group managing editor of Labels & Labeling.

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