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UV-A LED Strips for Curing Etching Plates
I want to build a UV exposure unit to cure Tojobo Photopolymer etching plates using your 365nm realUV™LED strips. My largest plates are size A2 (16.5” x 23.735”) so I designed a grid of strips (about 12 meters) that covers that area as follows:
Strip length 500mm, Strip separation 13.75mm, Number of strips 22
Would this number of lights and arrangement work to expose photopolymer gravure plates?
We don't have any data or experience for this particular application, unfortunately, but we have had customers report success with our UV LED strip lights (particularly the 365 nm versions) for various curing applications, so I do believe that this should be a viable approach in concept.
The biggest unknown, from my perspective, is the required UV irradiance levels for a satisfactorily fast cure time. If you have any data on the photopolymer material using as far as their recommended irradiance or dosage levels, that may help us provide some additional guidance in terms of irradiance needs.
Is the proposed strip separation a problem for even illumination of the plate at about 2-3"?
The LEDs emit UV radiation at a 120-degree angle. This generally means that the LED strips should not be spaced farther apart than the distance away from the irradiance surface. In other words, if the exposure irradiance surface is 2-3 inches away, the LED strip lights should not be spaced farther than 2-3 inches per row.
Your proposed LED "strip separation" indicates 13.75 mm which works out to approximately half an inch, and furthermore dividing the 22 rows across 23.735 inches, we would not significantly exceed 1 inch between LED strip rows (on center), so I think we are well within the limits and should not be concerned about uneven irradiation.
Is this calculation correct?
Yes, the LED strip lights require 14.4 watts per meter, so the entire 12-meter section will need 173 watts, and the 350-watt power supply should be a great option for your needs.
Is this bus topology OK with your strips and the required power in my project? The copper power bus makes the soldering clean but I am not sure if it is safe (not sure where to get them either).
The proposed bus topology is perfectly fine from an electrical standpoint. In fact, this is probably the only feasible way for such an installation requiring a relatively high current draw, as the maximum LED strip run length is 5 meters (your proposal has a maximum run length of only 0.5 meters x 22 rows, so we are OK here since you are taking a parallel bus connection approach).
We don't have any specific recommendations, but I do know solar panel assemblies require a similarly high current carrying capacity, so that might be an area that could be worth looking into.
As far as safety is concerned, since we are using a 12-volt DC, the electric shock risk here is relatively low. The only potential concern would be high heat buildup, which may be caused by improper or loose wire connections, so we would recommend checking to make sure you do not see any unexpected behavior or hotspots during operation.
Question posted under:
Ultraviolet (curing, emulsion)UV-A LED strip lights