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Cast and cure – the new generation

Much has been publicised about the many holographic effects that can be produced using cast and cure films in recent years. Richard Mawson, managing director of Cyan X, explains how the film creates a holographic effect in any layer of U/V varnish it is put into contact with using a variety of applications and explores the potential impact of this technology.

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(Above and below) Cyan X says the uptake of its Breit range is on the up due to the effects it can produce

The effects can apply the necessary “holographic bling” to many substrates, but can also be used in the original forms to produce bespoke security features which would prove almost impossible to replicate on the counterfeit market.

Whilst the take up of the cast and cure effect has not been substantial, those printers embracing the product and the effects it can produce give themselves a definite USP over many other manufacturers globally. The relatively small investment and quick return on investment on the machinery needed to produce the effects, is often missed by the lack of understanding how to fully utilise the many patterns and effects that can be produced.

The new generation

Now the bar has been raised even higher by the new generation of cast and cure. Effects that can be produced with the latest generation flim types embracing newer manufacturing techniques come away from the up to now “traditional” holographic effects. Over the last 18 months the introduction of new “textured” films has changed the way cast and cure can be utilised and given designers a new challenge how they can be best incorporated into product design.

So what is different? The new generation films can now produce a textured effect using the same principle of application into wet U/V varnish but the effects available now are ones such as brushed steel, linen, and even leather effect.

Suddenly the costs of expensive materials to product “tactile” effects have been dramatically reduced

Suddenly the costs of expensive materials to product “tactile” effects have been dramatically reduced and the flexibility for printers to produce effects such as leather bound book covers and metallic effects would now offer many USP’s for clever use of design and planning.

Hidden advantages

There is another hidden advantage to the cast and cure process which will appeal to the eco-friendly campaigners in the print world. Because the effect is applied into existing varnish coverage on any substrate it cuts out the addition of a laminate film attached to the surface and the subsequent re-cycling issues that this would normally bring. Any material that is currently printed with a U/V varnish and is re-cycled can have the same rules applied after it has been subject to the cast and cure process. In addition to this the polypropylene used to produce the effects can be used up to 20 cycles in its lifetime and is not therefore a throwaway product.

The manufacturing costs are greatly reduced and the lifespan of the material makes production costs relatively small compared to any laminated product

The manufacturing costs are greatly reduced and the lifespan of the material makes production costs relatively small compared to any laminated product. Added to this the comparative savings on energy costs used to apply a laminate film such as adhesive, and heat then cast and cure has many more hidden advantages than on first glance.

What of the future?

Although still in very experimental stages, laser etch technology is constantly evolving. The resolution and definition of the lasers used to create master cylinders to manufacture the cast and cure films are getting higher and higher. Some of the security features seen on DVD’s with holographic “stamps” can hopefully be adopted onto cast and cure film to produce the same effect on demand on the range of substrates already in production, motion image may also be a possibility

As European agents for Breit cast and cure films, Cyan X have an in-depth knowledge of the application and use of cast and cure, with regular customer demonstrations and advice to potential users. With the introduction of the new effects, and a use of existing favorites such as soft touch (which gives a scuff free finish to the surface when rubbed). Cyan X can advise on the best potential for a print that becomes tactile and offers something different from the standard gloss and matt effects. More and more design houses and end users are looking at different ways to make their product stand out from the rest. One print process that is guaranteed to stand out in the pack and give a new dimension into tactile effect and finishes.
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