How will your investment stand up to the test of time?
Q-Lab is the world leader in lightstability and weathering test equipment and test services for the printing and graphic arts industries. Any items that see sunlight, moisture, and heat are subject to the damaging forces of weathering, while indoor materials are exposed to artificial lighting and sunlight through windows.
Will your graphics and products retain their color and appearance under sunlight? Indoor lighting? For how long? Does your new raw material supplier have the same quality as your previous one? Has something changed in your process that might affect its lightstability? Don't guess when you can test.
Q-Lab serves hundreds of disparate customers in dozens of industries that relate to printing and graphic arts. They are interested in weathering, lightfastness, and photostability of their products. This includes:
- Printing inks
- Inkjet technology
- Paper and other printing media
- Dyes and pigments
- Art media - pencils, inks, paints, and charcoals
- Digital photography
- Retail signage
Store and retail display lighting conditions are often simulated in the QUV/cw lightstability test chamber. This is a specialized version of the world's most widely used weathering tester, which is used to expose paints, plastics and many other materials to sunlight's harmful ultraviolet rays. The QUV/cw uses standard cool white fluorescent lamps similar to those used in many indoor lighting systems to provide a realistic simulation of typical indoor lighting conditions. Because of the Solar Eye Irradiance Control system and close proximity between the lamps and specimen plane, the QUV/cw delivers 20-50 times higher irradiance than normal indoor lighting conditions. For indoor applications where sunlight through a window may cause colors to fade, the Q-SUN xenon test chamber is a popular choice because of its accurate sunlight simulation and versatile, easy-to-use flat specimen tray. For outdoor applications, the Q-SUN simulates direct sunlight and moisture.
Q-Lab's accelerated weathering and lightstability testers simulate the primary light and weathering conditions that degrade all types of printing and graphics arts products, allowing our customers to accurately reproduce typical failure modes, including:
- Fading and color change
- Loss of adhesion and delamination
- Yellowing of substrates and printing media
While accelerated lightstability and weathering chambers are a key weapon in the fight against the forces of sunlight, heat, and moisture, nothing beats the real thing: outdoor testing in one of Q-Lab's benchmark outdoor testing facilities. Q-Lab's South Florida and Arizona Desert sites provide the ultimate test of your product's outdoor durability using natural conditions. In addition, outdoor under glass tests are common for indoor materials that are susceptible to degradation from sunlight coming in through windows.
The interaction between inks and substrates can sometimes affect performance. These samples are being tested in an Xe-1 xenon arc chamber.
Currency manufacturers have stringent requirements for color fade and often test using Q-Lab equipment.
Ink-jet samples here are undergoing outdoor, under-glass testing in Q-Lab Florida.
Several test standards exist to ensure lightfastness and colorfastness of artist pencils and paints.
Photo paper and other graphic arts specimens being tested for fading in a Q-SUN Xe-3 tester.
Printing inks are often tested behind window glass for resistance to sunlight. These samples are being tested in Q-Lab Arizona.