Also known as Ultra Violet printing, UV printing uses formulated UV ink on a range of print materials. The printer places the UV ink on the print material and a UV light follows closely behind. The purpose of this special UV light is to act as a catalyst, cure, and dry the ink. Due to the catalyzation, the ink dries instantly. This is a chemical process known as polymerization.
Well, you might be surprised where this technique started – in the cosmetics industry. Some hawk-eyed inventors realized the sheer benefits of UV light. That it was helping cure and dry nail polish within seconds after application. Hence, they borrowed the idea to help increase the scale of production in the printing world.
But let’s get to the details!
How Does UV Printing Work?
If you’re still wondering how the UV light works to cure the in instantly, we got you. The printing ink has monomers and polymers that react very fast to UV light. Monomers are small molecules found in a substrate (such as ink). These small molecules fuse together to form polymers. The polymers react very fast to UV light and don’t have a chance to expand. Instead, they dry instantly.
This makes UV printing one of the best printing technologies so far. The instant drying of the ink brings out ultra-fine details and high resolution. If this isn’t reason enough for you to try out UV printing, let’s talk about the benefits. In a nutshell, UV ink doesn’t easily fade away like solvent printing. Besides, they are more environmental-friendly compared to the latter. They give off fewer volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and are odorless.
What Happens If You Use Non-LED Bulbs?
The use of non-LED bulbs will result in a lot of heat during printing. This is due to the high intensity of the UV light. This might not bring the best results, especially if you’re using thick materials. Thick materials are more likely to warp when heat is applied. The heated side will be hotter than the other side. This will cause the corners of the print to lift, detaching from the build plate.
Keep off The Heat
After getting a glimpse of how much heat can tone down your printing, let’s see what you can do. By all means, avoid heat with UV LED printers, whether flatbed or roll to roll. In other words, make sure you don’t use non-LED light bulbs with UV printing. In this way, your printing process will be seamless without bending or warping issues.
Materials to Use With A UV Printer
Such a teched-up printing technique can only be efficient if you can use different materials. Besides paper and cardboard, you can print on tiles, metals, and glass. You can also go in with Perspex, wood, Dibond, and Correx.
The ink sits just above the surface without soaking into the material. This is why the finished print will feel sort of rough.
Advantages of UV Printing
UV prints have shaped the printing and packaging world. Here are a few benefits of UV printer machines in production:
- Fast turnaround times: UV printers are generally faster than solvent printers. Besides being able to print in a short time, the ink also dries the minute it’s placed on the material. This results in faster production because you don’t have to wait for the ink to dry. Therefore, the average number of UV prints in a day is more than in solvent printing.
- Saves you money: Conventional printing techniques for packaging, require aqueous coatings. This is never needed with UV printers. Besides, the fast drying time means faster output. So you can make quick delivery of your packages which brings more revenue.
- Wider scope of printing applications: This is because LEDs have a minimal heat output. So, you’re safe to use heat-sensitive printing materials like self-adhesive materials. You can also use stretched PVC materials and thin glass slides.
- Super fine finish: This is what makes possible photo-realistic printing. UV printers don’t give time for the ink to soak or chemically combine with the material. Hence, the finer details of the print are highlighted.
UV printing is the future of the printing and packaging industry. Not just for its affordability and environmental friendliness. This technology is increasing production and output.
Remember to use the right material for the prints to come out as desired. Also, avoid using non-LED bulbs to reduce the chances of warping or bending.
Use this link to about how you can apply UV printing to your specific business. The guide will also lead you to get the best printing machine in the market. Read more.