It seems that individuals in the personalization business will almost always be looking for your “next BIG thing” inside our industry. Years ago, lasers were the “next BIG thing,” then inkjet sublimation made a huge influence on the industry. So what’s next? What magical innovation arrive along that, again, will revolutionize the personalization industry? Could it be UV printers? Truth is, it simply might be, and here’s why.
Many years ago, computerized rotary engraving machines revolutionized the, then lasers did the same, and then some major technological advancements in sublimation arrived cementing this process as one with the “next BIG things.” Along the way, other likely candidates cropped up, however they never quite made it on the “next BIG” level. I remember getting pretty pumped up about the AcryliPrint means of inexpensively printing full-color images on acrylic. It is still an incredible process however it never quite caught on for in-house production. Then there was the system that printed inkjet images on glass. Again, a fairly nice product nevertheless it never really shot to popularity. Finally, there is the Enduring Images system of printing on ceramic using coffee printer. I am still ready for this you to definitely take off, but to date, just a few passionate souls are sticking to me.
UV printing, however, seems to be taking on a life of its very own. For several years now, it has all but dominated the trade events with some really big names going for a marked interest in showing their printers, even though they knew these folks were out of the budget for 95 percent of the people walking the floor. I see these printers exhibited at big shows and small: Sign shows, personalization shows, awards shows and print shows are all hosting several manufacturers of UV printers which can be displaying what is apparently an increasing number of models.
Steve Gluskin, director of marketing for Rowmark’s GoVivid printers, says, “The message we’re hearing from trophy and award dealers is that their customers are looking for something new. The capability to add color is an ideal fit to augment what they are currently offering. Even the capacity to offer ‘multi-media’ or multiple processes when creating an award is really gaining interest. For example, a laser engraved along with a UV-LED printed award adds dimension and color, and, just like importantly, profit margin for the dealer. By adding UV-LED printing, the cafe dealer will differentiate themselves off their competition.”
So what exactly is often a UV printer? Well, let’s focus on the UV part, like ultraviolet light. UV light is definitely an invisible (on the eye) way of light seen in many light sources, including the sun. UV light has some useful characteristics, especially the capability to cure many photosensitive materials. In true of UV printing, a UV light is used for stopping (harden and solidify) the inks laid down by the printer.
The iUV-600XL from Graphics One, Inc. includes a large flatbed table. Direct Color Systems’ flagship printer, the 1024UVMVP15, can handle a maximum substrate thickness of 15″.
UV inkjet printing differs from conventional solvent inkjet printing. Instead of having solvents inside ink that evaporate in to the air and absorb in to the substrate, UV inks experience UV lights which might be built to the printer which quickly cure the ink to turn it coming from a liquid with a solid. This technology has many perks, including eliminating environmental and workplace health problems, the capacity to print on a wide number of substrates, high print speeds as well as a wide range of printing applications starting from outdoor signage to golf balls.
So why should we be so looking forward to this developing technology? Truth is, 12 months or two ago, few people in your industry were very excited about this in any respect. With price tags inside $20,000-$80,000 range, there weren’t lots of people who could consider a UV printer as a possible option inside first place. But as the passed, the prices have dropped plus much more competition has come into the market, making both a much wider variety of printers and print solutions as well as price points—even towards the point that $20,000 can buy a lot of printer.
Today, the situation isn’t much price up to it is confusion and misinformation about what a UV printer can and cannot do, and the way much market there is to support one.
For instance, I occasionally print a plaque using uv printer. The cost is practically negligible as well as the markup can be substantial, so how many plaques are appropriate just for this technology? Remember, sublimation can also be used to create full-color plaques. The same is true using a hundred other products including sets from metal plates to plastic toys. In short, there’s personalization processes, you can find things that are best done which has a UV printer and things that are best done with other methods. UV printing isn’t a substitute for other processes, but an alternative to do most jobs along with the only way to perform a few.
I had employment recently that involved printing full-color company logos on clear acrylic. I have no idea how I may have done this with some other process. UV printing was perfect because I could print an excellent white image to generate an opaque mask around the substrate and after that print the full-color logo on top of it. That’s the type of job UV printers are really good at.
Many manufacturers offer an attachment for printing cylindrical items such as water bottles. The RotaPrint attachment is available from Roland DGA Corp.
Printing on clear or dark backgrounds may be quite a challenge for the majority of processes and by incorporating, including sublimation, it’s nearly impossible. UV printing can be more forgiving than other methods when it comes on the type of substrates that it works with. Sublimation, for instance, often requires a special polyester-coated substrate to work in any way. UV printing, about the other hand, may be used to print with a wide selection of substrates of colors, textures, shapes and sizes. But, much like other processes, it doesn’t focus on everything. In fact, you can find many substrates that UV inks won’t adhere to without first applying a bonding or adhesion agent. Some printers can spray an adhesion agent around the substrate with the printer nozzles while along with other printers, you should hand put it on. Either way, there exists no be sure that the ink will bond until it’s tested.
Adhesion then, i believe, becomes the largest problem in the UV world since every printer manufacturer offers their particular inks and adhesion additives, and each is different. This means it really is ultimately important that you test the two inks along with the printer to make certain they will work about the substrates you would like to print prior to making any kind of buying decision or promises to customers.
Along with having to understand about adhesion with UV inks, it can be also critical that a potential buyer discover the various properties from the inks. Some companies offer multiple inks to be considered but most try to offer a “one size fits all” recipe which could or might not exactly work for you. At one time, I presumed that the ink cured with UV light would then be UV safe and thus I printed employment for exterior use. Unfortunately, I was wrong along with the signs faded into nothingness within months. Lesson learned? Well, some printer manufacturers claim their inks are UV safe and although I would definitely not doubt their word, it would make me cautious—once burned and that.
One in the most popular features of UV printers recently has been the introduction of cylindrical devices for printing items like water bottles. I believe that cylindrical items are offered being an option for every printer with sufficient throat to match one. This brings a minimum of two questions in to the light: One, how user-friendly will be the software for starting a cylindrical job and, two, do I need another specialized ink? Although metal water bottles might be successfully printed with a lot of UV inks, there is really a different story with plastic bottles that could be squeezed. These demand a flexible ink, so some in the printer manufacturers now produce an ink that stretches around 200 percent.
The flexible ink option opens other applications, such as printing banners. Magnetic signs are another possibility and a few manufacturers have built their printers so you’ll find no paramagnetic (steel) parts that will interfere with printing a magnetic material.
With the great number of inks available, a major decision you have to make is choosing the best ink for your applications. Inks can’t easily be changed so once an ink is selected you are pretty much tied to it for that duration. Ink changes are possible if you thoroughly clean the printer, but this can be time-consuming which is not appropriate for job-to-job use.
Inks are usually specific to the manufacturer, and so are the print heads and rails (the bars the heads and UV light run using). Some companies manufacture their own print heads and rails, while many others use assemblies using their company inkjet manufacturers, for example Ricoh and Epson. Depending about the print head, the printer could possibly be capable of varying the size of the ink dot from as low as a couple of picoliters to just as much as 20 picoliters. By varying the dot size, the printers are better able to manipulate ink density, which ends up in sharper images and colors that smoothly change from one shade to an alternative. Variable-dot printing is controlled by firmware from within the printer as well as software.
All UV printers come with many kind of RIP (Raster Image Processor) software to operate a vehicle and control these firmware options. Usually, the RIP software packages are developed by the manufacturer to get a specific printer and has various functions, for example translating images from your computer into raster devspky91 for the printer and enhancing color consistency. Although you might not be able to talk and understand RIPs in different great detail, you can view the results within the printed image, like vivid reds, bright white and the ability to smoothly transition derived from one of color to another. When you’re considering investing in a printer, it’s crucial to look closely, compare results and get questions if you notice something that doesn’t look right. If it doesn’t look right in the demo, it won’t look right when you invest in it home!
So where will be the money in UV printers? What kinds of products produce enough resume make them worth the $20,000 to $80,000 or maybe more investment attached to these devices? It couldn’t come to be the power to make one-up products as will be the case with sublimation. Clearly, UV is to the bulk production shop. Although 1,000 water bottles could possibly be personalized because they are printed, the contribution in the textile printer is printing a lot of products with the same imprint—what we’ll call production.