It appears that people inside the personalization business are usually trying to find the “next BIG thing” within our industry. Yrs ago, lasers were the “next BIG thing,” then inkjet sublimation produced a huge impact on the market. So what’s next? What magical innovation can come along that, once again, will revolutionize the personalization industry? Could it be UV printers? The reality is, it really may be, and here’s why.
A long time ago, computerized rotary engraving machines revolutionized the marketplace, then lasers did exactly the same thing, then some major technological advancements in sublimation emerged cementing this process as among the “next BIG things.” In the process, other likely candidates cropped up, nevertheless they never quite made it for the “next BIG” level. I recall getting pretty excited about the AcryliPrint process of inexpensively printing full-color images on acrylic. It is still an excellent process nevertheless it never quite caught on for in-house production. Then there seemed to be the system that printed inkjet images on glass. Again, quite a nice product nevertheless it never really took off. Finally, there was clearly the Enduring Images system of printing on ceramic using latte printer. I am just still holding out for this a person to take off, but so far, just one or two passionate souls are sticking with me.
UV printing, however, appears to be undertaking a life of its unique. For quite some time now, they have all but dominated the industry events with a bit of really big names getting a marked curiosity about showing their printers, though they knew these folks were from the range of prices for 95 percent of those walking a floor. I see these printers exhibited at big shows and small: Sign shows, personalization shows, awards shows and print shows are hosting several manufacturers of UV printers which are displaying what seems to be an increasing number of models.
Steve Gluskin, director of promoting for Rowmark’s GoVivid printers, says, “The message we are hearing from trophy and award dealers is their clientele are looking for a new challenge. The capability to add color is an ideal fit to enhance whatever they are offering. Even the opportunity to offer ‘multi-media’ or multiple processes when designing an award is very gaining interest. For example, a laser engraved as well as a UV-LED printed award adds dimension and color, and, just like importantly, profit margin for the dealer. With the help of UV-LED printing, the dealer will differentiate themselves using their competition.”
So what is a UV printer? Well, let’s start with the UV part, as with ultraviolet light. UV light is surely an invisible (on the eye) method of light located in many light sources, such as the sun. UV light has some useful characteristics, in particular the ability to cure many photosensitive materials. In the matter of UV printing, a UV light source is commonly used to stop (harden and solidify) the inks laid down from the printer.
UV inkjet printing differs from conventional solvent inkjet printing. Rather than having solvents from the ink that evaporate in to the air and absorb in the substrate, UV inks are subjected to UV lights that happen to be included in the printer which quickly cure the ink to transform it from your liquid into a solid. This technology has several advantages, including eliminating environmental and workplace medical issues, the opportunity to print on a wide variety of substrates, high print speeds and a wide array of printing applications which range from outdoor signage to golf balls.
Why should we be so enthusiastic about this developing technology? Truth is, a year or two ago, few people inside our industry were very excited about this at all. With price tags inside the $20,000-$80,000 range, there weren’t many people who could think about a UV printer for an option to start with. But as time has passed, prices have dropped and more competition has come in to the market, making both a far wider selection of printers and print possibilities and also price points-even to the level that $20,000 may now buy a lot of printer.
Today, the problem isn’t a whole lot price as much as it can be confusion and misinformation about what a UV printer can and cannot do, and just how much market there exists to back up one.
As an example, I occasionally print a plaque using my uv printer. The fee is almost negligible along with the markup might be substantial, but exactly how many plaques are suitable for this technology? Remember, sublimation could also be used to create full-color plaques. The same is true having a hundred other products including anything from metal plates to plastic toys. In short, similar to most personalization processes, you can find stuff that are the best done with a UV printer and things that would be best finished with other methods. UV printing isn’t another one for other processes, but an alternative choice to do most jobs and the best way to conduct a few.
I had work recently that involved printing full-color company logos on clear acrylic. I do not know the way i could possibly have done this with every other process. UV printing was perfect because I was able to print a good white image to create an opaque mask around the substrate then print the entire-color logo on top of it. That’s the level of job UV printers work great at.
Many manufacturers provide an attachment for printing cylindrical items like water bottles. The RotaPrint attachment is offered from Roland DGA Corp.
Printing on clear or dark backgrounds can be quite a challenge for almost all processes along with some, for example sublimation, it’s almost impossible. UV printing can also be more forgiving than other methods when it comes to the sort of substrates that it works jointly with. Sublimation, for instance, nearly always takes a special polyester-coated substrate to work at all. UV printing, alternatively, can be used to print on a wide variety of substrates of all colors, textures, sizes and shapes. But, the same as other processes, it doesn’t focus on everything. In reality, there are several substrates that UV inks will 05dexqpky adhere to without first applying a bonding or adhesion agent. Some printers can actually spray an adhesion agent on the substrate throughout the printer nozzles while with many other printers, you should hand apply it. In any event, there is not any guarantee the ink will bond until it is tested.
Adhesion then, in my view, becomes the biggest symptom in the UV world since every printer manufacturer offers their own personal inks and adhesion additives, and each and every is unique. This implies it is ultimately crucial that you test the inks and the printer to ensure they will likely work on the substrates you would like to print prior to making just about any decision or offers to customers.
Together with having to discover adhesion with t-shirt printer, also, it is essential that a prospective buyer read about the various properties of the inks. Some companies offer multiple inks that need considering but many try to provide a “one size fits all” recipe that might or might not meet your needs. At the same time, I presumed that an ink cured with UV light would then be UV safe and consequently I printed employment for exterior use. Unfortunately, I found myself wrong and also the signs faded into nothingness within months. Lesson learned? Well, some printer manufacturers claim their inks are UV safe and although I might not necessarily doubt their word, it would cause me to cautious-once burned and that.