It would appear that people from the personalization business are always searching for the “next BIG thing” in your industry. Years back, lasers were the “next BIG thing,” then inkjet sublimation created a huge effect on the marketplace. So what’s next? What magical innovation can come along that, once more, will revolutionize the personalization industry? Is it UV printers? Facts are, it just could be, and here’s why.
A long time ago, computerized rotary engraving machines revolutionized the marketplace, then lasers did the same thing, and after that some major technological advancements in sublimation emerged cementing this procedure among the “next BIG things.” Along the way, a few other likely candidates cropped up, but they never quite managed to make it for the “next BIG” level. I recall getting pretty interested in the AcryliPrint procedure of inexpensively printing full-color images on acrylic. It really is still an excellent process however it never quite caught on for in-house production. Then there is the program that printed inkjet images on glass. Again, a fairly nice product but it never really took off. Finally, there was the Enduring Images system of printing on ceramic using coffee printer. I am just still holding out for this a person to pull off, but to date, only some passionate souls are sticking with me.
UV printing, however, appears to be taking on a life of its very own. For many years now, it has all but dominated the industry events with a bit of really big names taking a marked desire for showing their printers, whilst they knew these folks were out of your cost range 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 typical hosting several manufacturers of UV printers that are displaying what seems to be progressively more models.
Steve Gluskin, director of advertising for Rowmark’s GoVivid printers, says, “The message we have been hearing from trophy and award dealers is the fact their customers are looking for new things. The ability to add color is a perfect fit to augment whatever they are currently offering. Even the cabability to offer ‘multi-media’ or multiple processes when producing an award is really gaining interest. For example, a laser engraved along with a UV-LED printed award adds dimension and color, and, equally as importantly, profit margin for the dealer. By adding UV-LED printing, the dealer will differentiate themselves using their competition.”
So what exactly can be a UV printer? Well, let’s begin with the UV part, as with ultraviolet light. UV light is definitely an invisible (towards the eye) method of light present in many light sources, like the sun. UV light has some useful characteristics, especially the ability to cure many photosensitive materials. When it comes to UV printing, a UV light source can be used to stop (harden and solidify) the inks laid down through the printer.
UV inkjet printing is different from conventional solvent inkjet printing. Rather than having solvents inside the ink that evaporate in to the air and absorb into the substrate, UV inks are open to UV lights that are built in the printer which quickly cure the ink to turn it from the liquid to some solid. This technology has several advantages, including eliminating environmental and workplace health problems, the capability to print on numerous types of substrates, high print speeds and an array of printing applications which range from outdoor signage to golf balls.
So why should we be so interested in this developing technology? Facts are, a year or two ago, few individuals within our industry were very excited about this whatsoever. With prices inside the $20,000-$80,000 range, there weren’t a lot of people who could seriously consider a UV printer as an option in the first place. But as time has gone by, prices have dropped and a lot more competition comes to the market, making both a lot wider selection of printers and print available choices and also price points-even to the stage that $20,000 can now buy a lot of printer.
Today, the issue isn’t a whole lot price up to it is actually confusion and misinformation about what a UV printer can and cannot do, and how much market there is certainly to assist one.
For example, I occasionally print a plaque using my a4 uv printer. The charge is almost negligible as well as the markup can be substantial, so how many plaques are appropriate for this technology? Remember, sublimation can also be used to make full-color plaques. The same is true having a hundred other products including anything from metal plates to plastic toys. Simply speaking, much like most personalization processes, there are things which are the best carried out with a UV printer and stuff that would be best carried out with other methods. UV printing isn’t a substitute for other processes, but an alternative choice to do most jobs and the only way to perform a few.
I needed a task recently that involved printing full-color company logos on clear acrylic. I do not know the way i may have carried this out with any other process. UV printing was perfect because I really could print a great white image to produce an opaque mask in the substrate then print the entire-color logo in addition to it. That’s the sort of job UV printers work great at.
Many manufacturers offer an attachment for printing cylindrical items such as water bottles. The RotaPrint attachment is accessible from Roland DGA Corp.
Printing on clear or dark backgrounds is definitely a challenge for the majority of processes and with some, like sublimation, it’s almost impossible. UV printing is additionally more forgiving than other methods in relation to the particular substrates that it works jointly with. Sublimation, for example, nearly always demands a special polyester-coated substrate to work at all. UV printing, on the other hand, enables you to print on numerous substrates of most colors, textures, shapes and sizes. But, exactly like other processes, it doesn’t work with everything. In reality, there are numerous substrates that UV inks will 05dexqpky adhere to without first applying a bonding or adhesion agent. Some printers can actually spray an adhesion agent around the substrate throughout the printer nozzles while with some other printers, you should hand put it to use. In either case, there is absolutely no guarantee the ink will bond until it is actually tested.
Adhesion then, i think, becomes the greatest problem in the UV world since every printer manufacturer offers their own personal inks and adhesion additives, and every is different. What this means is it really is ultimately vital that you test the inks as well as the printer to be certain they will likely work towards the substrates you need to print before you make any sort of buying decision or promises to customers.
Together with having to discover adhesion with t-shirt printer, it is also critical that a possible buyer discover the various properties from the inks. Some companies offer multiple inks to be considered but most try to provide a “one size fits all” recipe that might or might not be right for you. At some point, I presumed that an ink cured with UV light would then be UV safe and consequently I printed work for exterior use. Unfortunately, I had been wrong and 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 will make me cautious-once burned and all of that.