It appears that individuals inside the personalization business are always looking for the “next BIG thing” within our industry. Yrs ago, lasers were the “next BIG thing,” then inkjet sublimation made a huge influence on the industry. So what’s next? What magical innovation can come along that, yet again, will revolutionize the personalization industry? Could it be UV printers? The reality is, it merely could be, and here’s why.
A long time ago, computerized rotary engraving machines revolutionized the business, then lasers did the exact same thing, after which some major technological advancements in sublimation came along cementing this procedure as one of the “next BIG things.” Along the way, a number of other likely candidates cropped up, but they never quite managed to get on the “next BIG” level. I remember getting pretty enthusiastic about the AcryliPrint procedure for inexpensively printing full-color images on acrylic. It really is still an incredible process but it really never quite caught on for in-house production. Then there is the machine that printed inkjet images on glass. Again, a pretty nice product however it never really took off. Finally, there was the Enduring Images system of printing on ceramic using latte printer. I am just still holding out with this anyone to take off, but up to now, just a few passionate souls are adhering to me.
UV printing, however, seems to be taking up a life of its unique. For many years now, it provides all but dominated the trade shows with a bit of really big names getting a marked fascination with showing their printers, even though they knew these people were out from the price range for 95 percent of those walking the surface. I see these printers exhibited at big shows and small: Sign shows, personalization shows, awards shows and print shows are common hosting several manufacturers of UV printers that happen to be displaying what is apparently an increasing number of models.
Steve Gluskin, director of advertising for Rowmark’s GoVivid printers, says, “The message our company is hearing from trophy and award dealers is the fact that their clientele are searching for a new challenge. The opportunity to add color is an ideal fit to augment anything they are offering. Even the opportunity to offer ‘multi-media’ or multiple processes when making an award is very gaining interest. For instance, a laser engraved along with a UV-LED printed award adds dimension and color, and, equally as importantly, profit margin for that dealer. With the addition of UV-LED printing, the dealer will differentiate themselves from their competition.”
So what exactly is really a UV printer? Well, let’s get started with the UV part, like in ultraviolet light. UV light is definitely an invisible (for the eye) method of light located in many light sources, such as the sun. UV light has some useful characteristics, particularly the ability to cure many photosensitive materials. In the case of UV printing, a UV light source is utilized to cure (harden and solidify) the inks laid down with the printer.
UV inkjet printing is different from conventional solvent inkjet printing. Rather than having solvents within the ink that evaporate in to the air and absorb in to the substrate, UV inks are open to UV lights which can be built in the printer which quickly cure the ink to make it from a liquid to some solid. This technology has several positive aspects, including eliminating environmental and workplace medical issues, the opportunity to print on numerous types of substrates, high print speeds and a wide range of printing applications ranging from outdoor signage to golf balls.
Why then should we be so enthusiastic about this developing technology? Facts are, a couple of years ago, few individuals in our industry were very excited about this whatsoever. With price tags within the $20,000-$80,000 range, there weren’t a lot of people who could seriously think about a UV printer as an option from the beginning. But as time has gone by, the values have dropped and much more competition has come to the market, making both a much wider variety of printers and print possibilities as well as price points-even to the level that $20,000 are able to buy plenty of printer.
Today, the problem isn’t a great deal price around it really is confusion and misinformation as to what a UV printer can and cannot do, and exactly how much market there is certainly to support one.
For instance, I occasionally print a plaque using my small uv printer. The cost is almost negligible as well as the markup may be substantial, but just how many plaques are right for this technology? Remember, sublimation may also be used to make full-color plaques. The same holds true having a hundred other products including from metal plates to plastic toys. To put it briefly, much like most personalization processes, there are stuff that work best done with a UV printer and items that work best finished with other methods. UV printing isn’t an alternative for other processes, but an alternative choice to do most jobs and the best way to do a few.
I had a job recently that involved printing full-color company logos on clear acrylic. I do not know the way i could possibly have performed this with almost every other process. UV printing was perfect because I could print a solid white image to create an opaque mask about the substrate then print the total-color logo on the top of it. That’s the sort of job UV printers work great at.
Many manufacturers present an attachment for printing cylindrical items like water bottles. The RotaPrint attachment is accessible from Roland DGA Corp.
Printing on clear or dark backgrounds is definitely a challenge for many processes together with some, like sublimation, it’s just about impossible. UV printing is likewise more forgiving than other methods when it comes to the kind of substrates which it works jointly with. Sublimation, for instance, nearly always takes a special polyester-coated substrate to be effective in any way. UV printing, however, could be used to print on numerous substrates of colors, textures, sizes and shapes. But, exactly like other processes, it doesn’t focus on 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 certainly spray an adhesion agent on the substrate from the printer nozzles while along with other printers, you must hand apply it. Either way, there is no ensure the ink will bond until it can be tested.
Adhesion then, in my view, becomes the greatest symptom in the UV world since every printer manufacturer offers their own personal inks and adhesion additives, and each and every differs. This implies it is ultimately important that you test the inks and also the printer to make certain they will focus on the substrates you wish to print before you make any kind of buying decision or promises to customers.
As well as having to learn about adhesion with textile printer, also, it is critical that a prospective buyer find out about the various properties in the inks. Some companies offer multiple inks to be considered 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 this ink cured with UV light would then be UV safe and consequently I printed employment for exterior use. Unfortunately, I used to be 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 most certainly not doubt their word, it could make me cautious-once burned and all of that.