Before I list the advantages of UV printers let me say a little bit about what UV printers are. If you already know what a UV printer is and how it works, you can skip ahead.
Unlike solvent ink printers that use an evaporative process to cure ink to a substrate, often using heat to speed the process, UV printers cure almost instantaneously when exposed to Ultra Violet light. When UV reaches the print a chemical in the ink, called a photoinitiator, turns the ink into a film that adheres to the substrate.
So, what are the advantages and when should UV ink be used?
Advantages of UV Printers
As I said earlier, UV ink cures almost immediately, unlike solvent inks, which use an evaporative process that can be time-consuming, there is no time needed to heat, cure, or gas out the print when using UV photoinitiator inks.
Some of the solvents used to adhere ink to a surface can be harmful to the environment. Although the amounts of solvent are usually not dangerous, UV virtually has no solvents or harmful chemicals.
The surfaces on which solvent ink may be printed are limited. Most often solvent inks are used on paper or vinyl. UV can be directly printed on plastic, wood, and aluminum.
Flatbed UV printers can print on substrates up to two inches thick. Here at TKO Graphix, we’ve printed a wood grain on a fiberglass home front door, sign panels, and yard signs.
What are the Pros and Cons of Solvent and UV Print?
“As with any application, there are advantages to using both UV-curable flatbed and solvent printers. While the flatbed market is dominated by UV-curable printers, there have been issues with the adhesion and flexibility properties of the UV-curable inks, but this continues to improve with evolving technology. Solvent ink printers, however, are ideal for flexible applications, such as vehicle and building wraps, because they have high rates of coverage and durability.” — Sign & Digital Graphics.
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