UV printing is a unique form of digital printing that uses ultra-violet light to instantly cure or dry the ink. Since the ink dries in an instant, better quality images can be achieved than many other printing methods.
How it works
Conventional printing techniques involves the use of inks which have special solvents that evaporate into the air upon application onto a material, or simply during printing. Evaporation of the solvents facilitates absorption of the ink into the material, and once the solvents have fully evaporated the ink fully dries up living a digital image.
When it comes to UV printing, the ink used for printing does not contain any solvents that evaporate into the air. Instead, the ink used for UV printing uses a photomechanical process to dry the ink.
UV printing is normally done using a UV LED printer which carries out a few quick processes to create the print. The first processes is application of the ink onto the material. Then, a second process quickly follows where specially designed ultra-violet lights emit the UV light on the ink, curing it instantly.
Why UV printing is superior to other forms of printing
Printing is an ancient form of art, and over the years there have been significant improvements on the technology used for printing. Today’s advanced forms of printing include sublimation, laser printing and photo printing as well as UV printing. UV printing can hold numerous advantages over the other forms including:
- Consistent, speedy prints- By using a UV LED printer for UV printing, consistent and accurate prints are achieved at a very fast rate. The ink cures, or solidifies in only a matter of seconds and so numerous images can be printed in a very short time. The fast curing of the ink also minimizes the risk of ink distortion before drying generating consistent and accurate images.
- Durability- Studies have shown that UV printed inks are more resistant to scratch, wear rubbing and tear as compared to other eco solvent inks. The UV inks are also more resistant to harsh weather conditions making them more durable.
- Vibrancy – Solvents in conventional inks absorb very quickly into uncoated stocks. Since UV inks dry when exposed to UV light, the inks do not have the time to soak into the paper. The ink is left sitting on top of the uncoated sheet, where it is less contaminated, ultimately giving more vibrant color. Plus it can add clear ink to certain areas of the print to create a high gloss finish.
- Environmentally friendly– During UV printing there is no release of volatile organic compounds into the air. There is also no odour and the ink is water resistant.
- Costs – Vendors can save on their electricity bills and may pass the savings to you. UV printers use mercury/quartz or LED lights for curing instead of heat and can last up to 10,000 hours without using a lot of power.
- Versatility- UV printing cures instantly and thus this form of printing can be used on many different materials. Unlike conventional means of printing which are limited to certain materials, there is a very wide scope of materials that UV printing can be used on.
Where to use UV printing
Because the ink cannot be absorbed by the materials or distorted before it dries, UV printing can be used comfortably on a wide range of substrates: fabric, canvas, glass, wood, plastic, coated media, Polystyrene, PVC, acrylic, wood and aluminium and more. Quality, clear images are achieved at all times and the images are long lasting since the UV ink is more resistant to agents of corrosion. This makes UV printing suitable for printing banners, displays, billboards, flyers, promotional clothing etc. Ask us today about whether UV printing is right for your business!