UV printing is a technique that utilizes unique ultraviolet curing ink to print on an extensive range of materials. A UV printer places special ink on the material. And a UV light follows to dry and harden the ink instantly. The drying and hardening process is called curing.
Initially, the UV-ink curing process was a manicure application technique. It is used to rapidly dry nail gel polish in beauty parlors. Industrialists quickly realized that quick-drying technology could work better in industrial applications like the branding industry.
In Technical Terms
The UV ink contains small polymers and monomers, tiny molecules that combine to create polymers. The polymerization process takes place so fast that the wet ink dots do not have the time to spread and expand. As a result, you get higher-resolution prints than in conventional printing.
If you need more reasons to choose UV printing than the high-resolution outcome, UV-printed materials do not fade or wear out. The process is also environment-friendly as it gives out fewer Volatile Organic Compounds.
Conventional Printing vs. UV Printing
Most conventional printing techniques use inks with unique solvents that evaporate into the air during printing. The evaporation facilitates ink absorption onto the printing material. Then dries up, leaving a printed image on the receiving material. The printed material may require special spray powder for a quicker drying process. Additionally, these techniques do not work well with specific materials such as plastics and acrylics.
On the other hand, UV printing uses a unique ultraviolet light design. As the printing process continues, the ink is dry. The printer sprays ink on the material, and the UV light follows behind, drying the ink instantly. Ultraviolet printing can print directly on a wide range of materials. Since there is little or no solvent evaporation. This makes it easy to customize virtually a limitless range of products.
Types of UV Printer
There are three types of UV printers, as expounded below.
As the name suggests, a flatbed UV printer has a flat surface where you place the printing material. It is best for printing flat materials such as papers, cards, and plaques. A flatbed UV printer can also print on flexible materials such as fabrics and canvas.
Roll-to-roll UV printers use wide rollers to avoid the formation of smudges and footprints during the printing process. The machines feature advanced technology and ergonomic structure. They are best suited for flexible materials such as fabrics and canvas.
As mentioned earlier, with UV printing, you can brand virtually anything. Rotary UV printers are uniquely engineered to print on cylindrical objects. You can use the Rotary UV printer to print on bottles and household glassware.
Components of UV Printer
If you intend to buy a UV printing machine, it is essential to master the core parts of the printer. Operating and maintaining a machine you know and understand better is relatively easy. These are the main parts of a UV printer.
A UV print head is responsible for the quality of the final print. The head comprises tiny nozzles that drop ink systematically to create the image. The quality of the print head and its nozzles determine the accuracy, speed, and stability of your UV printing machine.
UV printers have belts that carry the print head from one end of the machine to the other. The machine has a motor that powers this belt and facilitates printing. Most UV printing machines use a premium servo motor and a rack-and-pinion system to move the print head precisely during printing.
UV printers have various sensors for different functions. The sensors include a carriage sensor, height sensor, and ink cartridge sensor, among others. The sensors are to ensure the machine functions properly all the time.
The UV curing system is what makes a UV printer unique. It helps dry and harden the ink instantly as the printing process continues.