Screen Printing asked industry experts to comment on the latest advancements in UV inks.
By Gail Flower
Scott Schinlever I can only talk about printing with UV ink on a digital printer. As substrates, UV ink can adhere to a wider range of substrates. The color gamut is wider using UV ink. It’s more flexible (can be stretched), such as in fleet graphics, where vehicles are wrapped in print. In the future users will want more stretch and adherence in their prints.
Bruce Ridge For the most part, UV-ink technology for screen printing has not seen a lot of big advances in the last five years. Most of the advancements in UV screen inks have been in modifying products to meet the specific needs of the market. There have been a lot of advancements in the inkjet UV products as the demand increases, which leads to more competition and more innovation.
Steve Mitchell Many advances in UV screen and digital are currently proprietary, but I can hint that there’s a big interest in LED curing and UV shrink.
Michael J. Plier We are seeing an age where the potential digital print or decorating is literally limited only by our imagination. With the artesian supply of new UV components, it appears that digital printing is well on its way to being one of the most versatile printing methods we have ever seen. In in-mold-decorating inks, UV inks can be specifically designed to withstand extreme heat and pressure created by the backfilling process. In architectural glass inks, UV digital systems can achieve 100% adhesion along with excellent moisture, steam, frost, and thermocycling resistance. New UV digital adhesives have a broad range of applications from laminating to mounting. You can print chemical- and solvent-resistant inks for fleet graphics or decals.
Larry Hettinger In recent years, the availability of new raw materials has allowed us to develop UV inks that print and cure faster, use less energy, and provide more vibrant colors. Four-color-process work has benefited the most from these advancements—specifically with low-dot-gain UV formulations that allow for increased press speeds.
Johnny Shell, Ray Greenwood, Jeff Burton The gamut for digital UV inks has improved dramatically, as have the improvements in flexibility. Adhesion is more of an issue with the media than the ink itself. In screen printing, there is a specific ink for every type of substrate, while in digital, you’re trying to shoehorn every substrate on the planet to work with one type of ink.
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