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The Latest Advances in UV Inks, Part II

(June 2010) posted on Wed May 26, 2010

This discussion centers on cost comparisons, challenges with UV inks, and how photoinitiators work.

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By Gail Flower

Grant Shouldice There is definitely a learning curve associated with running UV inks. However, over the years the art has become fairly easy for those well versed in conventional printing processes.

Steve Mitchell The main advancement in inks is the speed that they cure. When you talk screen printing, usually the inks are thick, multilayered. UV exposure for a short period of time can quickly cure at one or perhaps two passes.

Scott Schinlever It's shorter because UV instantly cures to a substrate, and using UV saves labor steps.

Johnny Shell, Ray Greenwood, and Jeff Burton The production time associated with using UV is less given the ink’s ability to cure instantly. However, there is a period of time after the immediate cure where the cross-linking process continues to occur. So event though ink may be dry to the touch, some post-processing actions (bending , cutting, routing) should only occur after a set time period (usually around one hour for digital). Cutting some rigid materials right off the printer could result in chipping of the ink at the cut/route lines.

What applications fit UV particularly well?

Michael J. Plier 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.

Grant Shouldice A substantial number of applications fit well. A wide range of adhesion, excellent aesthetic and mechanical properties, and the use on inline down-stream processes lend themselves to many applications form printing commercial, publication, and package applications.

Larry Hettinger With UV technology advancements, most applications can be printed with UV ink. The primary applications with a good fit include short-, medium-, and long-term graphics, industrial such as graphic overlay, and automotive media. Four-color-process work benefits significantly from the press/color stability of UV inks and low-dot-gain UV-ink formulations that allow for increased press speeds and reduced waste.


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