This discussion centers on cost comparisons, challenges with UV inks, and how photoinitiators work.
By Gail Flower
Bruce Ridge With a 30-year history of product development, UV screen inks perform just as well as solvent-based inks in most applications. There are only a few applications where solvent-based inks still out perform UV inks. Examples of this would include uncoated substrates, unusual 3D substrates, adhesion to extremely hard substrates like melamine, long-term exterior durable applications of seven or more years, and of course applications requiring high opacity. In the inkjet market, UV is the fastest growing segment of the printing types of inkjet printing for the reasons listed above, as well as the odor issue associated with solvent-based printers.
Robin McMillan Applications that combine multiple print disciplines, such as offset and screen printing, as used in narrow-web labels, optical disk, and some plastic-container markets all fit particularly well with the UV print process. In fact, any screen-print process that requires printing inline will benefit form UV curing due to the much smaller footprint of a UV curing unit when compared to conventional hot air or oven drying systems.
Johnny Shell, Ray Greenwood, and Jeff Burton Outdoor UV screen inks have not quite surpassed clear-coated solvent-based inks with regard to weathering (the combination of light fading, water, and temperature); however, they are nearly equal and have surpassed many solvent-based inks in pure fade resistance.
Scott Schinlever Any kind of P-O-P, banners, out-of-home signage, and any print that demands durability. Outdoor applications work well on UV prints. Printing with UV on a digital press requires no setup time. Indoor printed projects work well on UV too.
Steve Mitchell All types of packaging and labels fit UV printing.
Do you see LED low-temperature curing as a challenge to UV?
Steve Mitchell Not really a challenge, but rather LED curing would be a branch of UV curing. LED has a narrower range as far as the wavelength of the effectiveness of the photoinitiators.
Scott Schinlever The ability to cure UV inks with lower energy and lower temperature, especially at the higher speeds, is certainly a challenge and the next step in digital UV inks.
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