One in the great things about UV digital printing is the power to print detailed full-color images. Photo thanks to Mimaki USA. The latte coffee printer can be obtained from Roland DGA Corp. Marco Awards Group is distributing Direct Color Systems’ UV printers for printing over a wide number of items.
One new $80,000 printer reports it might print 225,000 flash drives inside a 40-hour period. That’s a lots of flash drives and that’s where these printers shine. Obviously, many of us have no need to print numerous flash drives inside a week, that is why there are smaller machines. The key is finding a printer which is just the right balance between what you could afford and what you can justify with demand.
There are tons of amazing features on these printers. Some are super important to some users rather than to others, while additional options are incredibly important to only a few. Figuring out which features are important to you and which are not isn’t easy task, and unless it is possible to just buy blind and discover a printer with every feature on the market, this means a wise buyer is going to complete some serious research before plunking down a pile of money.
You can start by reducing those printers which might be just way out of range price-wise and those that, for one reason and other, are unsuited to your applications. Then you can begin study the printers who have potential. It may be helpful to complete head-to-head comparisons of printers you happen to be considering purchasing utilizing a chart just like the one accompanying this article. This means traveling to a couple of trade events and/or arranging on-site demos. This, of course, slows the buying experience, that is actually a advantage. Getting enthusiastic about buying a printer and making a choice too quickly is compared to new car fever—it probably will bring on buyer’s regrets later.
Here is some terminology you need to know before taking into consideration the purchase associated with a UV printer. First, note that this article focuses specifically on UV flatbed printers. In the truest form, a flatbed printer commonly has a fixed print head along with the flat table holding the substrate moves under paper head during printing. Supposedly, this design decreases the possibility in the substrate moving during printing. However, most desktop flatbed printers are of the hybrid construction where the table along with the print heads move in one fashion or some other.
UV printers within this industry are technically UV LED printers. They use numerous LED lamps to generate UV light that very quickly cures the ink exposed to it. This is highly advantageous because multiple layers of ink may be laid down and cured, which accumulates the ink and creates a 3D effect around the substrate. This relief printing is when ADA tactile letters and Grade II Braille are created using some of those printers, as well as textured effects, such as the dimples with a printed image of a basketball, and raised images. Some printers have the ability to print clear or white ink at the same time since the CMYK colors, all in the single pass, which could greatly improve the printer’s speed. Bi-directional printing is an additional feature that offers increased printing speeds.
All UV printers use CMYK ink sets and today most likewise use white and clear. A few also offer the option of light cyan and light-weight magenta (Lc, Lm). Today’s uv printer possess a multiple – channel print head for dispensing ink, typically consisting of six or eight channels. For instance, an eight-channel print head is generally set up so there is certainly one channel each for CMYK plus two channels for clear as well as channels for white inks. In the situation of a printer using Lc and Lm, two of the eight channels would be configured to dispense this ink (e.g. white and/or clear ink channels).
Direct Print Metallics Plus is a coated metallic aluminum substrate designed especially for printing with UV/UV-LED inks. Photo thanks to Johnson Plastics.
Again, this is really a choice you simply must make, but a majority of users can simply do without the Lc and Lm, and simply rely about the CMYK to produce a stunning image. White is, naturally, the difficult color. Because white ink should be opaque, it can be typically very thick which presents difficulties with clogging the print heads rapidly. To compensate just for this, most printers include some kind of circulation (agitation) system. This is extremely important. Some printers circulate merely the white and/or clear inks and some circulate (or agitate) all of the ink colors. Regardless, anything from the experienced is to print something daily along with your printer when possible. These printers are made to be used often and long idle periods can bring about some painful lessons. Mimaki printers add a feature called a “nozzle recovery system” to watch nozzles and, according to the manufacturer, automatically identify and recover clogged print heads. I have no knowledge with this feature, nevertheless it sounds like an incredible one.
In the comparison chart, I have included the size and weight of every printer. These machines are huge as printers go and they are generally heavy. Some will not likely pass through a single 36″ wide door and some are so heavy that wooden floors should be reinforced before installing the printer, so keep in mind this.
Upon asking one UV printer distributor what advice he would give to newbies, he said that it is important to understand that these printers require far more attention and maintenance than sublimation printers or laser engravers. They are highly technical and require an operator who is able to deal with their idiosyncrasies. Just bringing in the UV printer and letting anyone and everyone operate it can be a disaster waiting that occurs. Likewise, consider preventive maintenance. Many of those printers have 12 months or two warranty but from then on, you will be on the hook for print heads and also other replacement parts which might be many.
GoVivid, a Rowmark division, supplies the Breeze (left) and the Wave UV digital printers.
Ink has already been mentioned nonetheless it is value another note. Some companies offer only wedding party ink so it really is important that you see the capabilities of this ink. Will it stretch? Will it follow glass (despite having an adhesion promotor)? Is it fade resistant for exterior use? What kind of color pallet can be obtained? Other companies offer multiple inks that take care of each of those issues but, as stated, you’ll be able to’t just swap inks whenever you need to.
Typically, you have to select one particular multipurpose ink for every printer so you need to decide just what type of substrate you want to print on when you lay down the money. True, it is possible to switch inks if you should, but this is a costly and involved cleaning process so increase the risk for right decision inside the beginning.
Printing speed is additionally worthy of note. The numbers might mislead anyone looking strictly in the charts and comparing speed. Print speed may be measured in many ways, and most printer manufacturers publish the rate numbers in a very way that brings about look the best (nothing wrong with this). The problem is, those numbers don’t compare “apples to apples” considering that the numbers might vary in color tremendously when comparing draft mode (720 x 720 dpi) with production mode (1440 x 1440 dpi or maybe more). Speed also varies when white is added like a base or devspky91 is added as an overcoat. Other factors also play into this mix so “seeing is believing”—another good reason to go meet the printer personally before making the decision.
The throat of a printer, or height with the item it might accommodate whilst still being print on, goes a considerable ways in determining the cost. The smaller the throat, the less the printer probably will cost so, once more, attempt to determine what you’re going to print. If all that you plan to print is flat acrylic for example, you will get by using a 2″ thick throat capacity, although keep in mind that will prevent you from ever printing on anything cylindrical since smallest from a printer for that’s about 4″. On the other hand, paying for the printer that can handle 15″ substrates for no reason will be a waste of cash. The same is true with substrate weight capacity. One printer included inside chart is capable of handling around 220 lbs., most can handle just a few pounds. Of course, forcing a printer to work with substrates near or beyond its rated capacity will certainly shorten the life with the printer.
Many from the bells and whistles associated with t-shirt printer are just like sound systems in cars—it basically comes down to personal preference. Digital readouts, remote control panels, one basic design and other, the color with the cabinet may be pure preference nevertheless they still play in the buying formula and are, therefore, important.
One in the major applications for UV printing is ADA-compliant signage. Photo due to Direct Color Systems.
Finally, and possibly most important of, is service and support. I have mentioned above that these printers require some tender loving care. They may be somewhat finicky and so they definitely require ongoing maintenance. This means your capability to contact someone for help when things don’t go where did they should is imperative! This isn’t something that can be placed with a chart. It has to be learned the difficult way. But that doesn’t mean you are able to’t discover which companies or distributors give good service and which of them don’t. Customers are generally more than happy to “spill the beans” about any business that isn’t living approximately its promises. Just ask profits representative to the phone numbers of varied of their potential customers who are willing to be references. Quick responses to calls of help, quick shipment of repair parts and supplies and, of course, friendly, supportive service are invaluable to your UV experience to become a pleasant one.
The age of digital printing will be here and is definitely here. Technology in this market will continue to develop. It’s really incredible what you might do with this equipment. If you haven’t considered digital inkjet printing for the business, maybe you should. It could mean yet another step inside direction of diversification. Even if you’re not ready to take the digital printing plunge, check it out. Who knows? It may be a profitable part of your future.