One of the more popular options that come with coffee printer recently continues to be the introduction of cylindrical devices for printing items like water bottles. I believe that cylindrical tools are offered as being an choice for every printer with plenty of throat to support one. This brings at least two questions to the light: One, how user-friendly is the software for establishing a cylindrical job and, two, do you need another specialized ink? Although metal water bottles could be successfully printed with many UV inks, there is a different story with plastic bottles that can be squeezed. These demand a flexible ink, so a few of the printer manufacturers now present an ink that stretches as much as 200 percent.
The flexible ink option reveals other applications, including printing banners. Magnetic signs are another possibility and some manufacturers have built their printers so there are no paramagnetic (steel) parts that would obstruct printing a magnetic material.
Together with the great number of inks available, a major decision you must make is choosing the best ink for the applications. Inks can’t definitely be changed so once an ink is selected you will be just about tied to it for the duration. Ink changes are possible when you thoroughly clean the printer, but this could be time-consuming and is not recommended for job-to-job use.
Inks tend to be specific for the manufacturer, and tend to be the print heads and rails (the bars the heads and UV light are powered by). Some companies manufacture their particular print heads and rails, although many others use assemblies off their inkjet manufacturers, including Ricoh and Epson. Depending on the print head, the printer might be capable of varying the size of the ink dot from less than a couple of picoliters to up to 20 picoliters. By varying the dot size, the printers are better able to manipulate ink density, which results in sharper images and colors that smoothly change from one shade to a different. Variable-dot printing is controlled by firmware from inside the printer and its particular software.
All UV printers come with some kind of RIP (Raster Image Processor) software to operate and control these firmware options. Usually, the RIP software is developed by the company for any specific printer and it has various functions, for example translating images through your computer into raster images to the printer and enhancing color consistency. However, you might struggle to talk and understand RIPs in every great detail, you will notice the results in the printed image, including vivid reds, bright white and the opportunity to smoothly transition in one color to a different one. When you are thinking investing in a printer, it’s crucial to search closely, compare results and request questions when you notice an issue that doesn’t look right. If it doesn’t look right in the demo, it won’t look right when investing in it home!
So where will be the cash in UV printers? What kinds of products produce enough return so they are well worth the $20,000 to $80,000 or maybe more investment linked to these devices? It couldn’t often be the capability to make one-up products as is the case with sublimation. Clearly, UV is for the bulk production shop. Although one thousand water bottles may be personalized as they are printed, the genuine contribution of the UV printer is printing a lot of products with the same imprint-everything we will call production.
Among the benefits associated with UV digital printing is the cabability to print detailed full-color images. Photo courtesy of Mimaki USA. The VersaUV LEF-20 flatbed printer is accessible from Roland DGA Corp. Marco Awards Group is distributing Direct Color Systems’ UV printers for printing on numerous items.
One new $80,000 printer reports it can print 225,000 flash drives within a 40-hour period. That’s a great deal of flash drives and that’s where these printers shine. Obviously, most people have no requirement to print numerous flash drives in a week, but that is why there are smaller machines. The bottom line is choosing a printer that is only the right balance between whatever you can afford and whatever you can justify with demand.
There are lots of special features on these printers. Some are super important to quite a few users and never to others, while other choices are absolutely vital to only a few. Finding out which features are important for you and which can be not is no easy task, and unless you can just buy blind and discover a printer with every feature available, it implies an intelligent buyer will almost certainly carry out some serious research before plunking down a pile of money.
You can begin through the elimination of those printers that are just solution of range price-wise and those that, for one reason or any other, are unsuited for your personal applications. Then you can move on to study the printers who have potential. It might be useful to do head-to-head comparisons of printers you are interested in purchasing utilizing a chart much like the one accompanying this article. This implies visiting a couple of trade shows and/or arranging on-site demos. This, needless to say, decreases the buying experience, but that is really a good thing. Getting excited about buying a printer and making a choice too rapidly is similar to new car fever-it would probably bring on buyer’s regrets later.
Here is some terminology you need to understand before considering purchasing any UV printer. First, remember that this article focuses specifically on UV flatbed printers. From the truest form, small uv printer usually features a fixed print head and the flat table holding the substrate moves under the print head during printing. Supposedly, this design reduces the possibility of the substrate moving during printing. However, most desktop flatbed printers are of a hybrid construction where both table along with the print heads move around in one fashion or another.
UV printers with this industry are technically UV LED printers. They use a multitude of LED lamps to generate UV light that very quickly cures the ink in contact with it. This is certainly highly advantageous because multiple layers of ink may be laid down and cured, which grows the ink and fosters a 3D result on the substrate. This relief printing is how ADA tactile letters and Grade II Braille are made using many of these printers, and also textured effects, like the dimples over a printed picture of a basketball, and raised images. Some printers have the capability to print clear or white ink at the same time as the CMYK colors, all in just one pass, which could greatly enhance the printer’s speed. Bi-directional printing can be another feature that provides increased printing speeds.
All UV printers use CMYK ink sets now most also employ white and clear. A few also offer the choice of light cyan and light magenta (Lc, Lm). Today’s UV printers possess a multiple-
channel print head for dispensing ink, typically consisting of six or eight channels. For example, an eight-channel print head is normally put in place so there is one channel each for CMYK plus two channels for clear and 2 channels for white inks. In the matter of a printer using Lc and Lm, a pair of the eight channels would be configured to dispense this ink (e.g. white and clear ink channels).
Direct Print Metallics Plus is really a coated metallic aluminum substrate designed particularly for printing with UV/UV-LED inks. Photo thanks to Johnson Plastics.
Again, it is a choice you will have to make, but the majority users can simply do with no Lc and Lm, and only depend upon the CMYK to make a stunning image. White is, of course, the difficult color. Because white ink should be opaque, it is typically very thick which presents difficulties with clogging the print heads fairly quickly. To make up for this particular, most printers include some kind of circulation (agitation) system. This really is important. Some printers circulate simply the white or clear inks and some circulate (or agitate) each of the ink colors. Regardless, anything in the experienced is always to print something daily along with your printer if you can. These printers are designed to be employed often and long idle periods can lead to some painful lessons. Mimaki printers incorporate a feature known as a “nozzle recovery system” to monitor nozzles and, based on the manufacturer, automatically identify and recover clogged print heads. I actually have no personal knowledge about this feature, but it looks like a great one.
In the comparison chart, We have included the size and weight for each printer. These machines are huge as printers go and they are generally heavy. Many will not pass through one particular 36″ wide door plus some are incredibly heavy that wooden floors will have to be reinforced ahead of installing the printer, so be familiar with this.
Upon asking one UV printer distributor what advice he gives to newbies, he stated that it is important to recognize that these printers require considerably more attention and maintenance than sublimation printers or laser engravers. These are highly technical and require an operator who are able to deal with their idiosyncrasies. Just bringing in a UV printer and letting anyone and everybody operate it is a disaster waiting to happen. Likewise, consider preventive maintenance. A number of these printers use a couple of years warranty but after that, you will certainly be in the hook for print heads as well as other replacement parts that may be many.
Ink was already mentioned yet it is worthy of another note. Some companies offer only one sort of ink so it is vital that you are aware of the capabilities of that ink. Could it stretch? Will it stick with glass (even with an adhesion promotor)? Is it fade resistant for exterior use? What type of color pallet is available? Other manufacturers offer multiple inks that take care of all these issues but, as mentioned, you can’t just swap inks whenever you want to.
Typically, you have to choose a single multipurpose ink for each printer so you need to decide exactly which kind of substrate you wish to print on before you decide to lie down the bucks. True, you can switch inks if you wish to, but this can be a costly and involved cleaning process so have the right decision at first.
Printing speed is likewise deserving of note. The numbers might mislead anyone looking strictly on the charts and comparing speed. Print speed may be measured in several ways, and most printer manufacturers publish the pace numbers in a manner that ensures they are look the best (no problem using that). The catch is, those numbers don’t compare “apples to apples” considering that the numbers might vary wildly when comparing draft mode (720 x 720 dpi) with production mode (1440 x 1440 dpi or higher). Speed also varies when white is added as a base or clear is added as being an overcoat. Other factors also play into this mix so “seeing is believing”-one additional reason to look meet the printer personally before making a choice.
The throat of any printer, or perhaps the height of the item it might accommodate yet still print on, goes a considerable ways in determining the cost. The smaller the throat, the less the printer will likely cost so, yet again, try to determine what you are likely to print. If the only thing you plan to print is flat acrylic as an illustration, you might get by having a 2″ thick throat capacity, although take into account that would keep you from ever printing on anything cylindrical because the smallest of the printer for that is all about 4″. On the other hand, paying for a printer that will handle 15″ substrates for no reason will be a waste of income. The same holds true with substrate weight capacity. One printer in the chart is capable of doing handling around 220 lbs., but the majority are designed for only some pounds. Of course, forcing a printer to do business with substrates near or beyond its rated capacity is sure to shorten the life of the garment printer.
Most of the features linked to UV flatbed printers are similar to sound systems in cars-it basically boils down to personal preference. Digital readouts, 05dexqpky control panels, one basic design or another, even the colour of the cabinet can be pure preference however they still play in the buying formula and so are, therefore, important.
One of the leading applications for UV printing is ADA-compliant signage. Photo thanks to Direct Color Systems.
Finally, and perhaps most critical of all, is service and support. We have mentioned previously these particular printers require some tender loving care. They may be somewhat finicky and so they definitely require ongoing maintenance. This simply means your ability get in touch with someone for help when things don’t go how they should is imperative! This isn’t something which can be placed on a chart. It must be learned the difficult way. But that doesn’t mean you can’t figure out which companies or distributors give good service and which ones don’t. Customers are usually more than happy to “spill the beans” about any organization that isn’t living approximately its promises. Just ask your sales representative to the phone numbers of several of their customers who are likely 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 as a pleasant one.
The age of digital printing has arrived which is definitely upon us. Technology in this particular market continues to develop. It’s really incredible what to do using this type of equipment. When you haven’t considered digital inkjet printing for the business, perhaps you should. It might mean another step in the direction of diversification. Even when you’re not ready to accept digital printing plunge, look it over. That knows? It can be a profitable component of your future.