Editorial Feature

Future Applications for UV Printing

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Unlike a conventional ink printing machine, UV Printing uses relatively new technology which allows the user to print directly onto different materials. While this seems simple, this UV curing process is revolutionizing the industry. It is now possible to print very detailed patterns on to numerous objects at faster speeds than before.

UV Printing Process and Its Benefits

While the printing process itself remains the same for both traditional and UV printing, the main benefit of UV printing is its curing, or drying, process. UV printers us inks which are able to dry through a photomechanical method. This involves the inks being exposed to a UV light during the process of printing. This technique is important as it turns the ink from a liquid into a solid, thereby eliminating the age-old problem of ink smudging. This means that the printing industry no longer needs to invest in expensive coating treatment to protect against smearing inks.

Other benefits of UV printing process include the significant decrease in solvent evaporation as well as absorption of the ink into paper stock. Users of the technology also boast of its environmentally friendly nature, due to the lack of VOC’s which are released into the environment.

In addition to this, new research into UV LED printing methods has seen the development of high-resolution, variable color dot printing. These printers offer users a much clearer printed image with better color contrast over a wider array of printing shapes and sizes than a conventional printer.

It is this style of research and the printing methods obvious benefits that have caused a surge in the global UV-LED printing market. In 2016, Research Nester found that the market was worth $278.3 million which is expected to increase to $550 million by 2024.

Applications of UV Printing

This new technique has allowed companies to expand the products they can offer to customers. While it has been mostly limited to paper, card, and acrylics in the past, new research has shown that ink now being able to be printed directly onto metals and ceramic tiles without etching or expensive coating treatments, the industry can be expected to grow quite rapidly.

The flexibility of the technology means that it can be applied to anything, from clothing, home décor, gaming items, instruments, and even cars. This is especially fortunate in a world where customization is an ever-increasing trend.

While the industry seems to be heading towards smaller customizable objects such as flasks, sporting equipment, and trophies, as well as their already solidified market of signs and photographs; it is not hard to imagine a world in which UV printing could become the go-to method of printing for much larger objects. This is especially so now that the technology can be used on a variety of shapes, including cylindrical and curved.

Conclusion

The future of the UV printing industry is a bright one. With companies needing to reduce their carbon footprint to satisfy environmental policies, the uniquely advantages UV printing is an obvious solution. Particularly because it offers a much more comprehensive printing experience than the traditional solvent-based printing. It is most likely that this LED driven printing process will become more prevalent in and around the industry.

Sources and Further Reading

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