One of the more popular highlights of latte printer recently is the roll-out of cylindrical devices for printing such things as water bottles. I believe that cylindrical devices are offered as being an option for every printer with enough throat to accommodate one. This brings at the very least two questions in to the light: One, how user-friendly is the software for setting up a cylindrical job and, two, should i need another specialized ink? Although metal water bottles may be successfully printed generally UV inks, you will discover a different story with plastic containers that may be squeezed. These call for a flexible ink, so some of the printer manufacturers now present an ink that stretches as much as 200 percent.
The flexible ink option reveals other applications, for example printing banners. Magnetic signs are another possibility and several manufacturers have built their printers so you will find no paramagnetic (steel) parts that might interfere with printing a magnetic material.
With the large number of inks available, a major decision you must make is choosing the best ink for your applications. Inks can’t easily be changed so once an ink is selected you will be basically saddled with it to the duration. Ink changes are possible when you thoroughly clean the printer, but this may be time-consuming and is not recommended for job-to-job use.
Inks are usually specific for the manufacturer, and so are the print heads and rails (the bars the heads and UV light run using). Some companies manufacture their particular print heads and rails, although others use assemblies using their company inkjet manufacturers, including Ricoh and Epson. Depending on the print head, the printer might be able to varying the actual size of the ink dot from well under a few picoliters to as much as 20 picoliters. By varying the dot size, the printers are better capable to manipulate ink density, which leads to sharper images and colors that smoothly differ from one shade to another. Variable-dot printing is controlled by firmware from within the printer and its particular software.
All UV printers feature some sort of RIP (Raster Image Processor) software to get and control these firmware options. Usually, the RIP software package is designed by the manufacturer for the specific printer and contains various functions, like translating images out of your computer into raster images to the printer and enhancing color consistency. While you might not be able to talk and understand RIPs in almost any great detail, you will see the outcome in the printed image, like vivid reds, bright white and the ability to smoothly transition in one color to a different. When you are thinking getting a printer, it’s extremely important to search closely, compare results and inquire questions once you see a thing that doesn’t look right. If this doesn’t look right with the demo, it won’t look right when you are getting it home!
Where is definitely the profit UV printers? What kinds of products produce enough return to ensure they worth the $20,000 to $80,000 or more investment mounted on these units? It couldn’t come to be the opportunity to make one-up products as is the case with sublimation. Clearly, UV is designed for the bulk production shop. Although one thousand water bottles might be personalized since they are printed, the genuine contribution of your UV printer is printing a great deal of products with similar imprint-what we will call production.
One of several great things about UV digital printing is the cabability to print detailed full-color images. Photo thanks to 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 a wide variety of items.
One new $80,000 printer reports it may print 225,000 flash drives in 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 so many flash drives per week, but this is why there are smaller machines. The key is finding a printer that is the right balance between what you are able afford and whatever you can justify with demand.
There are lots of special features on these printers. Some are super crucial that you many folks and not to others, while other available choices are absolutely vital to only some. Identifying which features are very important to you and that happen to be not is no easy task, and unless you can just buy blind and discover a printer with every feature out there, it implies a sensible buyer will do some serious research before plunking down a pile of money.
You can begin by reducing those printers that happen to be just way out of range price-wise and people who, first reason or some other, are unsuited for your personal applications. Then you can certainly move on to study the printers which may have potential. It may be important to do head-to-head comparisons of printers you are interested in purchasing using a chart much like the one accompanying this short article. This simply means planing a trip to a couple of trade shows and arranging on-site demos. This, obviously, slows down the buying experience, but that is actually a positive thing. Getting excited about investing in a printer and making a choice too quickly is a lot like new car fever-it can probably bring on buyer’s regrets later.
Here is some terminology you should know before considering purchasing any UV printer. First, keep in mind that this informative article focuses specifically on UV flatbed printers. Within the truest form, a4 uv printer usually carries a fixed print head as well as the flat table holding the substrate moves beneath the print head during printing. Supposedly, this design reduces the opportunity of the substrate moving during printing. However, most desktop flatbed printers are of any hybrid construction where both table and also the print heads transfer one fashion or any other.
UV printers in this industry are technically UV LED printers. They prefer an array of LED lamps to generate UV light that right away cures the ink open to it. This can be highly advantageous because multiple layers of ink can be laid down and cured, which builds up the ink and creates a 3D impact on the substrate. This relief printing is when ADA tactile letters and Grade II Braille are created using many of these printers, as well as textured effects, including the dimples with a printed image of a basketball, and raised images. Some printers have the capacity to print clear or white ink as well as being the CMYK colors, all in just one pass, which may greatly enhance the printer’s speed. Bi-directional printing is another feature that offers increased printing speeds.
All UV printers use CMYK ink sets and now most also have white and clear. A few provide the option of light cyan and light magenta (Lc, Lm). Today’s UV printers use a multiple-
channel print head for dispensing ink, typically composed of six or eight channels. For example, an eight-channel print head is generally set up so there is one channel each for CMYK plus two channels for clear as well as 2 channels for white inks. When it comes to a printer using Lc and Lm, a couple of the eight channels can be configured to dispense this ink (e.g. white and/or clear ink channels).
Direct Print Metallics Plus is really a coated metallic aluminum substrate designed especially for printing with UV/UV-LED inks. Photo courtesy of Johnson Plastics.
Again, this is a choice you will need to make, but most users can simply do without having the Lc and Lm, and just rely on the CMYK to make a stunning image. White is, obviously, the difficult color. Because white ink must be opaque, it is typically very thick which presents problems with clogging the print heads rapidly. To compensate for this, most printers include some form of circulation (agitation) system. This is important. Some printers circulate merely the white and/or clear inks while others circulate (or agitate) every one of the ink colors. Regardless, a word through the experienced is to print something daily along with your printer if at all possible. These printers are made to be used often and long idle periods can result in some painful lessons. Mimaki printers incorporate a feature called a “nozzle recovery system” to monitor nozzles and, in accordance with the manufacturer, automatically identify and recover clogged print heads. I actually have no personal experience with this feature, nevertheless it looks like an incredible one.
In the comparison chart, I have included the dimensions of every printer. These machines are huge as printers go and they are generally heavy. Many will not go through an individual 36″ wide door and some are incredibly heavy that wooden floors will have to be reinforced prior to installing the printer, so know about this.
Upon asking one UV printer distributor what advice he will give to newbies, he was quoted saying that you should know that these printers require significantly more attention and maintenance than sublimation printers or laser engravers. They can be highly technical and require an operator who can cope with their idiosyncrasies. Just bringing in a UV printer and letting anyone and everyone operate it really is a disaster waiting to occur. Likewise, consider preventive maintenance. Several of these printers use a year or two warranty but following that, you will end up around the hook for print heads along with other replacement parts which may be many.
Ink had been mentioned yet it is deserving of another note. Some companies offer only one sort of ink so it is important that you recognize the capabilities of that particular ink. Does it stretch? Could it stick to glass (despite an adhesion promotor)? Is it fade resistant for exterior use? What kind of color pallet can be obtained? Other companies offer multiple inks that handle each of these issues but, as mentioned, you can’t just swap inks whenever you want to.
Typically, you must pick a single multipurpose ink for each and every printer so you must decide exactly what type of substrate you would like to print on before you set down your money. True, you are able to switch inks if you need to, but this is a costly and involved cleaning process so make the right decision at the beginning.
Printing speed is likewise worth note. The numbers might mislead anyone looking strictly with the charts and comparing speed. Print speed could be measured often, and the majority of printer manufacturers publish the speed numbers in a way that means they are look the best (nothing wrong with the). The problem is, those numbers don’t compare “apples to apples” since the numbers might vary wildly when you compare draft mode (720 x 720 dpi) with production mode (1440 x 1440 dpi or higher). Speed also varies when white is added being a base or clear is added being an overcoat. Other factors also play into this mix so “seeing is believing”-one other good reason to go meet the printer directly before making a decision.
The throat of a printer, or even the height from the item it could accommodate but still print on, goes quite a distance in determining the retail price. The lesser the throat, the less the printer will likely cost so, once more, try to determine which you might print. If all that you want to print is flat acrylic as an illustration, you can receive by by using a 2″ thick throat capacity, although remember that would keep you from ever printing on anything cylindrical ever since the smallest for any printer for your is all about 4″. On the flip side, purchasing a printer that can handle 15″ substrates for no reason would have been a waste of capital. This is also true with substrate weight capacity. One printer included in the chart is capable of handling around 220 lbs., but the majority are equipped for only a few pounds. Needless to say, forcing a printer to work alongside substrates near or beyond its rated capacity will certainly shorten the life span of your t-shirt printer.
A lot of the bells and whistles associated with UV flatbed printers are just like sound systems in cars-it basically comes down to personal preference. Digital readouts, 05dexqpky control panels, one basic design or another, even the shade of the cabinet can be pure preference but they still play in to the buying formula and they are, therefore, important.
One of the leading applications for UV printing is ADA-compliant signage. Photo courtesy of Direct Color Systems.
Finally, and possibly most significant of, is service and support. I actually have already mentioned these particular printers require some tender loving care. They could be somewhat finicky plus they definitely require ongoing maintenance. This implies what you can do get in touch with someone for help when things don’t go the direction they should is imperative! This isn’t something which can be positioned on a chart. It should be learned hard way. But that doesn’t mean you can’t discover which companies or distributors give good service and those don’t. Customers are usually more than pleased to “spill the beans” about any company that isn’t living as much as its promises. Just ask the sales representative for your contact numbers of countless of the customers who are prepared to be references. Quick responses to calls of help, quick shipment of repair parts and supplies and, of course, friendly, supportive service are invaluable for your personal UV experience to become a pleasant one.
Age of digital printing is here now and it is definitely upon us. Technology within this market consistently develop. It’s really incredible what to do with this equipment. If you haven’t considered digital inkjet printing for your business, maybe you should. It might mean an additional step in the direction of diversification. Regardless of whether you’re not ready to accept the digital printing plunge, check it out. You never know? It may be a profitable part of your future.