One in the great things about UV digital printing is the ability to print detailed full-color images. Photo due to Mimaki USA. The coffee printer is accessible from Roland DGA Corp. Marco Awards Group is distributing Direct Color Systems’ UV printers for printing on a wide selection of items.
One new $80,000 printer reports it may print 225,000 flash drives in a 40-hour period. That’s a lot of flash drives and that’s where these printers shine. Obviously, just about everyone has no should print numerous flash drives inside a week, but that’s why you’ll find smaller machines. The key is getting a printer that is just the right balance between what you can afford and what you could justify with demand.
There are tons of great features on these printers. Some are super crucial that you some users rather than to others, while other choices are absolutely vital to just one or two. Figuring out which features are crucial that you you and which are not is not any easy task, and unless you are able to just buy blind in order to find a printer with every feature around, it implies a wise buyer is going to accomplish some serious research before plunking down a pile of cash.
You can start through the elimination of those printers which are just way out of range price-wise and those that, for one reason or some other, are unsuited for the applications. Then you can move on to study the printers which may have potential. It could be helpful to perform head-to-head comparisons of printers you are considering purchasing by using a chart much like the one accompanying this informative article. This means traveling to a couple of trade shows and/or arranging on-site demos. This, naturally, decreases the buying experience, that is actually a positive thing. Getting excited about buying a printer and picking a choice too quickly is similar 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 of the UV printer. First, note that this short article focuses specifically on UV flatbed printers. In the truest form, a flatbed printer usually has a fixed print head and the flat table holding the substrate moves under paper head during printing. Supposedly, this design cuts down on possibility from the substrate moving during printing. However, most desktop flatbed printers are of your hybrid construction where the two table along with the print heads move in one fashion or another.
UV printers with this industry are technically UV LED printers. They use a range of LED lamps to get UV light that quickly cures the ink subjected to it. This is highly advantageous because multiple layers of ink might be laid down and cured, which accumulates the ink and helps to create a 3D effect for the substrate. This relief printing is when ADA tactile letters and Grade II Braille are created using some of the printers, along with textured effects, for example the dimples on the printed image of an basketball, and raised images. Some printers have the ability to print clear or white ink with the same time because the CMYK colors, all in the single pass, which could greatly increase the printer’s speed. Bi-directional printing is the one other feature which gives increased printing speeds.
All UV printers use CMYK ink sets and after this most also use white and clear. A few offer the option of light cyan and lightweight magenta (Lc, Lm). Today’s uv printer have a multiple – channel print head for dispensing ink, typically comprising six or eight channels. For instance, an eight-channel print head is normally set up so there exists one channel each for CMYK plus two channels for clear as well as channels for white inks. In the truth of a printer using Lc and Lm, two in the eight channels would 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 due to Johnson Plastics.
Again, this is a choice you simply must make, but a majority of users can simply do with no Lc and Lm, and rely on the CMYK to make a stunning image. White is, naturally, the difficult color. Because white ink needs to be opaque, it can be typically very thick which presents problems with clogging paper heads pretty quickly. To compensate with this, most printers include some form of circulation (agitation) system. This is extremely important. Some printers circulate merely the white and/or clear inks although some circulate (or agitate) each of the ink colors. Regardless, anything from the experienced is to print something daily together with your printer when possible. These printers are supposed to be used often and long idle periods can lead to 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, however it sounds like an incredible one.
In the comparison chart, I have included the size and weight of each printer. These machines are huge as printers go and they are heavy. Some will not likely pass through just one 36″ wide door and a few are so heavy that wooden floors will need to be reinforced ahead of installing the printer, so be familiar with this.
Upon asking one UV printer distributor what advice he’d give to newbies, he was quoted saying that it is important to know that these printers require significantly more attention and maintenance than sublimation printers or laser engravers. They are highly technical and require an operator who are able to deal with their idiosyncrasies. Just bringing inside a UV printer and letting anyone and everyone operate it is often a disaster waiting to happen. Likewise, consider preventive maintenance. Many of these printers have a year or two warranty but next, you will be about the hook for print heads and also other replacement parts which could be many.
GoVivid, a Rowmark division, provides the Breeze (left) along with the Wave UV digital printers.
Ink had been mentioned however it is worth another note. Some companies offer only one type of ink so it is important that you view the capabilities of this ink. Will it stretch? Will it stay with glass (despite an adhesion promotor)? Is it fade resistant for exterior use? What kind of color pallet is accessible? Other companies offer multiple inks that take care of each of those issues but, as stated, you are able to’t just swap inks whenever you wish to.
Typically, you have to select just one multipurpose ink for each and every printer so you should decide what exactly type of substrate you wish to print on before you decide to lay down the amount of money. True, you’ll be able to switch inks if you have to, but this is really a costly and involved cleaning process so increase the risk for right decision within the beginning.
Printing speed can be worthy of note. The numbers might mislead anyone looking strictly with the charts and comparing speed. Print speed could be measured in many ways, and many printer manufacturers publish the velocity numbers inside a way that means they are look the very best (nothing wrong achievable). 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 justified reason to go fulfill the printer directly before making a decision.
The throat of a printer, or perhaps the height with the item it might accommodate but still print on, goes a long way in determining the purchase price. The smaller the throat, the less the printer will probably cost so, yet again, try to determine what you are going to print. If all you plan to print is flat acrylic as an example, you might get by having a 2″ thick throat capacity, although keep in mind that would prevent you from ever printing on anything cylindrical because the smallest associated with a printer for that’s about 4″. On the other hand, paying to get a printer that are equipped for 15″ substrates for no reason would be a waste of money. The same is true with substrate weight capacity. One printer included inside the chart is competent at handling approximately 220 lbs., most can handle only some pounds. Of course, forcing a printer to operate with substrates near or beyond its rated capacity will shorten the life in the printer.
Many with the bells and whistles related to dtg printer are similar to sound systems in cars—it basically is dependant on personal preference. Digital readouts, remote device panels, one basic design or some other, even the color of the cabinet might be pure preference but they still play into the buying formula and so are, therefore, important.
One in the major applications for UV printing is ADA-compliant signage. Photo courtesy of Direct Color Systems.
Finally, and perhaps most important coming from all, is service and support. I have mentioned above that these printers require some tender loving care. They could be somewhat finicky plus they definitely require ongoing maintenance. This means your ability to contact someone for help when things don’t go where did they should is imperative! This isn’t something that may be placed on the chart. It has to be learned the difficult way. But that doesn’t mean you are able to’t figure out which companies or distributors give good service and which of them don’t. Customers are usually more than happy to “spill the beans” about any organization that isn’t living up to its promises. Just ask the sales representative to the phone numbers of countless of their clients who are prepared to be references. Quick responses to calls of help, quick shipment of repair parts and supplies and, naturally, friendly, supportive service are invaluable on your UV experience to become pleasant one.
The age of digital printing is here and is definitely here. Technology with this market is constantly on the develop. It’s really incredible what you are able do using this equipment. If you haven’t considered digital inkjet printing to your business, you could possibly should. It could mean an additional step in the direction of diversification. Even should you’re not ready to take the digital printing plunge, check it out. Who knows? It could be a profitable portion of your future.