One of the more popular options that come with coffee printer recently has been the creation of cylindrical devices for printing things like water bottles. I think that cylindrical tools are offered for an selection for every printer with plenty of throat to fit one. This brings at the very least two questions in the light: One, how user-friendly is the software for establishing a cylindrical job and, two, do I need another specialized ink? Although metal water bottles might be successfully printed with many UV inks, you will find a different story with plastic containers which can be squeezed. These require a flexible ink, so several of the printer manufacturers now provide an ink that stretches up to 200 percent.
The flexible ink option opens up other applications, such as printing banners. Magnetic signs are another possibility plus some manufacturers have built their printers so there are no paramagnetic (steel) parts that will obstruct printing a magnetic material.
Together with the multitude of inks available, a serious decision you should make is picking the best ink for the applications. Inks can’t be easily changed so once an ink is selected you might be pretty much stuck with it for the duration. Ink changes are possible should you thoroughly clean the printer, but this may be time-consuming and is not recommended for job-to-job use.
Inks are usually specific on the manufacturer, and so are paper 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 off their inkjet manufacturers, such as Ricoh and Epson. Depending on the print head, the printer could be able to varying the dimensions of the ink dot from as low as several picoliters to just as much as 20 picoliters. By varying the dot size, the printers are better capable of manipulate ink density, which leads to sharper images and colors that smoothly change from one shade to a different. Variable-dot printing is controlled by firmware from inside the printer as well as its software.
All UV printers feature some sort of RIP (Raster Image Processor) software to operate and control these firmware options. Usually, the RIP software package is created by the producer for a specific printer and it has various functions, for example translating images from your computer into raster images for that printer and enhancing color consistency. While you might struggle to talk and understand RIPs in almost any great detail, you will see the results within the printed image, like vivid reds, bright white and the capability to smoothly transition from a color to a different one. When you are thinking investing in a printer, it’s very important to look closely, compare results and get questions if you notice something which doesn’t look right. Whether it doesn’t look right at the demo, it won’t look right when you get it home!
So how will be the funds in UV printers? What types of products produce enough return to ensure they well worth the $20,000 to $80,000 or maybe more investment attached to these devices? It couldn’t come to be the capability to make one-up products as is the situation with sublimation. Clearly, UV is perfect for the bulk production shop. Although 1,000 water bottles could possibly be personalized because they are printed, the actual contribution from the UV printer is printing plenty of products with similar imprint-what we will call production.
One of several benefits associated with UV digital printing is the opportunity to print detailed full-color images. Photo courtesy of Mimaki USA. The VersaUV LEF-20 flatbed printer can be obtained from Roland DGA Corp. Marco Awards Group is distributing Direct Color Systems’ UV printers for printing on numerous types of items.
One new $80,000 printer reports it could print 225,000 flash drives inside a 40-hour period. That’s a great deal of flash drives and that’s where these printers shine. Obviously, many of us have no need to print numerous flash drives in a week, but this is why you will find smaller machines. The bottom line is choosing a printer that is the right balance between whatever you can afford and what you could justify with demand.
You will find lots of bells and whistles on these printers. Some are super crucial that you many folks and not to others, while other choices are absolutely vital to just a few. Determining which features are very important for your needs and which can be not is not any easy task, and unless you can easily buy blind and look for a printer with every feature on the market, this means a sensible buyer will do a little serious research before plunking down a pile of cash.
Start by eliminating those printers that happen to be just way out of range price-wise and people who, for one reason or other, are unsuited to your applications. Then you could proceed to study the printers which may have potential. It can be important to do head-to-head comparisons of printers you are looking for purchasing by using a chart like the one accompanying this article. This means going to a number of industry events and/or arranging on-site demos. This, obviously, slows the buying experience, but that is actually a good thing. Getting excited about getting a printer and making a decision too rapidly is a lot like new car fever-it can probably bring on buyer’s regrets later.
This is some terminology you should know before considering purchasing any UV printer. First, keep in mind that this short article focuses specifically on UV flatbed printers. Inside the truest form, a4 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 the table along with the print heads move in one fashion or any other.
UV printers with this industry are technically UV LED printers. They normally use a wide range of LED lamps to produce UV light that very quickly cures the ink exposed to it. This is highly advantageous because multiple layers of ink can be laid down and cured, which increases the ink and produces a 3D effect on the substrate. This relief printing is how ADA tactile letters and Grade II Braille are produced using a number of these printers, in addition to textured effects, such as the dimples with a printed picture of a basketball, and raised images. Some printers have the capability to print clear or white ink concurrently as being the CMYK colors, all in one pass, that may greatly increase the printer’s speed. Bi-directional printing is an additional feature that gives 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 magenta (Lc, Lm). Today’s UV printers use a multiple-
channel print head for dispensing ink, typically consisting of six or eight channels. As an example, an eight-channel print head is often setup so there may be one channel each for CMYK plus two channels for clear as well as two channels for white inks. With regards to a printer using Lc and Lm, two of the eight channels would be configured to dispense this ink (e.g. white and clear ink channels).
Direct Print Metallics Plus can be a coated metallic aluminum substrate designed specifically for printing with UV/UV-LED inks. Photo courtesy of Johnson Plastics.
Again, this really is a choice you have got to make, but the majority users can readily do with no Lc and Lm, and merely rely on the CMYK to generate a stunning image. White is, obviously, the difficult color. Because white ink should be opaque, it is actually typically very thick which presents difficulties with clogging paper heads rapidly. To make up just for this, most printers include some form of circulation (agitation) system. This is extremely important. Some printers circulate simply the white or clear inks while others circulate (or agitate) all of the ink colors. Regardless, a word from the experienced is usually to print something daily together with your printer if possible. These printers are designed to be used often and long idle periods can bring about some painful lessons. Mimaki printers feature a feature called a “nozzle recovery system” to check nozzles and, in accordance with the manufacturer, automatically identify and recover clogged print heads. I have got no personal knowledge about this feature, however it sounds like a fantastic one.
From the comparison chart, I have got included the size and weight of every printer. This equipment is huge as printers go and are generally heavy. Some will not go through just one 36″ wide door and a few are extremely heavy that wooden floors will need to be reinforced just before installing the printer, so know about this.
Upon asking one UV printer distributor what advice he gives to newbies, he was quoted saying that you should understand that these printers require significantly more attention and maintenance than sublimation printers or laser engravers. They may be highly technical and require an operator who are able to take care of their idiosyncrasies. Just bringing in a UV printer and letting anyone and everyone operate it is actually a disaster waiting to happen. Likewise, consider preventive maintenance. Many of these printers possess a couple of years warranty but following that, you will certainly be around the hook for print heads as well as other replacement parts which can be many.
Ink has been mentioned yet it is worth another note. Some companies offer only one sort of ink so it is crucial that you realize the capabilities of this ink. Could it stretch? Does it stay with glass (despite having an adhesion promotor)? Would it be fade resistant for exterior use? What kind of color pallet is available? Other companies offer multiple inks that take care of all these issues but, as stated, you can’t just swap inks without notice to.
Typically, you must decide on a single multipurpose ink for every single printer so you need to decide exactly what kind of substrate you want to print on prior to deciding to lie down the cash. True, you may switch inks if you wish to, but this is a costly and involved cleaning process so have the right decision initially.
Printing speed is also worth note. The numbers might mislead anyone looking strictly on the charts and comparing speed. Print speed could be measured in lots of ways, and many printer manufacturers publish the speed numbers in a fashion that causes them to be look the best (no problem with the). The issue is, those numbers don’t compare “apples to apples” considering that 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 as being a base or clear is added being an overcoat. Additional factors also play into this mix so “seeing is believing”-another great reason to visit fulfill the printer personally before making a decision.
The throat of the printer, or perhaps the height from the item it may accommodate and still print on, goes a considerable ways in determining the price. The lesser the throat, the minus the printer is probably going to cost so, once again, try to determine what you are going to print. If the only thing you intend to print is flat acrylic as an example, you may get by using a 2″ thick throat capacity, although keep in mind that would prevent you from ever printing on anything cylindrical ever since the smallest for any printer for this is all about 4″. On the other hand, spending money on a printer that could handle 15″ substrates for no reason at all would be a waste of money. The same holds true with substrate weight capacity. One printer contained in the chart can perform handling as much as 220 lbs., but the majority can handle only a few pounds. Naturally, forcing a printer to do business with substrates near or beyond its rated capacity will definitely shorten the lifestyle of your garment printer.
Lots of the features related to UV flatbed printers are like sound systems in cars-it basically comes down to personal preference. Digital readouts, 05dexqpky control panels, one basic design or some other, including the colour of the cabinet can be pure preference however they still play into the buying formula and they are, therefore, important.
One of the main applications for UV printing is ADA-compliant signage. Photo courtesy of Direct Color Systems.
Finally, as well as perhaps most essential of all the, is service and support. I have got mentioned above that these particular printers require some tender loving care. They may be somewhat finicky and they also definitely require ongoing maintenance. This simply means your ability to get hold of someone for help when things don’t go the direction they should is imperative! This isn’t something that can be put on a chart. It must be learned the tough way. But that doesn’t mean you can’t figure out which companies or distributors give good service and which of them don’t. Customers are usually delighted to “spill the beans” about any business that isn’t living as much as its promises. Just ask the sales representative to the contact numbers of countless 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 for your UV experience to become pleasant one.
The age of digital printing will be here and it is definitely upon us. Technology with this market consistently develop. It’s really incredible what you can do using this equipment. In the event you haven’t considered digital inkjet printing for your business, maybe you should. It could mean another step toward diversification. Even when you’re not ready to accept digital printing plunge, check it out. That knows? It might be a profitable a part of your future.