One of the more popular options that come with latte art printer recently has been the development of cylindrical devices for printing such things as water bottles. I really believe that cylindrical products are offered as an selection for every printer with sufficient throat to fit one. This brings no less than two questions in the light: One, how user-friendly is definitely the software for generating 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 bottles which can be squeezed. These demand a flexible ink, so several of the printer manufacturers now provide an ink that stretches approximately 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 actually no paramagnetic (steel) parts that could interfere with printing a magnetic material.
Together with the plethora of inks available, a significant decision you need to make is finding the right ink for the applications. Inks can’t be easily changed so once an ink is selected you happen to be pretty much bound to it for your duration. Ink changes are possible if you thoroughly clean the printer, but this is often time-consuming and it is not recommended for job-to-job use.
Inks are usually specific to the manufacturer, and so are the print heads and rails (the bars the heads and UV light run using). Some companies manufacture their very own print heads and rails, although many others use assemblies off their inkjet manufacturers, for example Ricoh and Epson. Depending on the print head, the printer may be able to varying the dimensions of the ink dot from as little as a couple of picoliters to around 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 software.
All UV printers have some sort of RIP (Raster Image Processor) software to drive and control these firmware options. Usually, the RIP software package is designed by the company to get a specific printer and contains various functions, for example translating images through your computer into raster images for that printer and enhancing color consistency. Although you may be unable to talk and understand RIPs in any great detail, you will notice the outcome in the printed image, for example vivid reds, bright white and the ability to smoothly transition from a single color to a different. When you are considering getting a printer, it’s crucial to search closely, compare results and get questions when you notice a thing that doesn’t look right. If this doesn’t look right at the demo, it won’t look right when investing in it home!
So where will be the money in UV printers? What kinds of products produce enough return to ensure they are definitely worth the $20,000 to $80,000 or higher investment attached to these products? It couldn’t come to be the capability to make one-up products as is the situation with sublimation. Clearly, UV is for the bulk production shop. Although one thousand water bottles may be personalized since they are printed, the true contribution in the UV printer is printing a great deal of products using the same imprint-everything we will call production.
One of the primary advantages of UV digital printing is the cabability to print detailed full-color images. Photo thanks to Mimaki USA. The VersaUV LEF-20 flatbed printer is available 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 could print 225,000 flash drives within a 40-hour period. That’s plenty of flash drives and that’s where these printers shine. Obviously, many of us have no requirement to print numerous flash drives in one week, but that is why you can find smaller machines. The secret is finding a printer that is only the right balance between what you could afford and whatever you can justify with demand.
You will find loads of bells and whistles on these printers. Some are super crucial that you quite a few users instead of to others, while additional options are absolutely vital to only some. Determining which features are crucial for you and which are not is not any easy task, and unless you can just buy blind and look for a printer with every feature on the market, it means a smart buyer is going to do a little serious research before plunking down a pile of cash.
You could start by reducing those printers which are just way out of range price-wise and those that, for one reason or some other, are unsuited for your applications. Then you can definitely move on to study the printers that have potential. It may be useful to do head-to-head comparisons of printers you are interested in purchasing by using a chart like the one accompanying this post. This implies going to several trade shows and arranging on-site demos. This, obviously, slows down the buying experience, but that is truly a good thing. Getting enthusiastic about buying a printer and making a decision too quickly is much like new car fever-it would probably bring on buyer’s regrets later.
This is some terminology you need to know before considering the purchase of any UV printer. First, note that this post focuses specifically on UV flatbed printers. From the truest form, small uv printer usually has a fixed print head as well as the flat table holding the substrate moves within the print head during printing. Supposedly, this design reduces the potential of the substrate moving during printing. However, most desktop flatbed printers are of your hybrid construction where both table and the print heads transfer one fashion or any other.
UV printers with this industry are technically UV LED printers. They utilize a wide range of LED lamps to create UV light that quickly cures the ink in contact with it. This can be highly advantageous because multiple layers of ink might be laid down and cured, which increases the ink and helps to create a 3D impact on the substrate. This relief printing is just how ADA tactile letters and Grade II Braille are set up using a few of these printers, in addition to textured effects, for example the dimples on the printed picture of a basketball, and raised images. Some printers have the ability to print clear or white ink simultaneously because the CMYK colors, all in a single pass, which may greatly increase the printer’s speed. Bi-directional printing is another feature which gives increased printing speeds.
All UV printers use CMYK ink sets and now most also employ white and clear. A few offer the choice of light cyan and light-weight magenta (Lc, Lm). Today’s UV printers possess a multiple-
channel print head for dispensing ink, typically comprising six or eight channels. For example, an eight-channel print head is often setup so there is 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, a pair of the eight channels will be configured to dispense this ink (e.g. white and/or clear ink channels).
Direct Print Metallics Plus can be a coated metallic aluminum substrate designed particularly for printing with UV/UV-LED inks. Photo courtesy of Johnson Plastics.
Again, it is a choice you will need to make, but many users can readily do minus the Lc and Lm, and only depend upon the CMYK to produce a stunning image. White is, needless to say, 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 compensate just for this, most printers include some type of circulation (agitation) system. This is extremely important. Some printers circulate merely the white or clear inks while some circulate (or agitate) every one of the ink colors. Regardless, a word from your experienced is always to print something daily together with your printer if at all possible. These printers are designed to be used often and long idle periods can lead to some painful lessons. Mimaki printers include a feature termed as a “nozzle recovery system” to keep track of nozzles and, based on the manufacturer, automatically identify and recover clogged print heads. I actually have no personal experience with this feature, but it looks like an excellent one.
From the comparison chart, I actually have included the weight and size of every printer. This equipment is huge as printers go plus they are heavy. A few will not move through one particular 36″ wide door and some are extremely heavy that wooden floors will have to be reinforced just before installing the printer, so be familiar with this.
Upon asking one UV printer distributor what advice he will give to newbies, he said that it is very important know that these printers require significantly more attention and maintenance than sublimation printers or laser engravers. These are highly technical and require an operator who is able to deal with their idiosyncrasies. Just attracting a UV printer and letting anyone and everybody operate it really is a disaster waiting to happen. Likewise, consider preventive maintenance. A number of these printers use a couple of years warranty but afterward, you will certainly be around the hook for print heads as well as other replacement parts which may be many.
Ink has been mentioned but it is worth another note. Some companies offer only one kind of ink so it is vital that you recognize the capabilities of this ink. Will it stretch? Could it stick to glass (despite an adhesion promotor)? Could it be fade resistant for exterior use? What type of color pallet is accessible? Other companies offer multiple inks that take care of each of these issues but, as mentioned, you can’t just swap inks whenever you want to.
Typically, you must choose a single multipurpose ink for each and every printer so you have to decide exactly what type of substrate you would like to print on prior to lay out the money. True, you can switch inks if you want to, but this really is a costly and involved cleaning process so make your right decision at first.
Printing speed is additionally deserving of note. The numbers might mislead anyone looking strictly in the charts and comparing speed. Print speed could be measured in many ways, and a lot printer manufacturers publish the pace numbers in a manner that makes them look the very best (no problem using that). 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 being a base or clear is added as being an overcoat. Other variables also play into this mix so “seeing is believing”-another good reason to visit meet the printer personally before making a choice.
The throat of your printer, or even the height of the item it can accommodate but still print on, goes a long way in determining the price. Smaller the throat, the minus the printer is probably going to cost so, yet again, try to determine what you are likely to print. If all that you plan to print is flat acrylic as an illustration, you may get by having a 2″ thick throat capacity, although take into account that would prevent you from ever printing on anything cylindrical considering that the smallest of any printer for that is about 4″. Alternatively, purchasing a printer that will handle 15″ substrates for no reason would be a waste of income. The same holds true with substrate weight capacity. One printer included in the chart is capable of handling up to 220 lbs., but most are designed for only a few pounds. Obviously, forcing a printer to use substrates near or beyond its rated capacity is certain to shorten the lifespan in the garment printer.
A lot of the features associated with UV flatbed printers are exactly like sound systems in cars-it basically is dependant on personal preference. Digital readouts, 05dexqpky control panels, one basic design or some other, even the hue of the cabinet could be pure preference nonetheless 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 thanks to Direct Color Systems.
Finally, and possibly most significant of all the, is service and support. I actually have already mentioned that these particular printers require some tender loving care. They could be somewhat finicky and they definitely require ongoing maintenance. This implies your skill 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 added to a chart. It needs to be learned the hard way. But that doesn’t mean you can’t discover which companies or distributors give good service and which of them don’t. Consumers are usually more than pleased to “spill the beans” about any company that isn’t living around its promises. Just ask your sales representative for your contact numbers of numerous of their customers who are likely to be references. Quick responses to calls of help, quick shipment of repair parts and supplies and, obviously, friendly, supportive service are invaluable for your UV experience as a pleasant one.
Age of digital printing is here now and is also definitely upon us. Technology in this particular market consistently develop. It’s really incredible what to do using this equipment. Should you haven’t considered digital inkjet printing for the business, perhaps you should. It may mean one more step in the direction of diversification. Even when you’re not ready to accept digital printing plunge, give it a look. Who knows? It might be a profitable part of your future.