One of the most popular features of latte art printer recently has become the introduction of cylindrical devices for printing items like water bottles. I think that cylindrical devices are offered as an selection for every printer with plenty of throat to support one. This brings a minimum of two questions into the light: One, how user-friendly will be the software for generating a cylindrical job and, two, should i need another specialized ink? Although metal water bottles might be successfully printed with most UV inks, you will find a different story with plastic containers which can be squeezed. These demand a flexible ink, so a few of the printer manufacturers now offer an ink that stretches approximately 200 percent.
The flexible ink option opens other applications, like printing banners. Magnetic signs are another possibility and several manufacturers have built their printers so there are no paramagnetic (steel) parts that could hinder printing a magnetic material.
With the great number of inks available, a serious decision you have to make is determing the best ink for the applications. Inks can’t be easily changed so once an ink is selected you are basically stuck with it for your duration. Ink changes are possible should you thoroughly clean the printer, but this could be time-consuming and is not advised for job-to-job use.
Inks are often specific on the manufacturer, and are therefore the print heads and rails (the bars the heads and UV light are powered by). Some companies manufacture their own print heads and rails, although others use assemblies from other inkjet manufacturers, including Ricoh and Epson. Dependant upon the print head, the printer can be effective at varying the dimensions of the ink dot from well under a few picoliters to around 20 picoliters. By varying the dot size, the printers are better able to manipulate ink density, which results in sharper images and colours that smoothly vary from one shade to another. Variable-dot printing is controlled by firmware from the inside the printer and its particular software.
All UV printers come with some type of RIP (Raster Image Processor) software to drive and control these firmware options. Usually, the RIP application is produced by the maker to get a specific printer and contains various functions, for example translating images out of your computer into raster images for your printer and enhancing color consistency. Although you may be unable to talk and understand RIPs in every great detail, you can see the outcome in the printed image, including vivid reds, bright white and the cabability to smoothly transition from one color to another. When you are thinking investing in a printer, it’s crucial to search closely, compare results and request questions if you notice something which doesn’t look right. Whether it doesn’t look right in the demo, it won’t look right when you get it home!
So where will be the cash in UV printers? What sorts of products produce enough return so they are really worth the $20,000 to $80,000 or even more investment attached to these units? It couldn’t possibly be the cabability to make one-up products as is the situation with sublimation. Clearly, UV is made for the bulk production shop. Although 1,000 water bottles may be personalized because they are printed, the real contribution from the UV printer is printing lots of products with the exact same imprint-what we should will call production.
One of several great things about UV digital printing is the opportunity to print detailed full-color images. Photo thanks to Mimaki USA. The VersaUV LEF-20 flatbed printer is offered 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 might print 225,000 flash drives in the 40-hour period. That’s a lot of flash drives and that’s where these printers shine. Obviously, most of us have no need to print countless flash drives in one week, but this is why you can find smaller machines. The key is finding a printer that is only the right balance between what you are able afford and what you can justify with demand.
You will find lots of bells and whistles on these printers. Some are super crucial that you quite a few users instead of to others, while other choices are absolutely vital to only a few. Determining which features are essential to you personally and that happen to be not is no easy task, and unless you can easily buy blind and find a printer with every feature around, it indicates an intelligent buyer will almost certainly carry out some serious research before plunking down a pile of money.
Start through the elimination of those printers that happen to be just way out of range price-wise and those that, for just one reason or any other, are unsuited to your applications. Then you can start working on study the printers which may have potential. It may be helpful to do head-to-head comparisons of printers you are looking for purchasing using a chart much like the one accompanying this article. This means visiting several industry events and/or arranging on-site demos. This, naturally, decreases the buying experience, but that is actually a positive thing. Getting excited about getting a printer and making a decision too rapidly is similar to new car fever-it will probably bring on buyer’s regrets later.
Here is some terminology you have to know before considering the purchase of any UV printer. First, be aware that this article focuses specifically on UV flatbed printers. From the truest form, uv printer usually features a fixed print head and the flat table holding the substrate moves within the print head during printing. Supposedly, this design reduces the possibility of the substrate moving during printing. However, most desktop flatbed printers are of any hybrid construction where the two table along with the print heads transfer one fashion or other.
UV printers with this industry are technically UV LED printers. They use an array of LED lamps to create UV light that right away cures the ink exposed to it. This is highly advantageous because multiple layers of ink could be laid down and cured, which increases the ink and fosters a 3D impact on the substrate. This relief printing is just how ADA tactile letters and Grade II Braille are created using a number of these printers, as well as textured effects, like the dimples on a printed picture of a basketball, and raised images. Some printers have the capability to print clear or white ink concurrently as the CMYK colors, all in just one pass, which can greatly enhance the printer’s speed. Bi-directional printing is an additional feature that gives increased printing speeds.
All UV printers use CMYK ink sets and now most also employ white and clear. A few offer a choice of light cyan and light-weight 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 normally create so there is certainly one channel each for CMYK plus two channels for clear as well as two channels for white inks. In the matter of a printer using Lc and Lm, a couple of the eight channels would be configured to dispense this ink (e.g. white and/or clear ink channels).
Direct Print Metallics Plus is actually 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 will have to make, but many users can certainly do without the Lc and Lm, and simply depend on 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 problems with clogging the print heads fairly quickly. To make up for this particular, most printers include some type of circulation (agitation) system. This is important. Some printers circulate only the white or clear inks while others circulate (or agitate) each of the ink colors. Regardless, a word in the experienced is always to print something daily together with your printer if possible. These printers are supposed to be used often and long idle periods can bring about some painful lessons. Mimaki printers include a feature termed as a “nozzle recovery system” to keep track of nozzles and, in accordance with the manufacturer, automatically identify and recover clogged print heads. I actually have no personal knowledge of this feature, but it really sounds like a fantastic one.
Within the comparison chart, I have included the dimensions for each printer. These machines are huge as printers go and are generally heavy. Most will not pass through a single 36″ wide door plus some are so 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 will give to newbies, he stated that it is important to understand that these printers require significantly more attention and maintenance than sublimation printers or laser engravers. They are highly technical and require an operator who can deal with their idiosyncrasies. Just bringing in a UV printer and letting anyone and everyone operate it really is a disaster waiting to take place. Likewise, consider preventive maintenance. Several of these printers possess a couple of years warranty but afterward, you will certainly be on the hook for print heads and also other replacement parts which is often many.
Ink has been mentioned however it is worth another note. Some companies offer only one kind of ink so it is crucial that you are aware of the capabilities of that ink. Could it stretch? Can it adhere to glass (even with an adhesion promotor)? Is it fade resistant for exterior use? What kind of color pallet can be obtained? Other companies offer multiple inks that take care of each one of these issues but, as stated, you can’t just swap inks without notice to.
Typically, you have to pick a single multipurpose ink for each and every printer so you have to decide exactly what type of substrate you wish to print on before you lay down the bucks. True, you can switch inks if you have to, but this can be a costly and involved cleaning process so make the right decision initially.
Printing speed is also worth note. The numbers might mislead anyone looking strictly with the charts and comparing speed. Print speed might be measured in several ways, and many printer manufacturers publish the rate numbers in a manner that ensures they are look the very best (no problem with the). The thing is, those numbers don’t compare “apples to apples” because the numbers might vary wildly when comparing draft mode (720 x 720 dpi) with production mode (1440 x 1440 dpi or higher). Speed also varies when white is added like a base or clear is added being an overcoat. Other factors also play into this mix so “seeing is believing”-another great reason to look fulfill the printer personally before making a choice.
The throat of any printer, or perhaps the height from the item it might accommodate but still print on, goes very far in determining the retail price. Small the throat, the minus the printer will probably cost so, yet again, try to find out what you are going to print. If all you could plan 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 since the smallest of the printer for your is about 4″. On the flip side, purchasing a printer that will handle 15″ substrates for no reason at all will be a waste of capital. The same is true with substrate weight capacity. One printer in the chart is capable of doing handling approximately 220 lbs., but a majority of are equipped for just a few pounds. Needless to say, forcing a printer to use substrates near or beyond its rated capacity is sure to shorten the life from the textile printer.
Many of the bells and whistles related to UV flatbed printers are just like sound systems in cars-it basically relies on personal preference. Digital readouts, 05dexqpky control panels, one basic design or other, the hue of the cabinet may be pure preference but they still play in to the buying formula and so are, therefore, important.
One of the major applications for UV printing is ADA-compliant signage. Photo courtesy of Direct Color Systems.
Finally, and possibly most essential of all the, is service and support. I have got mentioned previously these particular printers require some tender loving care. They are often somewhat finicky and so they definitely require ongoing maintenance. This implies what you can do 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 positioned on a chart. It has to be learned the hard way. But that doesn’t mean you can’t figure out which companies or distributors give good service and which ones don’t. Clients are usually more than pleased to “spill the beans” about any business that isn’t living up to its promises. Just ask your sales representative for your phone numbers of various 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 to your UV experience as a pleasant one.
Age of digital printing is here and is also definitely upon us. Technology with this market consistently develop. It’s really incredible what you can do with this particular equipment. Should you haven’t considered digital inkjet printing for your personal business, perhaps you should. It might mean an additional step in the direction of diversification. Even if you’re not ready to accept the digital printing plunge, take a look. You never know? It might be a profitable component of your future.