Just about the most popular features of latte art printer recently has been the roll-out of cylindrical devices for printing items like water bottles. I really believe that cylindrical items are offered as being an option for every printer with enough throat to allow for one. This brings at the very least two questions into the light: One, how user-friendly will be the software for setting up a cylindrical job and, two, do I need another specialized ink? Although metal water bottles may be successfully printed with a lot of UV inks, you will find a different story with plastic bottles that may be squeezed. These call for a flexible ink, so several of the printer manufacturers now provide an ink that stretches as much as 200 percent.
The flexible ink option opens other applications, for example printing banners. Magnetic signs are another possibility and several manufacturers have built their printers so there are no paramagnetic (steel) parts that will obstruct printing a magnetic material.
With all the plethora of inks available, a serious decision you have to make is determing the best ink for your personal applications. Inks can’t easily be changed so once an ink is selected you might be pretty much stuck with it to the duration. Ink changes are possible should you thoroughly clean the printer, but this can be time-consuming and it is not suggested for job-to-job use.
Inks are usually specific to the manufacturer, and tend to be paper heads and rails (the bars the heads and UV light run on). Some companies manufacture their own print heads and rails, although many others use assemblies utilizing inkjet manufacturers, including Ricoh and Epson. According to the print head, the printer might be able to varying the actual size of the ink dot from less than a number of picoliters to up to 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 a different. Variable-dot printing is controlled by firmware from the inside the printer as well as its software.
All UV printers have some sort of RIP (Raster Image Processor) software to operate a vehicle and control these firmware options. Usually, the RIP application is created by the manufacturer for a specific printer and it has various functions, such as translating images from your computer into raster images to the printer and enhancing color consistency. Although you may not be able to talk and understand RIPs in virtually any great detail, you will notice the results within the printed image, including vivid reds, bright white and the cabability to smoothly transition from a color to a different. When you are thinking investing in a printer, it’s extremely important to look closely, compare results and ask questions when you see an issue that doesn’t look right. If this doesn’t look right with the demo, it won’t look right once you get it home!
So where will be the cash in UV printers? What sorts of products produce enough return to make them well worth the $20,000 to $80,000 or higher investment connected to these units? It couldn’t possibly be the ability 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 could be personalized since they are printed, the real contribution of your UV printer is printing lots of products with similar imprint-what we should will call production.
One of the great things about UV digital printing is the cabability 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 can print 225,000 flash drives in the 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 a week, but this is why you will find smaller machines. The secret is locating a printer that is only the right balance between whatever you can afford and whatever you can justify with demand.
There are tons of features on these printers. Some are super vital that you some users and never to others, while other options are absolutely vital to only some. Finding out which features are essential for your needs and that happen to be not is not any easy task, and unless you can just buy blind and locate a printer with every feature out there, this means a smart buyer will do some serious research before plunking down a pile of cash.
Start by eliminating those printers which are just solution of range price-wise and those that, first reason or any other, are unsuited for your personal applications. Then you can definitely move on to study the printers which may have potential. It might be beneficial to do head-to-head comparisons of printers you are thinking about purchasing by using a chart such as the one accompanying this post. This implies traveling to a couple of trade events and arranging on-site demos. This, naturally, decelerates the buying experience, but that is truly a a valuable thing. Getting interested in getting a printer and making a decision too quickly is much like new car fever-it will probably bring on buyer’s regrets later.
The following is some terminology you have to know before considering the purchase of any UV printer. First, remember that this post focuses specifically on UV flatbed printers. Within the truest form, a4 uv printer usually has 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 possibility of the substrate moving during printing. However, most desktop flatbed printers are of a hybrid construction where both table as well as the print heads move in one fashion or other.
UV printers with this industry are technically UV LED printers. They utilize a wide range of LED lamps to build UV light that almost instantly cures the ink open to it. This can be highly advantageous because multiple layers of ink may be laid down and cured, which increases the ink and helps to create a 3D influence on the substrate. This relief printing is just how ADA tactile letters and Grade II Braille are produced using a number of these printers, in addition to textured effects, for example the dimples on the printed image of a basketball, and raised images. Some printers have the capability to print clear or white ink as well since the CMYK colors, all in one pass, that may greatly increase the printer’s speed. Bi-directional printing can be another feature that gives increased printing speeds.
All UV printers use CMYK ink sets and now most also employ white and clear. A couple of 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 consisting of six or eight channels. For instance, an eight-channel print head is normally put in place so there may be one channel each for CMYK plus two channels for clear and 2 channels for white inks. When it comes to a printer using Lc and Lm, a couple of the eight channels would be configured to dispense this ink (e.g. white and clear ink channels).
Direct Print Metallics Plus is 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 only rely on the CMYK to produce a stunning image. White is, naturally, the difficult color. Because white ink should be opaque, it is typically very thick which presents difficulties with clogging the print heads rapidly. To make up with this, most printers include some sort of circulation (agitation) system. This is extremely important. Some printers circulate just the white and clear inks although some circulate (or agitate) all of the ink colors. Regardless, anything from your experienced is always to print something daily with your printer if at all possible. These printers are created to be used often and long idle periods can lead to some painful lessons. Mimaki printers add a feature termed as a “nozzle recovery system” to monitor nozzles and, in line with the manufacturer, automatically identify and recover clogged print heads. I actually have no personal experience with this feature, but it really looks like an excellent one.
Inside the comparison chart, I actually have included the weight and size of every printer. This equipment is huge as printers go and they are heavy. Some will not pass through an individual 36″ wide door plus some are extremely heavy that wooden floors will need to be reinforced before 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 it is important to recognize that these printers require considerably more attention and maintenance than sublimation printers or laser engravers. These are highly technical and require an operator that can deal with their idiosyncrasies. Just bringing in a UV printer and letting anyone and everyone operate it is a disaster waiting to happen. Likewise, consider preventive maintenance. Many of these printers possess a year or two warranty but next, you will certainly be about the hook for print heads and other replacement parts which may be many.
Ink was already mentioned yet it is deserving of another note. Some companies offer only one kind of ink so it is vital that you realize the capabilities of that particular ink. Can it stretch? Can it stay with glass (in spite of an adhesion promotor)? Would it be fade resistant for exterior use? What type of color pallet is available? Other businesses offer multiple inks that handle all these issues but, as said before, you can’t just swap inks without notice to.
Typically, you should pick a single multipurpose ink for each printer so you need to decide exactly which kind of substrate you need to print on before you decide to lay down the money. True, you can switch inks if you need to, but this really is a costly and involved cleaning process so create the right decision in the beginning.
Printing speed can also be worth note. The numbers might mislead anyone looking strictly at the charts and comparing speed. Print speed might be measured often, and many printer manufacturers publish the speed numbers in a way that makes them look the ideal (nothing wrong with this). The issue is, those numbers don’t compare “apples to apples” since 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 being a base or clear is added as an overcoat. Other factors also play into this mix so “seeing is believing”-one other good reason to go satisfy the printer in person before making a choice.
The throat of any printer, or the height of the item it might accommodate yet still print on, goes very far in determining the price. The lesser the throat, the less the printer is likely to cost so, yet again, try to determine what you might print. If all you plan to print is flat acrylic as an illustration, you might get by with a 2″ thick throat capacity, although remember that would stop you from ever printing on anything cylindrical considering that the smallest for any printer for your is around 4″. Alternatively, purchasing a printer that may handle 15″ substrates for absolutely no reason would be a waste of income. This is also true with substrate weight capacity. One printer within the chart can perform handling approximately 220 lbs., but many are prepared for just a few pounds. Needless to say, forcing a printer to use substrates near or beyond its rated capacity will definitely shorten the lifestyle in the garment printer.
Lots of the features connected 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 other, even the hue of the cabinet might be pure preference nevertheless they still play in to the buying formula and are, therefore, important.
One of the leading applications for UV printing is ADA-compliant signage. Photo courtesy of Direct Color Systems.
Finally, as well as perhaps most important of most, is service and support. I have got mentioned above these printers require some tender loving care. They could 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 way they should is imperative! This isn’t something that may be positioned on a chart. It should be learned the difficult way. But that doesn’t mean you can’t figure out which companies or distributors give good service and the ones that don’t. People are usually very happy to “spill the beans” about any business that isn’t living as much as its promises. Just ask your profits representative for that phone numbers of several of the customers who are able 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 as a 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 to do with this particular equipment. If you haven’t considered digital inkjet printing to your business, maybe you should. It could mean another step in the direction of diversification. Regardless of whether you’re not ready to accept the digital printing plunge, look it over. Who knows? It may be a profitable component of your future.