In recent years, the business area for original and customized items using UV inkjet printing is expanding for low-volume, high-mix on-demand production. The UV inkjet printer does not require a print-plate, thus the time of delivery and cost is reduced. The new feature of UV inkjet printing enables to only print "what you need" and "when you need," which provides an economic advantage in terms of stocking up to the final product. The optimal solution alternative to screen printing for low-volume, high-mix production is the UV inkjet printing and we predict that this trend will expand rapidly.
What is screen printing?
It is a method that uses a screen (a stencil) plate for printing.
The stencil is used toapply layers of ink on the printing surface. For different color a different stencil is used, one at a time, combined to achieve the final look.
With this method it is possible to print on thick materials, glass, metal, cloth or other materials and dimensions, but it is not possible to use it for subtle or gradation colors.
As it is required to use different stencils for different colors, the screen print method it is not meant for low-volume, high-mix and quick delivery production.
Screen printing and UV printing in the digital era.
The UV digital printing is suitable for medium to high accuracy printing precision and for medium to small lot production.
UV-print main examples
UV and Screen-printing Applications Comparison Sheet
UV inkjet printer allows to do the job in several hours which used to take several days to complete with analog print process.
- It is now possible to create a single sample which have the same quality when compared the final product with the original design.
- Using the digital data makes easy color matching.
- Based on the original design the production can start right away.
- Analog printing requires times for color matching before starting the production. In digital printing that time is no needed.
*Click to view larger image.
What is the UV printing?
- UV printing is a form of digital printing that uses ultra-violet lights to dry or cure ink as it is printed. Curing or drying of the ink is done instantly.
- Plateless digital printing uses the same principle data out put as in the case of home use printers and thus it is effective for small-lot and multi-product production.
Mimaki's rich variation of UV inks
Ideal applications include gift & novelty, name plates, indoor sings, membrane switches, car wrap, flexible and curved materials with a choice of various inks.
Representative ink introduction.
Rigid LH-100 ink is highly scratch resistant
The LH-100 ink features high scratch-resistant, is chemically resistant, and has excellent color reproducibility. Ideal applications are smartphone cases, key fobs made of resins or plastics.
Flexible LUS-120 ink can print on soft materials
The flexible LUS-120 ink stretches up to 170% and delivers beautiful and durable print results on soft materials including leather or polyurethane.
Flexible LUS-150 ink has versatile adhesion capability on to various materials
The LUS-150 ink stretches up to 150% and delivers vibrant color representation. In addition to its use on soft materials, this ink adheres very well to rigid materials such as glass or acrylic. Examples of ideal applications are indoor signs or trophies.
The LUS-200 is representative for car wrap
It is an excellent weather resistant ink, and very flexible being able to expand about 200% after curing. It does not break if stretched or bended and the finishes are beautiful.
The LUS-350 makes possible beautiful prints on hollow products
It can stretch up to 350% after curing if heat it up from 120-200°C. After a flat surface printing, it can be modified without braking and it is ideal for car parts, molded sign boards or mock-ups.
PR-200 primer increases ink adhesion
The PR-200 primer enhances the ink adhesion. The primer can be applied to the required areas by ink-jetting. This feature retains the texture of the material, which is not possible with manual primer application. The PR-200 can be used on resin, glass and metal materials without affecting their texture.
Patent number / JPN: 5817059 USA: US9,132,685 B2
Desk-top UV-curable inkjet printer proposal
- Compact size suitable for offices with limited space
- Printing on A2 size and 153mm or less thickness material is possible.
- With the UV inkjet printing there is no color limit. Full color, gradations, various color expressions printing are now possible.
- With the UV curable-inkjet printers the screen is not needed and the drying time is instant, which makes this type of printers ideal for low-volume and quick deliveries products.
- Printing on clear or colored materials in white pull makes vivid color and printing speed compatible.
- LED does not generate heat and thus no damage is done to the material
- In UV inkjet printing, the ink emits very low levels of VOC (volatile organic carbon), the LED light is a good instrument for power saving and environment friendly because it does not radiate short wavelengths that generate ozone.