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The Latest Advances in UV Inks, Part I

(June 2010) posted on Mon May 24, 2010

Screen Printing asked industry experts to comment on the latest advancements in UV inks.

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By Gail Flower

Steve Mitchell Energy curable inks and coatings continue to be one of the fastest growing segments within the printing industry. One of the big reasons for this is continued interest in green technology. Energy curable (EC) inks are considered to be 100% solids. A goal of EC printers is to continually improve cure speeds. Faster and faster press speeds are now being offered by most ink companies. It is not uncommon to cure a fairly heavy ink film with one or two UV lamps where in the past several were required. Because there is instantaneous cure of the ink, it is not uncommon to apply a heavy coverage of screen white, overprint with UV flexo, and then apply a coating, diecut inline, and ship labels right out the door.

Robin McMillan More and more of our customers are increasingly turning to UV solutions. The main reason is because UV inks help cost savings even further. UV inks may typically cost more than solvent-based inks, but they can ultimately save users by as much as 30%, depending on the printers they use. The inks are easy to use, dry instantly when cured, and provide significant throughput savings, which are derived from a higher coverage per pound, thus reducing ink usage, requiring fewer stops and wash-ups, and increasing productivity. In the screen-printing industry, unlike other ink-printing processes that might require cleaning during a print job, screens don’t have to be cleaned when using UV inks, thus increasing screen stability and productivity.

Grant Shouldice The main value proposition for UV inks is in the generation of efficiency in the printing process. Other reasons include superior aesthetic properties including gloss (acrylic polymers formed in situ are inherently glossy), superior mechanical properties with great adhesion to a variety of substrates, and there are zero VOCs.

Bruce Ridge Printers are looking for inks that cure fast, work well on a multitude of substrates/media, have a low residual odor, low VOCs, and are competitively priced.

What are some of the specific advances in UV inks for screen and digital printing?


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