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UV Inkjet Printers Face Modern Challenges

(October 2011) posted on Tue Nov 22, 2011

UV inkjet printers have proven themselves capable of handling many types of graphics projects. Some are easy and routine; others take a bit of daring and creativity.

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By Gail Flower

In this article, we interviewed ten printers and asked them to share a few of the more difficult, but satisfying, applications produced with UV inkjet printing. Keep in mind that business size, market focus, expertise, and experiences are very different. The one common thread is that each company used UV inkjet printing as a way to expand business.

Severn Graphics, Inc.
Glen Burnie, MD
Jeff Sparhawk, VP

Severn Graphics bought a flatbed UV inkjet printer in 2005 and has since been able to provide a broader and more architecturally exciting variety of substrates into play. In turn, the company’s designers can give customers a more unique graphical element in their interior and exterior designs. It also reduced the amount of steps that go into producing rigid graphics, making it more economical for the client in the long run.

Severn took on a job that involved covering the exterior walls, windows, and gates of an abandoned, prominent landmark in downtown Baltimore, MD (Figure 1). The wall surfaces were a mixture of materials. Severn used its Durst Rho 205/16 to produce the graphics on more than 200 5 x 10-ft sheets of 6-mm corrugated plastic and installed the pieces like tiles around the entire perimeter of the area after just one week of notice.

Making images that fit unusually large sizes involves measuring the space ahead of time very carefully. The Morris Mechanic Theater in Baltimore, MD, required such advance planning. There, Severn calculated the space’s dimensions and then printed and installed graphic panels with interesting images that appeared to be reflections but allowed see-through window viewing as well (Figure 2).

Another noteworthy job was the production of floating ceiling panels for an aircraft company in Seattle, WA (Figure 3). “The client had a very upscale waiting room with 30-foot ceilings, designed as a meeting spot for corporate jet flyers,” Jeff Sparhawk says.

The architects wanted to give the feeling of a lowered, floating ceiling with an aircraft turbine graphic that was repeated throughout the space, but they didn’t want an opaque image that simply looked like mounted prints. Severn Graphics engineered a cable system to hang acrylic panels that had turbines printed on them in such a way that light could flow through this creative design element. Severn printed directly to 0.375-in.-thick acrylic and used partial varnish and a partial white channel.


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