Briefly Analyze And Compare: Solvent Printing And UV Printing
Category : Blog
The cost of ink is a large consideration when deciding which ink set to purchase, but there are also the considerations of durability, adhesion, color brightness and coverage. Before you dive into a new wide-format printer, you must carefully consider what you want to accomplish and which ink set will help you get there.
There are many varieties of inks available in the digital printing arena, from solvent and eco-solvent to latex, UV, solvent UV, aqueous (both dye and pigment) and dye sublimation. All inks have a few main components in common: a colorant (dye or pigment) and a carrier liquid. One of the defining qualities is the process where the color is adhered to the material or substrate.
Solvent ink refers to the oil-based solution that holds the pigment and resin, and has the advantage of being fade-resistant, waterproof and resistant to abrasion. Solvent ink can print on many different uncoated banners and vinyls, allowing the pigment to bond better. The solvent then evaporates, or is flashed off with the heaters on the printer, leaving the pigment behind.
This ink will typically resist fading for five to seven years, and is excellent for use with long-term outdoor banners and vinyls. Because volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are present, venting really is a must for this ink.
It does not take a lot of heat for the carrier to evaporate, and because the oil-based solution is so corrosive, a print head with solvent ink is easily clogged. Regular cleanings are mandatory to keep this printer running well. Letting a solvent printer sit around for a few days without maintenance will most likely result in the printer needing a new print head.
It is the current buzzword of the printing industry. Many have heard the term but few consumers know what it entails. Below you will find an introduction to the differences between older solvent-based technology and the current UV systems now available.
Inkjet printing, desktop publishing, and large format prints – have previously used solvent-based technology to adhere ink to substrate. The process entails mixing pigment and a solvent to create liquid ink. The printer head then transfers the liquid onto a substrate, as the solvent evaporates a hard layer of ink remains.
In principal, watercolor paint works the same way. While water used to dissolve paints is harmless industrial solvents for printing are extremely toxic. To ensure the safety of employees and customers at a printing facility, complex ventilation systems must be installed to remove and capture hazardous airborne chemicals.
UV stands for Ultra Violet. The inks in UV printing do not dry but are cured by intense blast of ultra violet light. Many times more powerful than sunlight, UV lamps move back and forth with every pass of the printer head instantaneously fixing the printed image. By removing solvents from the process, virtually all dangers for the operator are removed with the exception of accidental sunburn :).
As printing technology evolves UV printing is fast becoming the new industry standard. Because there are no solvents used this system produces no dangerous VOC’s (Volatile Organic Compounds), requires no ventilation, has a higher percentage of recyclable content, and cuts cost because of reduced drying time. Duggal has currently has 6 large format UV printers including the first of its kind in the US Durst 16 foot printer. To learn more about the eco-friendly aspects with UV printing check out this article.
Differences in quality for UV and solvent processes are also important to consider. Research and Development for new technology now revolves almost exclusively around UV printers. Older solvent machines have reached their technological pinnacle as the rearguard passes them by. UV technology offers sharper images, greater detail, wider color ranges, faster and safer printing. On every front UV technology is matching and in many accounts surpassing existing technology.