In this post, we’ll go over everything you need to know about UV printing equipment, as well as the questions you should ask ahead of time.
You “don’t know what you don’t know!” is the terrifying part. This could result in rash decisions and costly errors. UV printing is a relatively recent technology. It’s only been seven to ten years since it’s become established in the marketplace – not a long time. Although many problems have been overcome and systems have improved, technology continues to advance and change at a rapid rate. This means that some brands and models have been phased out or withdrawn entirely, leaving owners in the dark. So, let’s go through some key purchasing considerations before you make your big purchase.
UV Ink Adhesion
You can’t assume the ink will cling and be durable because UV prints straight to the substrate — and hence can print on practically anything. A normal cross-hatch adhesion test should be performed on the substrate before proceeding. For this test, use the printer brand that you are considering. Some brands provide a variety of ink options. Mimaki, for example, offers eight distinct types of ink for various goods. Some are bendable and flexible, while others are ridged for improved adherence. Inquire about testing assistance from the company you’re working with. This could be a red warning if they don’t have running equipment or are unwilling to run.
UV printing Printheads
Consumable print heads are used by some brands, whereas life cycle print heads are used by others. They can endure up to ten years if properly looked for. This is commonly seen in high-end brands. Those models may appear expensive, but when you realize that you’ll need to replace heads every 8 to 12 months for machines with up to eight heads, the cost of consumables soon adds up.
One of the biggest pitfalls you might fall into is not completely comprehending the expense of UV ink. This expense can be easily concealed. Smaller ink cartridges appear to be less expensive at first glance, however this is not the case. When comparing equivalent quantities, models with bulk ink systems are nearly always cheaper to operate and, in some circumstances, hundreds of dollars less.
On the internet, you can find out how much ink costs. The most common unit is “cc,” however “ml” is the equivalent volume. To get the per cc or ml cost, multiply the total package cost by the number of cc or ml. Now double the cc or ml cost by the total volume ink that comes with that brand. Do the same for the brand you’re comparing it to, and the true cost of ink will be revealed. We saved almost $50,000 by doing a five-year ownership term study on a well-known brand.
The backbone of your printer is software, which controls many of the operations involved in the printing process. Because your printer’s software is so important, be sure it allows for technological advancements, boosts usefulness, and improves workflow. This will result in better efficiency and productivity, which will boost your company’s profitability.
Extend the printer’s capabilities
The software should be able to combine the channel data with the software to work with most third-party graphics tools. This enables advanced printing techniques such as texture layering and 3D effects.
Using metadata to link a color value to a name tag, you can create consistent spot colors. Designers may easily reproduce exact colors using this named color space (NCS).
Advanced head control allows you to print small, fine details on small diameter objects.
Improve your color control.
Your printer should allow operators to manage ink quantities more precisely by employing different media profiles, especially when using a white underbase. This cuts down on the amount of white underbase needed and saves a lot of ink without sacrificing the final color output.
Make advanced workflow features available
Operators should be able to customize and build pre-defined workflows using your printer software. As a result, a repeatable procedure may be simply followed, providing uniformity and reproducibility.
It’s also crucial to have a queue-based print job management feature. This allows you to drag and drop jobs onto the platen with queue-specific pre-configured parameters, as well as track the progress of active works.
Use the most up-to-date raster image processing technologies (RIP)
Some of the most important functions in the printing process are performed by RIP software, including:
Using rasterization to prepare artwork for printing.
You can size and position the artwork in relation to the thing you’re printing on.
The UV printer you select must be able to fulfill these tasks while also fitting into your current production environment. It’s also crucial to understand which file types your RIP software can handle directly, without the need for exports or third-party conversions. The RIP you select should be able to handle a wide range of image formats, including those from common imaging and graphic art sources. Furthermore, the system should be able to read and analyze color data encoded in these files.
Never purchase a knockoff.
When you’ve been doing this for a while and have worked a lot of trade shows, you hear a lot of horror stories. My customer purchased a copycat that vanished from the market after a few years, leaving him and his business in ruins – and he owing $18,000 on his machine.
Know what you’re doing before you go! If you ask any corporation, they will tell you that they provide service. This is perhaps the most common source of buyer dissatisfaction. Even huge names might fall short, so don’t assume that a big name entails a lot of backing.
Dealerships that sell a variety of brands and types of equipment should be avoided because they cannot be specialists in all areas. Seek out specialized companies who specialize on a single brand and excel at it. User forums, UV Facebook groups, and social media platforms are all good places to look for this information.