uv printer application

UV Printing for Beginners: A Simple but Complete Guide (with Video)

UV printing is a cutting-edge digital printing technique has been making faster, durable, vibrant and high-quality prints directly on a vast range of material. As UV printing is high demand for most industries including furniture, decoration, packaging, electronic products, automotive, personalized groceries and etc, more printing business owners choose it.

If you want to know everything about UV printing, you’ve come to the right place here, this complete UV printing guide includes:

What is UV Printing?

UV printing is a digital printing technique that utilizes Ultra Violet curing technology directly print and instantly dry UV ink on materials and “substrates”. It can work to 3D printing at different shapes.

For better understanding, this video explains how does the cutting-edge UV printing work: print designs, images and graphics on magic cub, bricks (something like LEGO) and etc..

UV printing can directly print on a wide range of products, including wood, acrylic, glass, crystal and more. One of the most prominent advantages of UV printing is its faster printing speed and higher printing efficiency, in addition to this, UV printing also features high accuracy, high definition and long lasting time. Moreover, UV ink is eco-friendly, which does not contain harmful substances and will not pollute the environment.

How Does UV Printing Work?

During UV printing process, UV printer distributes the UV ink to the surface through the voltage inside the nozzle, as soon as the ink reaches the surface, the UV LED lamp cures the ink to form patterns. As UV printing work process explains in above video, the UV printing is contactless to the printing surface.

From this point of view, the printing principle of UV printing is obviously different from conventional printing. The 5 steps of UV printing include:

Step 1: Preparation

Some preparation work needs to be done before UV printing. First of all, make sure that UV printer is in correct working environment, no direct sunlight and moisture. Secondly, check whether the ink and media of the UV printer are sufficient. At last, ensure that the power connection and data cable connection of the UV printer should be normal to ensure that the UV printer can work normally.

Step 2: Set Print Parameter

The print parameter of UV printer includes printing quality, printing speed, ink type, printing resolution and etc. It needs to be set according to actual printing task requirements. Usually the settings can be done on the control panel of UV printer.

Step 3: Choose Printing Image & Pattern

After setting printing parameters, the next step is to choose the image or patterns wanted to print. When choosing image, pay attention to the resolution and size of the image to guarantee the print quality and performance.  

Step 4: Start UV Printing

After finishing the step 1-3 as mentioned above, the UV printing can start now. During printing, remember to monitor the working condition of UV printer. In case of abnormal occurs, it is necessary to handle it timely to avoid affecting the quality and effect of printing.

Step 5: After-Printing Treatment

After printing, we need to do some subsequent processing work. Firstly, clean the UV printer in order to avoid ink residues and keep the core components such as machine head, guide rail tidy, or that may influence the printing quality in the next time use. Secondly, handle with the printed patterns. If needed, store the rest printed stickers correctly for subsequent use. At last, turn off the power of UV printer when all the things are done.

What Can You Make with UV Printing?

UV printing has already been applied in all walks of life, including industrial manufacturing, home decor, advertisement industry and medical industry.

Industrial manufacturing: At UV printing, the printer can output prints of high definition and adhesion, which could be used on auto parts, electronic equipment and etc, UV printing bus shelter is a good example.

Home decor: UV printing is suitable for personalized customization. As a result, UV printer can print personalized designs on home decoration materials such as furniture, tiles, wallpaper and other home decoration materials.

Advertisement industry: UV printing images are of vibrant colors and strong durability, which will show the advertising performance well, as a result, banners, outdoor flags by UV printing are more outstanding than other printing methods.

Medical industry: UV printers can enhance the safety and efficiency of medical equipment by printing high-definition, high-attachment signs, and descriptions onto them.

The list of UV printing applications gives straightforward understanding to what are the products done by UV printing in everyday life.

UV printing applications
UV printing application samples

What are the Materials UV Printing can Work on?

One of the most advantage of UV printing is it works on almost all kinds of materials and substrates.

UV printing can work on materials as lists: 

  • Wood, leather;
  • PVC, PC, PET, PE, ABS tablets;
  • Corrugated cardboard, hollow plate, KT board, chever board;
  • Glass, tiles, marble;
  • Acrylic boards;
  • Aluminum plastic boards, polyurethane boards
  • Other hard surface substrates;
UV printing material

How Much Does UV Printing Cost?

According to the data until 2024, in the global market, the UV printing costs from USD $4500 to $35000, or higher. The cost of UV printing is mainly composed by 3 parts: the price of UV printer, the spending on UV  printing supplies (ink and other consumables) and energy consumption bill. 

Here is how UV printing costs generally calculate:

UV Printer Price

In the market, the UV printer price is about $4000 to $40000, differs from each other according to the size, configurations and performance.

For example,

  • UV printer of small sizes like A3 and 6090 are about $4000-$7000,
  • economical UV printer (printing width between 600-1000mm) is about $9000,
  • UV printer of middle size (printing width between 12000 and 16000mm) is about $13000-$35000,
  • large format UV printer (printing width between 12000 and 16000mm) is about $20000-$40000.

As UV printer is just a category name of UV printing machine, actually there are different UV printer types, such as UV DTF printer, UV Flatbed printer, etc., as a result, ask the UV expert team to help calculate the cost of UV printing is a better choice.

UV Ink

When it comes to UV consumables, the UV ink costs most. Usually, the price of UV ink ranges from USD $16-$63 per liter, according to the data collecting in the industry, 1L (liter) UV ink can print around 100-130 square meters upon the UV printing quality, accuracy and performance of UV printer and printhead.

A real example for better understanding is, an Apple iPhone case costs about 5-10 cents, upon the different iPhone model as the size is different.

Energy Consumption

To calculate the energy consumption of UV printing, several factors need to be taken into account as well, for example: Electricity bill (impact by the type of UV printer, the printing accuracy), water and other expenses. 

As a printing business owner in different country, region, for business usage, you may get higher rate for electricity and water. But take UV flatbed printer as general example, to make 1440*720 dpi / 8 Pass UV printing, it’s about 3 degrees per hour. For other types of UV printer, for example smaller size, will be even less, just about 2000W.

How Do I Make Money from UV Printing?

To make money from UV printing, more business owners consider: Personalized customized products, advertising printing and processing, and home decor as the basic entrepreneurial directions to start.

Personalized customized products

Nowadays, many young people pursue uniqueness to show they are different, as a result, many business men choose personalized customized products as a start-up direction, the UV printing perfectly meet this need. Business owner just need to design the images according to customers’ needs. Among the products, personalized phone cases, leather bags and other leather items are most fond of.

Advertising printing and processing

Large UV printers, equipped with many printheads, are able to print on large area at a very high speed. For this reason, those who want to enter advertising printing industry tend to choose UV printers of large sizes to start advertising inkjet business.

Home decor

UV printer can not only print on the glass or ceramic tile directly but also print customized patterns according to customers’ specific needs, making it very suitable for home decor industry development.

 

UV Printing Applications:

As UV printing can make almost limitless products, as long as idea come up in your mind, personalized gifts, branded items or for event or holidays, once choose UV printing, you can make money from almost everywhere.

The UV printing applications include:

  • Posters
  • Banners
  • Outdoor flags
  • Key chains
  • Bus shelters
  • Personalized products
  • Wine bottles
  • Cups, Mugs
  • Cosmetic packaging
  • Phone case, Tablet case
  • Sports flying tray
  • Bar code
  • And more
UV printing application of phone cases
UV digital printer in the building materials
UV printing application of home decor

What is the ROI (Return On Investment) with UV Printer or UV Printing Solution?

UV printing is definitely profitable, even small orders bring great profit, margin. For instance, printing phone cases with the help of UV printer. Several phone cases can profit, hence, investing in UV printing is a good choice.

However, it is complicated to calculate ROI of UV printing accurately because the costs differs depending on the sizes of UV printers, machine maintenance costs, printheads, consumables and other factors.

You may find a UV printing ROI calculator on related website, but the fields needed will prevent you from continuing to calculate. If you really want to know about ROI of UV printing, talking to a field expert will be a better choice. From this aspect, we suggest that you talk with familiar business owner or talk your needs and expectations directly to the UV printing industry professionals.

What are the Advantages and Disadvantages of UV Printing?

As the saying goes, every coin has two sides. UV printing is of no exception, featuring distincitve advantages and some disadvantages.

Advantages of UV Printing

The advantages of UV printing include: fast speed, high quality, wide application range, eco-friendly, strong durability, better color vibrancy.

  • Fast printing speed: UV printing machine utilizes ultraviolet curing technology to cure the ink instantly so as to realize fast printing. Fast drying also reduces the phenomenon of ink smudging and offsetting. This feature ensures that your prints come out clean and professional every time
  • High printing quality: UV printing dries the UV ink at a fast speed, to some degree avoiding some printing problems like ink smudging, offsetting, able to output qualified prints. In addition to that, the UV-cured ink is water-proof, high-temperature resistant, and anti-scratching. That means the prints will not fade easily and be more durable. Also for this reason, UV printing is very suitable for outdoor advertising.
  • Wide range of applications: As UV printing products and applications listed, UV Printing opens up endless possibilities for printing on a wide variety of materials. Substrates such as wooden boards, glass, crystal, PVC, acrylic, plastic, stone, and leather are commonly used in the UV printing industry.
  • Eco-friendly: When it comes to preserving our environment, UV printing stands out as an eco-friendly option. Unlike some other inkjet ink, UV ink does not emit harmful volatile organic compounds (VOCs) into the atmosphere. This means you can enjoy high-quality prints without compromising on sustainability.
  • Strong durability: Thanks to the UV coating, patterns printed by a UV printer are highly resistant to fading, stretching, and water damage. As a result, they have the ability to last for a long time.
  • Better color vibrancy: UV printers produce excellent print quality. With UV printing, you can achieve more vibrant colors as the ink doesn’t have time to soak into the printing medium. This technology allows for easy and precise photorealistic printing.
Advantages of UV printing
Advantages of UV printing

Disadvantages of UV printing

  • Although UV printing can apply to almost all the substrates, even on cylphic transparent glass and cube metal, it still has some limitations. However, if there are too many slopes on the surface of the substrates, the UV printer will not be able to print on them. UV printer can print on curved surface only that the slopes are on one flat surface.
  • UV printing cost is relatively high. Compared with ordinary ink, the price of UV ink is twice of that of ordinary ink due to its features of high resolution and fast drying. To solve this problem, some famous printing industry equipment manufacturers has launched affordable or high-performance UV printer or UV printing solutions, they even provide more flexible price to small business or starters. You can talk your needs to the team to get the most suitable package and less expensive price.
UV print on curved surface
UV printer can print on curved surface like this
UV printer cannot print on surfaces with slopes
UV printer cannot print on surfaces with too many slopes

How to Choose Best UV Printer for UV Printing?

A lot of people and manufactures talking about UV printer, but, EXACTLY, What is UV printer? 

In fact UV printer is just a category of printer includes different types such as UV flatbed printer, UV roll-to-roll printer, UV hybrid printer, UV DTF printer and etc. (So if you see somewhere is selling, displaying just “UV Printer” but not specify the type, do ask the question: what type of UV printer it is?) Different types of printers can adapt to various business and application scenarios. Therefore, if you are seeking more information about UV printers, the quickest way would be to consult professionals in the industry.

According to the industry experts advices, to choose the best UV printer, consider 4 most important factors: UV printer performance, stability, price, training and service support.

  • Know the print performance of UV printer: UV printers coming from different factories may show different print performance. So it is necessary to know about the print quality and color restoration ability of machine. The best solution is that you can ask for some print samples to see the performance.
  • Consider the machine stability: The stability of UV printer plays a crucial role in guarantee the production efficiency. If a UV printer is not stable and breaks easily, it will cause you to fail to finish the orders within the agreed time, leaving bad impression on your customers. By choosing a brand with a good reputation for product quality and after-sales service, you can have confidence in your purchase. You can rest assured knowing that if any problems occur or if you need assistance, there will be a dedicated team ready to help resolve any issues promptly and efficiently.
  • Consider the price of UV printer: UV printers of different sizes and equipment have different prices. You need to decide according to your own budget.
  • Training, technical support and service: At some points, your UV printer will require maintenance and servicing. When you invest in a UV printer, it’s crucial to consider the benefits of receiving comprehensive engineering support and a service package. By doing so, you can ensure that your printer remains operational for an extended period, allowing you to stay ahead in the game.

In addition to the factors mentioned above, knowing the seven core components of UV printer will also help you make an informed decision.

Conventional Printing vs. UV Printing, What are the Differences?

The following table is a great resource to learn detail comparison between conventional printing and UV printing from perspective of craftsmanship, applied substrates, printing performance, environmental performance, printing speed and cost.

 

Craftsmanship

Applied Substrates

Printing Performance

Environmental performance

Printing Speed

Cost

Conventional printing

uses ink or water -based ink and requires multiple printing and drying

Mainly applied to paper and cardboard

Rich color performance but worse performance in the transparent material

Conventional ink may contain volatile organic matter, which causes a certain pressure on the environment

Slower, about a dozen square meters per hour

The printing machine and ink is relatively cheaper

UV printing

Uses UV solidification ink and completes printing through disposable solidification

Metal, plastic, ceramics, glass, wood and other substrates.

High resolution and high definition

Print clear and realistic patterns in the transparent PET material

UV ink does not contain harmful volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which is green and pollution-free

Faster, about dozens of square meters per hour

The printer and UV ink is more expensive

As it can be seen, whether UV printing or conventional printing, it has own advantages and limitations. Choosing right printing technology needs to depends on the specific needs. However, in the future, with the development of technology, UV printing technology will show its stronger potential in more and more fields, becoming a highlight of the printing industry.

What is Spot UV Printing and How Does it Work?

Spot UV printing is a local light that is modified on the surface of the printing items, so that the local part of the picture is presented with high brightness. Spot UV can be implemented after the membrane or directly on the print in order to highlight the effect of local light. Generally, it is carried out after the printing, and most of them are covered with the asylum film, accounting for about 80% of the Spot UV products.

Spot UV printing is mainly applied to business card, post card, greeting card, bookmark, brochure and flyer. Products made by spot UV printing are of exquisite appearance and environmentally friendly. Besides, spot UV printing is of high resolution and anti-scratch.

spot UV printing

UV Printing: Knowledge Center [Keep Updating]

Summary

This passage has given a comprehensive introduction to the UV printing and listed the key factors of choosing correct UV printer. When it comes to making a decision, you need to think about all the tips. Choosing the right UV printer can have a profound impact on the quality of your prints, the productivity of your work, and ultimately, your return on investment.

IF you have no idea which model of UV printer would be the best fit for your business, please consider consulting the experts of SUBLISTAR, who will help you make a right decision about which model of UV printer best suits your business.

UV Printing FAQ

Can the UV printer print on dark-colored substrates?
Yes, the UV printer can print on dark-colored substrates. UV printing is not limited by colors.
UV printing is anti-scratch and water proof, therefore, it can last for a long time.
UV printers can be used in various industries: advertising industry, home decoration industry, packaging industry, digital products cover industry, daily goods industry and more.
Yes, you can use UV printer to make UV DTF stickers only that you have a laminating machine. This video have a detailed introduction.
You can visit the website to see the buyers’ reviews or request for some printing samples.
No, UV printing is not suitable for fabric. If you want to print on fabric, DTF printing will be better.
Firstly, prepare the acrylic sheet, which needs to be free from dust, dirt and fingerprints. Secondly, set up the UV printer. Thirdly, put the acrylic sheet on the printing platform. At last, start printing.
Yes, UV printing can print on wood. It is convenient to use UV printer to make wood products.
Spot UV is a UV coating technique, which can be used to add extra shine and highlight to specific words or images on the printed surface.
Yes, UV ink does not contain any harmful substances, which will not pollute the environment. So UV printing is definitely environmentally friendly.
UV printing is better in printing on hard substrates, including metal, wood, glass, acrylic, plastic, PVC board, rubber and etc.
Yes, UV printing is water proof and durable, not fading easily.
Yes, UV printing is suitable for food packaging that is made of plastic material.

The reasons why UV printer is popular in the market can be concluded as: numerous applications, UV dtf printing function, high efficiency and ideal choice for personalized customization business. This article Answered: Why is UV Printer So Popular? Top 4 Reasons explains the details.

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