Last Updated on: 1st July 2021, 12:33 pm
UV ink is not new; it has been on the market since the 70s. Moreover, in time, it has only grown in popularity. Both manufacturers and printers have evolved to accommodate the application of UV ink with the best methods. Apart from UV ink tattoos, people love to apply them to the skin. However, many screen printers are not yet aware of the UV inks, especially those who are either completely in garment printing or just starting.
Hence, as a screen printer, you are planning to branch out to a different substrate to expand your print lineup, UV ink is worth considering. Let’s dive deeper!
How do UV inks work?
UV inks are just the ink that cures under UV light. The inks comprise solid monomers and oligomers molecules as well as pigment and performance additives. It also contains a substance called photoinitiator, which releases free radicals when exposed to UV light, enabling the molecules to bond together and create a solid ink layer. So, instead, the ink sits on top of the substrate, making it ideal for printing smooth surfaces.
Various Advantages of UV inks
Today, UV ink has grown to dominate the screen printing market. In fact, it makes up nearly 65% of the ink sales in the industry. Here are some reasons why UV ink is so popular and gaining traction.
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- It facilitates faster production time because UV ink cures nearly instantly when exposed to UV light.
- It isn’t easy to over-cure UV inks, unlike solvent-based inks.
- UV prints are faster and easier to produce. However, it depends on the number of colors you need to print and the curing unit you have.
- It is a more environmentally-friendly and work-friendly ink option as it doesn’t emit any toxic fumes or other volatile compounds.
- With UV inks, print shops can achieve extremely fine graphic details as it requires a finer screen mesh.
- There is a lower UV inks waste as it doesn’t dry in the screen, such as water-based inks. Although it costs more to purchase, it lasts longer than other water-based inks.
- It demands lower energy usage because of fast cures under UV light. Unlike other water-based ink, it doesn’t require large conveyor dryers. Moreover, new light technologies such as printers are using LED lights to cure UV inks.
Uses of UV Ink in Screen Printing
UV ink printers typically use UV inks to print on smooth surfaces. It is primarily used in screen printing for decals, nameplates, signage, CDs, etc. The primary use of UV ink printing is in industrial applications and automotive artwork as well. However, it is worth noting that UV inks sometimes contain additives for screen printing applications. There are many specialty UV inks available, such as glitter inks used in printing.
For businesses that are into screen printing of only garments could branch out to new markets to provide a more extensive lineup of products by employing UV ink because it offers a wide range of product possibilities, which is not possible or otherwise more difficult and expensive with the solvent-based inks.
For businesses, opening a UV-ink-based shop provides a range of market opportunities on its own. However, it is essential to note that the equipment required for UV screen printing differs from the equipment used in water-based screen printing. To make a long story short, it may require an additional initial investment, but the potential is limitless with UV inks.
Can you screen print at home?
You should have at least some space to accommodate a one-color one-station press, a conveyor dryer, and other screen printing equipment.
Does screen printing last?
Yes, screen printing involves the curing of ink for longer-lasting prints.