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Technological advancements have impacted every walk of our life. Printing is also not unaffected by it. With changing technology, new printing techniques have come into existence, which is better than their preceding technology.
One such unique method of digital printing is called Ultra Violet Printing (Or commonly UV Printing). This printing technique makes use of the UV rays to dry or cure the ink, adhesives or coatings almost as soon as it's hit the medium. This technique can be used for printing on a variety of medium like paper, aluminum, foam board or acrylic. As long as it can fit into the printer, the technique can be used to print on almost anything.
Origin of UV Printing:
The trend originally introduced in the cosmetic industry was made popular by the printing industry. Originally, UV rays were used for quick drying of gel nail polishes used in manicures. This drying process involved a photochemical process, called UV curing.
But lately, it was adopted and popularized by the printing industry. Now, UV printing is used to print on any media, be it signage, paper or even beer bottles. The process remains the same, as traditional printing. The only difference comes in the type of inks being used and the drying process. But the results are far superior as compared to traditional printing.
Traditional Printing v/s UV Printing:
Though both these printing techniques are more or less similar, there are some minor differences between the two techniques. While traditional printing uses solvent inks, VU printing uses UV curable inks.
The solvent inks used in traditional or conventional printing as no environment friendly. When these inks evaporate, they release bad dour and Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) into the environment, which pollute the environment. In addition to this, traditional printing requires additional spray powders to help to dry ink, which is a time-consuming process. When the weather is cloudy or during the rainy season, it may take days for the ink to dry, especially when the paper is thick.
Also since solvent inks are absorbed into the paper, over some time, the colours may become diluted and less bright. Conventional inks need to be absorbed by the substrate they are printed on. Hence, they cannot be used on materials like plastic, foil, or acrylics.
On the other hand, in UV printing, instead of heat, we use mercury/quartz or LED lights are used for curing. This way the ink dries as soon as it is applied. Also, since the inks change into a solid form immediately, there are no chances of evaporation and release of harmful VOCs.
Because the ink transforms from a solid or pastes to a liquid almost immediately, there is no chance for it to evaporate and so no VOCs. This makes the technique very environment friendly, with almost zero carbon footprints.
Ultraviolet (UV) printing is a process of printing using UV ink rather than traditional ink. Traditional inks are solvent-based and dry by allowing the solvent to vaporise and get absorbed into the substrate. UV ink on the other hand dries out instantly when exposed to ultraviolet light, cutting down the need for any costly coating to help it dry off, thus enabling faster turnaround time. As fixed by photochemical processes, it can easily dry on plastic and other non-porous substrates and produces a vibrant appeal since the ink has no time to soak into the stock. Another big advantage is lesser emissions of volatile organic compounds into the environment because there is no evaporation of the solvent contents like with traditional inks.