Printing is not the same business it was a decade ago. It’s not even the same business it was a few years ago. In order to stay competitive in the market printers need to find better, faster, or cheaper ways to appeal the the current wide-format customer. Since advertising is the main force that drives your business, it is important to not only give thought to what you advertise, but also how it is done.
There are basically 3 different ways to get ink onto your material when talking in terms of “wide format” or “large format”:
- Dye sublimation (diffusion)
- Solvent (piezo)
- UV (piezo)
The first option, dye sublimation, uses heat to transfer pigment onto the substrate. The advantage of this kind of technology is that the technology can produce continuous tone while printing, it’s easier to print on some special materials (like fabric), and the final print is dry immediately. Some of the downsides are specialized technology, the print film must match the final print size, prints usually require lamination, and there can be a lot of waste. Learn more about dye sublimation from Wikipedia.
Solvent-based inks are a pretty common option when getting any wide-format printing done. These inks generally have the pigment suspended in a petroleum base which must evaporate to allow the ink to become completely dry. The obvious downsides to this type of printing is that the work environment can be subjected to strong chemical odors, and the prints can take up to 24 hours to dry, depending on the ink and substrate. The last implication is environmental: spilled or discarded inks become an environmental hazard.
UV-curable inks are a relatively new method of printing. Like solvent-ink printers, the ink is sprayed onto the substrate using a piezo (think “inkjet”) printhead. However, instead of the ink needing “air-time” to dry, the ink is immediately exposed to a strong ultraviolet light which hardens the ink into a solid almost instantaneously. As a result, UV printers can achieve very fine ink densities and print resolution because there is a lot less chance for the ink to bleed. UV inks are also very vivid, and can withstand direct sunlight much better than a conventional print process. Since print jobs are dry instantly, the production process can continue on a UV-cured ink immediately after the print job is finished, allowing for higher production efficiency. And to top it all off, UV-curable inks are very environmentally-friendly, and provide a much safer and comfortable work environment.
Anvy Digital is proud to house Fuji Acuity UV-curable printers for all of our large-format printing. Our printers can handle rigid print substrates up to 8 feet by 10 feet on a single flatbed and print at speeds of up to 720 square feet/hour. Also, with variable dot technology the Aquity is capable of printing a very high resolution. To find out more about how we can optimize your next printing experience, contact the wide-format printing experts at Anvy Digital.
Here are some other resources regarding UV printing:
About the author
Bob Lush is the Business Manager at Anvy Digital in Calgary, Alberta. In his free time, Bob likes working on home improvement and spending time in the garden.
Contact Bob for specialized advice regarding your next wide format print project.
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