What is UV Printing?

UV Curing Systems for Printing

The UV curing process has been in use in the printing industry for more than thirty years. LED curing technology for UV printers is replacing older technology with compelling advantages of better economics, system capabilities, and environmental benefits. UV LED curing technology has become the new standard for UV printing for both full cure and pinning applications. Ink manufacturers now include a UV LED option, making integration and use of LED even easier.

As mentioned, the narrow UV output provides the highest curing efficiency while also providing a cooler, safer, and more stable output, allowing end users to print on a wider variety of materials with increased yield and reduced operating costs. For example, small electronic components may be sensitive to heat; UV LED overcomes those issues by being a ‘cool’ light source.

UV Digital Printing Overview

UV Printing on Glass

UV LED technology is utilized for bottle labeling machines and systems designed for direct printing on cylindrical containers. The small size of the light sources makes them ideal for machines with limited space. It also allows for printing on heat-sensitive substrates and ever-thinner labels. These solutions enable users to process a variety of materials at maximum production speeds, with low-input power requirements. The UV LED light source can also be used for the pinning process – to ‘freeze’ ink drops, without running, dripping or smudging, before overlaying other colors or doing a full cure.  Because the ink is pinned or cured instantly, the printing can be done directly on curved surfaces, eliminating the need for a label.

UV Printing on Metal

UV-cured inks create a durable, long-lasting print, even when the metal is bent or die-cut. Printing can occur on flat or curved metal surfaces, since the ink is pinned or cured instantly. The low temperature of the LED light allows for inspection of the printed metal immediately.

UV Printing on Plastic

As with printing on glass, the small size of the light sources makes them ideal for machines with limited space. It also allows for printing on heat-sensitive substrates and ever-thinner labels.

During the process of 3D printing, each layer is cured immediately after it is jetted, producing fully cured models, without post-curing. UV LED technology is ideal for 3D curing due to its small size, tight process control and consistent UV output over time.