Awards & Engraving

October '18

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been pigeonholed as short-run equipment. Remember, full bed utilization is the key to maximizing print times. The larger print areas, new lamps, and advanced soft- ware have now pushed UV printers closer to meeting the production speeds seen by other decoration methods like pad or screen printing. Plus, UV enjoys all of the benefits associated with being a digital process. MAINTENANCE AND USE JUST GOT EASIER White Ink Circulation: The improper handling of white ink can decrease print quality or harm a printer's ink system — it's a challenge that isn't unique to UV printing. However, manufacturers have developed systems and processes that no longer require operators to vigorously shake the white ink cartridge prior to printing. Non-cartridge systems auto- matically circulate the entire ink vessel and lines while cartridge machines have technology that circulates the ink lines between the white ink cartridge and the print head. In Print Enhancements: As printers push the limits of speed, enhancements are developed to maintain output quality while print heads move faster and more ink is jetted through the print head. Mist absorption systems remove airborne ink from around the print head while nozzle correction systems adjust for clogged noz- zles to maintain consistent print quality. New Lamps and Print Heads: Some manufacturers have instituted smaller, but more powerful UV-LED lamps ideal for curing at increased print speeds. Others have implemented new types of print heads that give them more control of the print head's functions. Any adjustment or enhancement is made with one word in mind: produc- tion. Search any UV-LED printer website and you'll see the word "production" at least a few times. Easier, more versatile, and faster models provide bigger produc- tion opportunities, thus providing bigger profits as well. A BUYER'S MARKET You can call it an advancement, or you can call it a trend. The fact of the matter is that the prices of UV printers have come down significantly over the past 12 months — more than 30 percent in some cases. Add in competitive financing options and the, "How can I ever afford this?" question becomes a whole lot easier to answer. UV-LED printers continue to build upon an impressive list of applications, including full-size cornhole boards. IMAGE COURTESY DIRECT COLOR SYSTEMS 30 • A&E OCTOBER 2018

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