Awards & Engraving

January '19

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8 a-e-mag.com • A&E JANUARY 2019 UV printing is advancing at a stag- gering pace with new high-margin oppor- tunities. Some production facilities have identified the UV print process as the most profitable and fastest growing segment of their company. This new-found gold mine of UV printing has awards and person- alization companies thinking outside the box and finding new high-margin oppor- tunities around every corner. Wi t h n e w o p p o r t u n i t i e s a ro u n d every corner, users will also experience new challenges throughout the learning process, like adhesion, durability, scuff resistance, color matching, ink flexibility, wash ability, and chemical resistance. UV printer manufacturers cannot guarantee you perfect results on all products and materials due to the huge number of variables, so it's up to you to test or have testing done to ensure you get the right machine with the correct ink set for your needs. Test, test, test. This is especially true when deciding which products you will produce — are you printing on soft (flexible) or hard (rigid) substrates? This makes all the dif- ference, so let's take a closer look. WHAT WILL YOU PRODUCE? The first question you should ask your- self when exploring this technology is, what products do you want to produce? Are they hard products? Soft products? Thermo- formed products? All of these questions need to be answered before buying a UV printer as this is important to determine prior to selecting a proper ink set for your UV printer. The ink set selected determines what products you will be able to produce and offer to your customers. (Ink sets can be swapped out if needed.) One ink set will not cover everything; there is not a "do everything" ink. You will need to decide what your best opportunity is and gear up for that. I have the most experience using Mimaki UV printers, so I will go over those inks as examples of what each ink is best at. There are many other brands available: Direct Color Systems, Mutoh, Roland, ColDesi, LogoJET, and GCC all offer UV printers. It's crucial that you do your research in order to determine which one is best for you and your business. Editor's note: Please see the additional side bars throughout this feature for more information regarding inks from other brands. Steve Weist is the CEO at PDS Equipment. Steve started as a service technician installing Heidelberg and Komori offset presses. He has brought that level of precision into the UV inkjet world. Steve now focuses his efforts in the flatbed UV market because he feels it is unlimited and is the future of print and decoration. He can be reached at 615-812-3001 or steve@pdsequipment.com. By Steve Weist UV PRINTING : RIGID VERSUS FLEXIBLE PRODUCTS A STUDY ON INKS IMAGE COURTESY STEVE WEIST Soft (flexible) products are working their way into the small-format UV print space in many ways. IMAGE COURTESY GCC

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