Sign & Digital Graphics

Start Here October '19

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14 S T A R T H E R E 2 0 1 9 W ith ever-tightening competition in today's market, diversification can go a long way in standing out among the crowd, especially in the graphics market. Customers increasingly want one- stop shopping and more personalization, and many awards and engraving shops already have the graphics skills to provide an expanded product line from the typical offerings. But how do you expand your business line and capabilities without investing in too much equipment and losing valuable shop space? That's where UV-LED printing can help. Why UV-LED Printing? Essentially, UV-LED printing is designed on the same premise as your standard inkjet printer, says Rachel Tindal, art director of LogoJET, a direct-to-substrate printer manufacturer. You design your imprint in graphics software, place your printable item on the adjustable flatbed, and press print. Once the ink hits the substrate, the LED light on the print head instantly cures the ink, so you're left with a print that requires no drying time. With no drying time, the printing process is more efficient, and it protects the material from deforming, says Keira Lee, marketing manager of GCC America Inc., a global manufacturer of printing and graphics equipment. UV-LED print- ing is compatible with a variety of sub- strates, including vinyl, acrylic, wood, and metal, and it can print onto 3-D shapes, such as picture frames and water bottles. Not only is the print immediately ready to go, but the resulting finish is also in full-color and can be combined EXPAND YOUR BUSINESS WITH By Amanda McGrory-Dixon Amanda McGrory-Dixon is a Denver- based freelance writer. She can be contacted at amandakmcgrory@ FACT BOX Cost of Entry: For a basic setup, expect to spend approx- imately $22,000. Educational Resources: Support lines, trade shows, on-site training, web forums, and YouTube are all good places to learn. Basic Equipment Needed: When you buy a UV-LED printer, it should come with just about everything you need to get started. Optional attachments such as a rotary device are also available. Shop Space Required: Approximately 3 feet by 3 feet will accommodate a table-top UV-LED printer. Time to Become Proficient: Upon installation, most manufacturers will send a technician to train on-site for one to two days. This allows you to functionally use the machine, but expect to take three to six months to become truly proficient. UV-LED Printing UV-LED Printing (Photo courtesy Direct Color Systems)

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