Awards & Engraving

December '17

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ucts may require some head scratching in order to get a print onto them. As printers, we generally think about print dimensions in width and length; UV has the added dimension of height. This is an important thing to also understand about a UV printer's specifications. In most cases, UV printers have anywhere from 3 to 7 inches of height clearance. Finding a printer with the most height clearance in your price range allows for a more diverse range of printing options. Also keep in mind the surface you will print on. UV printers are limited to a mostly flat surface. Depending on the printer and its software, you should be able to get away with a few degrees on the edges. For example, a golf ball will have about 1 square inch of print area—anything past that will cause the print head to be too far away from the surface, causing a blurry print. Some manufactures offer a special rotary device that allows you to rotate the product during printing. This allows you to print all the way around things like cans and bottles. In general, a flat surface is the best circumstance. Bonding: Before you start printing on any new product, you should always complete a print test. Once completed, a scratch test should be done to confirm how durable the print is. UV ink should stick to most surfaces and not scratch or rub off. From time to time, you may come across a metal or plastic that does not allow the ink to bond well. In this case, an adhesion promoter for metal or plastic can be used to help create a stronger bond to the surface. Colors and Effects: UV-LED printers do have a few ways that they can be con- figured when it comes to inks. Once again, this depends on what each manu- facturer offers. The standard setup for UV printers is Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, Black, and White. This allows printing on light and dark products. It is common now for many printers to also include a clear or varnish channel. This helps enhance the overall color and adds a protective layer. Printers may also have the option to use a dual CMYK setup if you do not require white ink. This configuration allows for a faster print speed and works well for high production needs. Currently, metallic and neon colors are not available. This goes for many printers because you would need to completely flush out all your inks to print in metallic/neon. Once done, you would need to flush and then refill again with all your standard inks. It would take a really large order to make this worth it, and you would be stuck with it. But who knows what the future provides. POPULAR (AND NUMEROUS) APPLICATIONS Here are some of the many applications you can provide with UV-LED printers: Promotional Products: UV printers have become the go-to machine for pro- motional products. Long gone are the days of having to pad print one color and one item at a time. The range of promotional products is massive, but to make things easy, there are many printing packages Promotional products, such as bottle openers, are easy to print on using a UV-LED printer. IMAGE COURTESY OMNIPRINT INTERNATIONAL One of the first things to know about a UV-LED machine is understanding the printer's maximum print area in order to know how large of a product will fit. IMAGE COURTESY ROLAND DGA • A&E DECEMBER 2017 23

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