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Harford County Signs and Banners Blog

Lighten Up Your Printing Process

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Today’s digital printing advances have brought sign printing out of the dark ages of screen and offset printing and into a whole new world of light – UV light, that is.  UV flatbed printers are offering quicker turn-around, quicker drying and clearer images by using a process that dries simultaneously with the printing.  While the usual printing process allows ink solvents to evaporate into the air, giving off volatile organic compounds, UV printing uses a photomechanical process created through ultraviolet lights.  The lights cause the ink to turn directly from a liquid to a solid.  Not only does the ink dry faster, there is less emission of VOC’s into the environment.

The final product is more vibrant in color and clarity.  Because the ink dries faster, it is automatically prevented from being absorbed into the printing material, leaving the ink dot higher on the sheet.  The ink dots are more colorful and robust because the dots haven’t had time to sink into the material before drying.   The UV digital printing process makes it easier to print on a variety of substances, including plastic or wood.  At the plastic end of the spectrum, the plastic doesn't normally absorb the color, and at the wood end, the ink is usually too quickly absorbed.  Both types of material and those all along the spectrum can benefit from UV printing.  The most successful printing seems to be on uncoated stock, but as the process matures, so will the materials for which it is made.

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