The Benefits of UV Curable Inks
Ultraviolet (UV) curable inks were first introduced in the 1960s and were initially used as screen inks. It wasn’t until the early 1990s that UV inks started being used for printing inks. As more people came to discover the excellent benefits of using UV curable inks, their popularity in the printing industry started to grow at a rate of 30% per year. As technology for UV inks continued to evolve, their growth rate was still at about 10% per year by the 2000s. Today, UV curable inks are still gaining both popularity and favor, due to their ability to make extremely fast, high quality prints, all while reducing energy consumption. Below we’ll discuss a few of the remarkable benefits to using ultraviolet inks versus solvent or water-based inks.
What Is UV Light?
Ultraviolet (UV) light is a type of electromagnetic light that is used to create a photochemical process, or UV curing process, which instantly cures (“dries”) inks, adhesives, and coatings.
How Does UV Curing Work?UV curable inks form a film of colorant on the surface of the label instead of being absorbed into the label like solvent inks. Once the ink hits the label, the layer of colorant sticks to the label’s surface and is instantly hardened by intense UV light polymerization, or curing. The result is a durable film covering the label.
Benefit One: Superior Print Quality
Because UV curable ink remains on the surface of the label rather than being absorbed into the label, color remains more vibrant and saturated with UV ink versus solvent or water-based inks. There can be 1.5 to 2 times more pigment in UV inks than solvent and water-based inks! In addition to this, because the ink cures so rapidly (in less than one second!), dot spread and feathering is greatly minimized. This leaves you with exceptionally sharp lines and edges. The UV curing process also improves scratch resistance and resistance to smearing. Your results are beautiful, high-quality, durable labels.
Benefit Two: Faster Printing
The curing process for UV inks takes less than one second, which speeds up production times. With UV curable inks, you do not have to wait for the ink to dry like you do when you use water-based or solvent inks. Faster printing and production times make longer print runs more economical.
Benefit Three: Energy Saving
Because the curing process is so fast with UV inks, energy consumption is reduced. In addition to this, UV inks don’t require exhaustive extraction systems since they don’t emit harmful fumes like solvent inks do.
Here at Label ID Systems, our four-color process flexographic printers use UV curable inks to achieve the best possible results! If you have any questions regarding custom printed labels or our printing process, please feel free to contact us at email@example.com or 480.966.2999.