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Ultraviolet Printing — Followers of the Light

September 2005 By Chris Bauer
Managing Editor
Many printers swear the light at the end of the printing industry’s tunnel is ultraviolet. The advantages of UV printing and coating are numerous, including the ability to print on non-absorbent materials, the convenience of instantaneous curing, the consistency of high print quality, and extreme resistance to scratching and abrasion. It all adds up to become an asset for printers that have moved to the technology—and their customers.

“There is an obvious advantage of eye-appeal that the designers and art directors love—nothing says shiny and new like a gloss coating for some of our vertical markets,” assesses Gary Samuels, managing partner at Pictorial Offset Corp. in Carlstadt, NJ, who lists automobile, cosmetic and luxury goods as accounts that find UV gloss techniques appealing.  

“Other vertical markets tend to like the matte texture of reverse UV coatings to portray a luxurious visual ‘feel’ to their product,” Samuels adds. “Either way, almost all of our customers like the speed of the UV curing process.” 

Pictorial operates an eight-color MAN Roland R-700 series press with UV coating capabilities, equipped with a Grafix IR-HAK-UV dryer. The printer uses Sun Chemical and Superior Printing Ink products, and Samuels notes that the company has long-standing relationships with both consumable suppliers.

“UV printing sets you apart from the others in product offerings,” advises Joel Shapiro, president of Shapco Printing in Minneapolis, whose company has offered UV services for about 3.5 years. “We got into it to be able to differentiate ourselves and provide more options to our clients, as well as to print on plastics and static clings more easily.”

Numerous Usages

Typical work using the UV process at Shapco involves point-of-purchase items such as posters, danglers, rail cards, static clings, wallet cards and book covers.

“We also use it on collateral pieces to provide high gloss spot or overall UV to highlight logos or photos,” Shapiro notes. About 10 percent of the company’s overall business involves UV printing.

To handle this work, Shapco relies on two eight-color, 40˝ Komori Lithrone presses equipped with automated plate hangers, interdeck dryers and extended deliveries for aqueous and UV curing abilities. One press has Grafix and the other has Nordson UV equipment.

In Marietta, GA, Color Spectrum Network has been doing off-line UV work since 2003 and in-line UV jobs since February. This is when the company installed a new seven-color, 40˝ Heidelberg Speedmaster CD 102 press with in-line interdeck drying, coater, full UV capabilities, axis control and extended delivery. For off-line UV coating, the company uses Sakurai screen coaters. Hostmann-Steinberg inks are used for UV projects.
 

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