UV printer, also known as a flatbed printer, is a revolution in its product segment. There are many reasons to buy a UV printer; to reduce outsourcing work, bring diversification in the services you provide, replace old printers and technology with a new one, etc. Getting a UV printer can be a great way to increase your business but investing in a piece of equipment that does not meet your needs, current or future, is a waste of money and a bad business decision. Since buying a UV printer is an investment and because there are multiple varieties of UV printers available for different requirements, its necessary to ensure that you are selecting the right printers for your business.
We have created a list of things a business needs to consider before buying a UV printer.
UV printers can print on multiple types of surfaces and shapes. One printer cannot fulfil all printing requirements; therefore, you need to know what types of printing needs your business has before deciding which printer to buy. Some printers only print on curved surfaces, these printers would be best for a company has a bottle/ jar customisation business.
- Print Quality:
UV printers use UV lamps to fix a printed image, which means that no solvents are used. It’s more environmentally friendly. UV printing is opted for by several businesses because the quality of the printing results is much better as the ink does not have the chance to absorb or spread due to its rapid drying time. However, not all UV LED printers to produce flawless, crisp images. To ensure you get top-notch quality with every print, it is important to find out what resolution the printer is capable of in both DPI (dots per inch—the higher the better) and picolitres (the size of the dots—the smaller the better).
- Production levels:
The speed of the print varies depending on the resolution of the print, and it is important to ensure the one you pick will capitalize on the time you have. Time is money, and printing high-resolution images on a large scale requires a feasible printer for your needs. If your product is repetitive, you should be choosing a UV LED printer that can optimally maintain the quality of the prints even when you are processing a multitude of prints.
Printers aren’t cheap, we all know that. And since you will be investing large amounts of money in one, it must be financially planned in a manner that allows you to get the best results at a feasible price point. UV printers usually have heavy upfront costs, and although today, there are many options and affordable pricing, it is still a lofty price to pay when compared to their traditional counterpoints. The investment in a printer will depend on the size of the business, a bigger company can afford to spend more whereas for smaller companies a less expensive printer will be viable.
Printers take up space, and if you plan on buying one you need to ensure you have enough space to enable it to work smoothly. Different printers have heights and lengths, so it is necessary to look at the dimensions of the printer and the location beforehand.
UV printers jet out ink out of the print head in the form of CMYK to create the image and cure it onto the part you’re printing on. To ensure the quality of the print, a wide variety of ink can be used. Each of these inks has its unique properties and the most common ones are:
- Hard – Hard ink is a non-flexible ink that works well with both indoor and outdoor pieces due to its high abrasion resistance.
- Flexible – Flexible inks are generally preferred to use on materials that are flexible such as soft packaging material or fabric which requires such product to retain the print after printing. Damage to the prints with flexible ink can be avoided if the proper instructions are followed.
- Edible – Edible inks are used for products that can be used for human consumption such as cakes. These are food grade positive and safe for ingestion for humans of any age and can be used to print custom designs on any consumables for humans.
- Specialty – When materials with different surface textures, such as glass, metal, and plastic are to be printed on, a wide variety of specialty inks can be used. These inks are specifically designed to ensure long-lasting prints, even with regular use.
Just as the primer is applied to walls to ensure better application of paints, the primer for printing is used on the parts where the prints are intended to go. This increases the adhesion quality by altering the surface on a molecular level. Primer also increases the abrasion resistance of the print. Every substrate has its primer with its unique properties and can be chosen based on the ultimate needs of the business.
Print heads determine the quality of the image. These have multiple tiny nozzles that systematically create the input image by dropping ink. So, if you need the highest quality of prints, it is essential to choose the right print heads to suit your needs.
During printing, the carriage moves from one section to the other, and the motors power the belt to do so. Most UV printers tend to incorporate premium servo motors and rack-and-pinion drive systems to ensure a precise movement for printing crisp images.
Ink Storage System:
Until the printer sends a signal to release the colour onto the substrate, the printer needs to hold each colour. This is held in the ink storage system that is inbuilt into the UV printer. It must be noted that depending on your print project, the right fit for the cartridge and bottle storage system can be chosen from the wide variety available.
- Maintenance After-sales service and support:
Investment is never a one-time thing, and a UV printer is a huge investment for a business. Suppose you are buying or leasing a UV printer. In that case, it must be kept in mind that a long-term partnership and credibility need to be built with the service provider from the stages of installation, aiding in operation, training initiates, technical default, and after-sale services must be provided. This ensures that the business can fully optimize the UV printer. Maintenance safeguards the UV printers from irreparable damage and is a mandate. Daily maintenance occurs in regular intervals either during the morning, midday or at night. It is an important factor to consider the time it takes to conduct maintenance on a printer. Flatbed printers usually have automated maintenance tasks such as purging (which uses air to push ink through the print heads) followed by a rubber wiper that wipes the excess ink off the print heads.
However, it is important to make sure that the service provider offers maintenance support, it is essential to find out what type of support will be provided by the company. The technical support afforded must be available in multiple languages so that it doesn’t create a language barrier and ensures that the maintenance is consistent. It is always good to inquire about a warranty plan as it helps to cover support and common spare parts.
- Buy or lease?
Buying or leasing a UV printer largely depends on the financial viability of the business, as it is an expensive affair. Being a hefty investment, the pros and cons of such a purchase must be rightly considered.
Purchasing a UV printer might initially be expensive but will cost lesser money in the long run. The decision to buy or lease mostly depends on the usability of the printer and the purpose it fulfils. If you operate in a dynamic market, leasing allows you the flexibility needed to upgrade to the latest model. But leasing involves extensive paperwork, interest rates, and monthly payments. These factors need to be kept in mind while deciding upon whichever option suits the business model the best depending on the needs and how frequently the UV printer will be used. If you choose to buy a printer, make sure that it is from a reliable provider.
At Apache, we understand that businesses have different needs and the printers must work efficiently to keep up with the fast-paced nature of a business. We believe in maintaining long term relationships and the growth of our partners. Contact us using the link below and one of our specialist team members will reach out to you.