The printing industry has immensely widened beyond shirts and clothes over time and almost anything can now be printed and customised. For example, glasswares, tabletops, acrylics, and even metal. In this digital age, the printing industry also jumped in the innovation train with its latest printing technology, the digital UV printing.
Before we talk about the latest technology, let’s first discuss the traditional way of printing that originated in Asia around 500 A.D that’s called Screen Printing.
What is Screen Printing?
Screen printing is a printing technology that makes use of the technique of creating a picture or pattern by forcing ink or metal onto a surface through a screen of fine material. This technology has been widely used in the case of fabrics. With this, it offers high flexibility to the printing process offers which makes the quality of ink and color effects on fabrics impressive.
However, since the screen printing process can take too long due to the excessive drying time and limitation of printing only to fabrics, this leads to innovation and the creation of digital UV Printing.
What is Digital UV Printing?
UV Printing on the other hand is another method of digital printing that utilises Ultraviolet (UV) light to dry or cure the ink, adhesives, or coatings almost as soon as it hits the paper or any surface/material – such as acrylics, metal, ceramics, glass or even wood, instantly as long it fits in the printer.
How do the two differ from each other?
As simple as one would say, screen printing is a manual process while UV printing uses a computer and digital files to set and print the desired image.
Other notable differences that can be seen are the following:
- Cost and Quantity
While traditional screen printing needs a lot of materials before you can start printing, such as the stencil screens to be created, UV printing does not. It only needs simple picture processing and the software to print it.
The number of print completions per hour in screen printing is greatly higher than that of digital prints, so high quantities will be much cheaper. However, for low quantity jobs, it will be much cheaper when it will be digitally printed.
- Products to be Printed
Even though screen printing is a well-established technology already, it still can majorly cater the fabric and apparel materials. On the other hand, UV printing can be utilised on almost any kind of surface such as acrylic, aluminum, glass, metal, and wood. For more information, here’s a list of materials that you can choose from at Concept Laser Co.
- Inks Used and Environment effects
Screen printing uses three types of inks, plastisol, water-based inks, and discharge inks that have limitations with regards to their drying up time and after-wash quality. However, UV Printing uses ink that contains a chemical called photo initiators that reacts with UV light contact that makes it dry instantly.
The plastisol used in screen printing contains PVC which is a harmful pollutant, while UV printing is very environmentally friendly since it neither uses heat nor toxins in the process.
- After-print Quality
Any Screen printed item’s colorfastness can sometimes be not that good, it can easily be scratched off, not waterproof, and needs to be air-dried for some time. UV printed surfaces, on the other hand, are waterproof, anti-scratch, and have wear resistance depending on the quality of UV Printing Ink that was used.
Here at Concept Laser Co, we only use Mutoh Inks as they offer world-class colour reproduction and enable us up to 6 colour capabilities including CMYK, White ink, and UV Varnish. Mutoh UV ink is designed for printing onto suitable coated and uncoated media for both indoors and outdoors, with UV and water resistance for up to three years.
UV Printing is a fantastic process and when combined with laser cutting or laser engraving and high-quality materials it makes for an unbeatable trio that allows us to offer a limitless printing service so you can create whatever you desire!