Surveying your UV machine options.
UV offers a range of advantages when it comes to producing wide-format graphics, including but not limited to: the ability to print onto a broad range of media and substrates, few environmental issues, and increased productivity and image durability.
Print shops have apparently taken notice. Shipments of UV-curable printers will grow at a double-digit pace beyond at least 2012, reported Lyra Research's Adam Florek in our Industry Roundtable from late last year ("The Wide Road Ahead," October). "The recent proliferation of rollfed and low-end UV-curable products is a major reason for these booming sales. In particular, small print shops that only recently bought a UV-curable printer are driving growth," he stated.
If you're considering investing in UV technology for your shop, one of your first tasks should be examining the UV universe. What machines are available to you, and which might work best for your company's particular needs? To help you, we provide here capsule summaries of the UV machines that have made their market debut in the past 12 months or so (for full reports on each printer, visit our products section).
Keep in mind that this report only details recently released UV machines; our Rollfed Printer Charts (July issue) and Flatbed/Hybrid Printer Charts (August) will include all machines on current company rosters.
Mimaki UJV-160 UV: Mimaki's (mimakiusa.com) UJV-160 is a 4-color 60-in. UV-curable hybrid inkjet printer that uses UV-LED technology as well as flexible UV ink (the latter developed in conjunction with 3M). The printer is designed to broaden UV-printing applications, points out Mimaki. Its UV-LED technology allows the printer to accommodate heat-sensitive media such as PVC, reports the company, while the flexible UV inks allow for the printing of vehicle wraps and like applications.
The printer offers resolution of 1200 x 1200 dpi, and prints in three variable-drop sizes; it can hit a speed of approximately 75 sq ft/hr at a standard print mode (600 x 600 dpi, 4-pass). It can accommodate media up to 64-in. wide. The UJV-160 comes standard with feed and delivery tables (which are foldable), enabling the printing not only roll-to-roll but also rigid materials, so output on foam boards and other lightweight materials up to a thickness of 10 mm (0.4-in.) is possible.