Before buying a UV direct-to-object printer, one of the most important things you should consider is how the ink needed will affect the performance and cost of your printing production. Printer ink chemistry is constantly evolving – and advances in this area are leading to an increased array of ink colors, changes in the shelf life of ink, the use of ink on a wider array of materials and more. All of this can affect ink performance as well as the longevity of printer components.
Following are three vital ink considerations that can help you make the best choice of printer for your specific needs.
1) Comparing Ink Costs and Delivery Systems
First, you need to avoid making the mistake of comparing ink costs solely on the basis of volume of ink. When you carefully compare UV printers, you’ll see that different printers use ink in different ways. Some printers utilize complex recirculation systems that cause components to wear out more quickly – while also wasting a significant amount of ink during the recirculation process.
To accurately gauge ink costs, look beyond the list price of ink and compare the actual cost per square inch to produce a quality print over the life of an ink set. You need to account for the amount of ink wasted by recirculation as well as the cleaning process.
2) Evaluating Ink Durability & Treatment
The properties of the material you need to print upon (wood, stone, plastics, glass, etc.) vary greatly and will affect the adhesion of UV inks – which in turn affects the longevity of your printed logos and graphics. Some surfaces accept ink easily, but certain materials or specific applications can present challenges when it comes to adhesion or durability. Some materials may also require pre- or post-treatments to address these issues.
The best thing for you to do when considering durability and treatments is to consult with your vendor about these factors as well as the final conditions the product will go through. A reputable vendor will help you to understand what is needed to create sustainability for your specific printing applications and materials – and also to decide whether UV digital printing is even right for your needs.
3) Understanding System Ink Capabilities
Current UV inkjet systems have not changed much for decades. All of them employ the CMYK (cyan, magenta, yellow, black) standard for producing color prints. However, some systems also utilize white ink – which provides a normalizing under-base to present colors accurately on objects of different colors. Color is key, especially for corporate and licensed team logos that demand accuracy. Look for a vendor who understands color management and provides a variety of profiles including customizing to suit your needs.
You also need to consider compatibility as well as ink layering capabilities as they apply to your company’s production needs. For maximum production values and cost-effectiveness, you need a UV printer and ink supply that ensures the best solution for your company’s product line and printing operations.
For more information and other important factors to consider when purchasing a UV printer, download our ebook, 4 Major Considerations for Buying a UV Printer.