Leading the way with UV inks

Mimaki leads the way with LED UV technology and continues to evolve its already substantial and award-winning range of innovative flatbed printers along with the more recent additions of UV roll-to-roll print and cut as well as grand format roll to roll. This solid portfolio of LED UV hardware feeds a number of buoyant markets including direct-to-object, rigid signage, industrial prototyping, personalisation, soft signage and exhibition graphics. However, along with spearheading the LED UV hardware technology, much of what is creatively achievable is only possible with the phenomenal UV inks Mimaki has brought to market.

The first decision to make with UV printing is whether you’ll need hard ink or flexible ink. Hard UV inks are tough and ultra-durable. They have great adhesion and are suited to rigid applications such as printing on acrylic, wood, glass and metal. Flexible inks are stretchable to allow for the expansion and contraction of movement. They still provide scuff resistance and durability, but are astonishingly malleable on bendy surfaces like banner, vinyl and flexible phone cases.

Adhesion can be a problem in materials that possess low surface energies, such as polyethylene and polypropylene, but surface energy can be improved by pre-treatment technologies such as primers, which serve to increase adhesion and give life to prints. There’s Mimaki GM1 for glass and metal, which is a wipe-on wipe-off hand primer that gives an extra boost of adhesion. To automate the process and make it easier for printing companies, Mimaki has also developed two printable primers as well; PR100 for rigid applications and PR200 for use with flexible inks. Primer has opened up a world of new materials and objects that can be printed to, where historically ink adhesion would have been difficult.

Clear varnish ink can be used to both highlight areas with spot or flood coating, as well as to deliver embossing opportunities with multiple passes. Available for Mimaki’s LED UV flatbed technology since 2016, and now useable in the UCJV300 series roll-to-roll printer/cutter, the development of clear UV cure ink has created a host of new design possibilities and expands business opportunities by creating compelling displays using gloss, matte or textured finish.

Mimaki has developed a unique feature called Mimaki Clear Control (MCC), which shortens the time needed for ink curing to prevent dust from sticking, ensuring smoother, cleaner clear effects, such as matte or glossy finish.