Application Trend of UV Inkjet Ink in Digital Printing

In today's digital inkjet, two of the hottest topics are the emergence of inkjet printers that use environmentally friendly UV-curable UV inks, and the rapid application of water-based inkjet inks, especially on vinyl.

There have been many debates in the industry regarding the use of water-soluble, solvent-based, oil-based, or UV-curable UV inks for flatbed inkjet printers. With inkjet printers, it is obvious that water-based inks are suitable for printing relatively few documents. Solvent-based inks are superior in terms of printing volume and large format, and oil-based inks are relatively less used. Everyone thinks that platform printers may be the same - but in fact they are wrong.

In inkjet printing, ink formulators and manufacturers often disagree on nozzle maintenance (requiring slow drying) and media winding (requiring quick drying) when printing. Water-based inks are inherently slow to dry, and ink manufacturers often add humectants such as glycerol or ethylene glycol to slow the drying rate and prevent the ink from clogging the nozzle, so the ink can only be used with high-quality mixed inkjet media. To get high-precision products. These products are not very cheap for the manufacturer, because even on the surface, it is not a simple paper, but multi-layer composite. For inkjet printers that use oil-based inks, media requirements are high because the oil does not evaporate and the media must absorb all of the oil components.

We often use solvent-based inks when printing adhesive banners, mesh cloths, and pressure sensitive papers. These media do not have a base that absorbs ink solvents. Fortunately, many solvent systems are particularly suitable for self-adhesive materials. Self-adhesive polymers can absorb some of the solvent. Good nozzle maintenance often requires at least a small amount of volatile matter in the ink composition, making it difficult to dry. In general, many high-productivity, solvent-based printers use as little as possible professional media with a more expensive base color or pre-coated material. Printer manufacturers often study the problems of setting up preheating rolls, post-heating rolls, rollers, or drying equipment.


To sum up, when we actually operate most inkjet printers today, we rely on the characteristics of special media to absorb all the residual liquid, or to preheat or postheat the media. Once printed on non-absorbable hard materials, these methods are useless. This is one of the main reasons why we expect the application of UV-UV-curable inkjet inks to grow steadily (more than 180% in 2003) in our network survey.

UV UV curable inks have been used in traditional offset, silk screen, flexo, and gravure printing units for at least 10 years, and have consistently increased market share over other inks in the above printing methods, generally reaching 20%. The proportion, or higher. Its environmental friendliness, stability and quick-drying properties, and even its ability to dry quickly on non-absorbent media, are the main factors that dominate the market. The absence of watermarks and UV-cured inks in offset printing has allowed offset printing to compete with screen printing and even flexo printing when printing plastic substrates. In contrast, the use of UV-curable inks in inkjet printing is relatively late, but it is already in use today.

Another reason for the breakthrough of the UV curing technology in the inkjet industry is the drive of the commercial market. Global-scale ink companies such as DIC Sun Chemical inks or Flint inks have corresponding products in the inkjet industry. Sericol, the global leader in screen inks, and other major manufacturers such as Avecia and Toyo , 3M, etc. have their own channels and resources are also involved in this area.

It is these companies that UV UV curing ink will be applied in the field of flatbed inkjet printers, but it will not replace waterborne, solvent and oily inks. After all, many hard substrates and media are absorptive materials, so it is not necessary to use non-UV UV curable inks, especially in certain areas such as packaging printing.

However, many companies that want to print on absorbent materials also want to print on non-absorbent materials such as hard vinyl, composite vinyl, foamed PVC, or acrylic. Usually these substrates are relatively expensive, so there are some restrictions on screen printing in some special jobs or short live jobs, and the area of ​​platform printing is much larger than the screen printing market area. For a slightly larger number of jobs and cheaper absorbent media, screen printing may be able to keep its traditional market.

Research has also shown that most large-format inkjet printers and process end users want to be able to flexibly and diversely print a variety of materials. Machines that can only print on absorbent hard materials are not very attractive options.

UV UV-curable inks now account for less than 1% of the global inkjet ink market. The online survey predicts that UV-curable inks will account for more than 10% of the inkjet market by 2010, and UV-curable inks will continue to dominate the platform inkjet printers.


Reprinted from: China Inkjet Network

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