We work in an exciting time of progress when it comes to inks and ink systems available on the market. Ever-increasing demands for performance and efficiency coupled with evolving environmental and workplace safety regulations have pushed the market to explore new options and have driven ink manufacturers to innovate and adapt. One such innovation is the growing support for UV ink systems, which offer a number of benefits over their solvent and aqueous counterparts.
First, UV inks offer almost immediate curing when passed under a UV lamp, with the actual cross-linking of the UV ink taking just 1 to 3 seconds. This allows printers to run at extremely high production rates, maximizing operating speeds and output. It also eliminates the need for space-consuming dryers required by high-speed solvent systems or racks for air-drying with aqueous inks. The rapid curing feature of UV inks also allows them to be compatible with the newest generation of graphic presses, which run multiple colors in progression with cure reactors in between each print head, allowing multiple colors to be laid in rapid succession without having to move the substrate through a dryer or onto a rack for drying.