What is UV Curing & how does it Work?

About UV Printing

To create the premium print and art you and your business desire to showcase your luxury products, it is important to choose the right printing technique. Ineffective printing methods make the all-important difference between advertising your luxury products in good quality, or in supreme quality. There is no other industry where the look and feel of a product is more important. With print, businesses can showcase their abilities through their products. Customers and clients who receive such elegant, exquisite print will begin to develop an emotional attachment to this ‘art’ as well as the printing manufacturer. A solution is out there to achieve this and it’s a proven method for creating consistently perfect items which are the cornerstone in selling your luxury products to fully impress your clientele. UV curing is the answer! But what is it and how is it used in printing?

What is UV Curing?

Ultra Violet (UV) curing printing presses are used to reproduce graphical images in high volume with a superior quality. The process starts with a blank substrate, typically paper, as either a roll (or web) or a cut stack of sheets. UV curing is a technique that will continue to rise when discussing printing via a UV printer. It’s the drying method a printing process uses, and it plays a major role in perfecting luxury materials.

UV curing is a process in which high-intensity ultraviolet light and visible light is used to initiate a photo-chemical reaction that instantly cures inks, adhesives, coatings, varnishes etc. This offers many advantages over traditional drying methods, as this method has been proven to improve the quality of print, increase production speed, diversifies available substrates to print on, reduce reject rates, enables superior bonding as well as improving the scratch and solvent resistance of print work.

How does UV Curing Work?

UV curing uses light instead of heat, with the process based on a photo-chemical reaction. Materials that cure using UV deliver a convenient cure on demand capability. Liquid monomers and oligomers are mixed with photo initiators, which when exposed to UV light instantly harden.

Usually, printing inks were cured with heat, in some cases this is still done today. UV curable inks were created as a substitute to solvent-based products. These worked through the evaporation of the solvents, which shrink the initial application by over 50% and create harmful environmental pollutants.

In UV curing there are no solvents to evaporate, meaning no environmental pollutants are released, no loss of coating thickness and no loss of volume. This results in higher productivity with a reduction in energy use and pollution. UV drastically improves the physical properties of print, providing an improved gloss finish, better scratch and solvent resistance and it improves the overall strength of the substrate.