Sign & Digital Graphics

July '17

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44 • July 2017 • S I G N & D I G I T A L G R A P H I C S of three years for outdoor applications, and up to five years for indoor displays. Printers to produce vivid, durable prints on a wide variety of coated and uncoated materials including most low-cost, eco- solvent/low-solvent compatible media. In recent years Mimaki and Ricoh have developed similar Latex printing systems. UV-Curable Inks UV-curable inks work in an entirely different way than aqueous or solvent inks. In addition to the pigment col- ors, they are a chemical soup consist- ing mainly of monomers and oligo- mers and a photoinitiator catalyst that, when exposed to a strong source of UV irradiation (an arc lamp or LED-based cure lamp) become a solid. The mono- mers and oligomers chemically change into a solid polymer. Most wide-format UV-cure printers used in the sign indus- try have cure lamps mounted on the printhead and cure the deposited inks with every pass of the printhead. UV-cure printing is viable on a huge range of substrates, and is especially useful for outdoor applications printed directly onto rigid substrates using a flat- bed printer. Fully cured UV inks can be extremely durable and hard or remain quite flexible, depending on the formula used. Dye Sublimation "Dye Sub" as it is called in the ver- nacular, is a method for digitally print- ing onto textiles. In this process, special sublimation inks—under heat and pres- sure—sublimate and diffuse into poly- ester-based media and fabrics, forming a permanent bond. There are two tech- niques used with dye sub: direct-printing to textiles and transfer printing. For transfer printing, a reverse image is printed onto a special transfer paper which is then placed with the intended substrate in a heat press where the inks can then be sublimated to the fabric. These printers produce very durable photo-quality continuous-tone images. Dye-sublimation printing uses polyes- ter and polymer-coated substrates and is used to print onto apparel, and poly- coated items such as cell phone covers, plaques, ceramic containers, etc. The heat press (clamshell/drum press), or calender unit uses a combina- tion of time, temperature (380°-420° F.) and pressure, which vary depending on the substrate, to transfer the sublima- tion dyes at the molecular level onto the surface. Figure 6: Some direct-printing dye-sub printers, such as the Eos Series from PrinterEvolution shown here, include in-line sublimation capabilities, eliminat- ing the need for a heat press or calender unit. Figure 7: A plotter inter- prets data from a com- puter into line drawings on paper with one or more automated pens. In Print... Online... Person

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