There have been many innovations in inkjet technology over the years.
From print and cut to the use of white ink, from throughput speed to image quality, digital inkjet, if you stop & think about it for a moment, has been revolutionary in the sign, display and exhibition industries.
Before today’s inkjets it was all electrostatic prints and the Durst Lamda - imagine going back to those days? It would be like swapping out that iPhone in your pocket for a Nokia 6310!
Anyway, back to modern inkjet tech.
This post looks at the latest addition by Mimaki to it’s UCJV300 model - the inclusion of clear ink.
The only way previously to get the spot uv/clear ink look was by sending off to litho.
Now its available on your roll fed printer.
What is clear ink?
In offset litho printing, a UV clear varnish is added to the process as an extra ‘colour’. It takes up one of the cylinders and works in the same way as any of the CMYK channels.
The UV varnish is picked up by the plate which is attached to the cylinder, transfers onto the offset roller and then is printed on to the paper.
The printing plate is created to show only where the spot uv needs to be placed.
Its a careful operation to get it all aligned and any changes in the design will mean preparing a whole new printing plate.
Where is it used?
Spot UV or clear ink is used to highlight specific areas of the printed sheet. It can be used to add definition to text or images or it can create a separate visual illustration that needs to stand out.
Whats so special about clear ink?
And stand out it does! It will turn a standard four colour print into something a whole lot more unique and eye-catching.
Clear areas add an extra dimension to a ‘flat’ print and when used with a bit of thought and creative design, it adds so much extra value to a printed poster or graphic. Think of the clear as an innovative way of accentuating your message
Now, with litho it could only be added to coated papers and it usually had to be sent out to someone who specialised in uv varnishing and print finishing. The size limit came down to the paper that was available (usually sheet sizes up to 720 x 1020mm) or the width of the cylinder rollers on the litho printer.
With roll fed inkjet, the whole process is made so much simpler.
Digital technology as opposed to platemaking makes for instant results. Need to change the position of the clear ink? Its a change in the software that takes minutes if not seconds.
Looking to see almost instant prints and proofs? Again, inkjet will produce the first print in minutes after the first click.
Litho may still have the upper hand if quantity is needed as long as there is little or no customisation between prints. If the requirement is for hundreds of book covers or leaflets with one area of spot UV, then litho has it covered.
For everything else including full individual personalisation between images, inkjet has what you need.
Mimaki LUS-170 Clear Ink
only previously available for the JFXand UJF UV flatbed printers, Mimaki have now widened the option for clear ink to the UCJV300 machine.
The Mimaki UCJV300 is Mimaki’s high spec model that utilises UV-LED curable inks along with full cutting capability.
It’ll produce instant dry graphics whilst running at up to 25m2/hour.
With clear ink, it only looks truly impressive if it is….well, totally clear. Any dust or dirt in there and it doesn’t quite make the same impression.
Thankfully, Mimaki thought of that with the MCC or Mimaki Clear Control system.
Instead of firing the ink onto the sheet and then having the UV light pass over to cure it, MCC simultaneously fires the ink andthe light greatly reducing any possibility of dust or dirt being attracted to the clear ink whilst it’s still curing.
Clear textures and finishes are all available through Mimaki’s Rasterlink 6 RIP software and the included Arista UV Texture library. There are over 100 template options for adding clear ink to your prints.
With floral motifs and symbols to modern visual designs, the Arista library will have presets for most clear ink pattern needs.
For spot UV and embossed 3D effects, the UCJV300 prints multiple layers in one pass.
There is just something of a premium sense to clear ink. I think its down to our tactile touchy-feely industry and how attractive a printed sheet can look when used with a bit of imagination.
In a crowded environment, there’s real value for you and your clients by using these modern innovations. It can be how to make your print and displays unique.
If clear ink has got you interested and you’d like to see how it looks, get in contact with us by email at email@example.com or 01772 920411 or through our Facebook page here.
More info on the UCJV300 here.