Vinyl (roll) printers

Is there only one kind of vinyl printer?

No - there are three main types

  • Solvent ink printers
  • UV ink printers
  • Latex ink printers

Solvent printers have been around for a long time and are still very commonly used both for sign vinyl and garment vinyl printing.


Solvent inks:

Basic solvent printers have four colours of ink (Cyan,Magenta,Yellow,K-Black)whereas the higher specification machines can have 6 or 8 colours including Light Cyan, Light Magenta, Light Black and Light, light black.

The extra colours allow much more accurate colour matching, shading, skin tones and grays.

Some printers also allow the use of white and/or silver metallic inks.  The silver ink can be printed together with colours to produce different metallic colours.

Degassing Solvent printers have 1, 2 or even 3 heated plates designed to accelerate the drying of the solvent inks.  Typical heater temperatures are up to 40 deg C

Even with the help of heaters it is still necessary to remove the printed sheets from the printer and allow them to dry overnight. The dry sheets are then placed into an automatic cutter for contour cutting of the individual logos.


UV inks

UV printers have powerful UV lamp arrays on either side of the print head so the inks dry almost instantly as they hit the print surface.   This means that the product is ready to be contour cut or used as soon as printing has been completed thereby saving time and speeding up turn-around times for new orders.

First generation UV inks were designed for hard surfaces only offering high scratch resistance but no stretch. Some manufacturers have no introduced high stretch UV inks and even metallic silver UV ink.

UV inks offer other unique benefits because they can be used to printed textured images like like Braille for example.  Clear UV inks also allow a gloss to be printed over the entire image or just in some places (like raindrops on a leaf)

Because the inks are dried by UV lamps, UV printers do not need heated beds so the vinyl of media is not affected by heat and stays flat.


Latex inks

Latex inks are water based and are dried just after printing (but still within the printer)by high temperature lamps that can reach temperatures of up to 125 deg. C

Thicker products, images that require more ink and higher print speeds all require higher temperatures in order to dry the ink fully.   As we know from solvent printers.....higher temperatures are more likely to cause curling or rippling of the media.




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