UV Printing vs. Screen Printing

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In the past, shirts and clothes were the only items that were printable but with the changes in tides and times come innovations that improve several aspects of life, including printing.

Now, almost everything is printable and customized, glass doors, table tops, fancy phone pouches, and many more. Thanks to technology and continuous advancement which has seamlessly broadened the printing horizon with the latest innovation which is digital UV printing.

Since the 1900’s the Chinese have implemented the use of screen-printing technology to create several designs. This technology is extensively used in making prints on fabrics. In addition, when you view more on the benefits of this print, you will discover that one of its advantages is that it offers you high flexibility and color effects with great ink quality on fabrics.

However, the continuous advancements of prints create room for comparison between modern and traditional printing technologies. To discover which is worth the investment offers better productivity and lots more.


How Good is Change?

The downsides of every piece of equipment lead to the invention of new products to fix and upgrade the equipment. The excessive drying time among other limitations of the printing processes especially on fabrics resulted in the development of UV printing. This printing technology has built-in UV light, faster drying time, and no smearing or blotching.

In addition, UV printing allows the printing of dark and white pictures on the same surface. Putting the photo quality first as well as the quantity of printing, technology has made a tremendous impact on the efficiency level of printing.


What is Screen Printing?

Screen printing is a technology that involves the use of unique techniques to create a picture or pattern on apparel. This technology involves pressing ink or metal on a plain surface through special screens of fine material.

For so many years, this technology is widely used on fabrics, offering high flexibility to the printing process that makes the result very impressive and the inks and color effects of high quality. 

But a major downside of this technique is that it takes a huge amount of time which is due to the excess drying time it requires and the limitation of printing only to fabrics. This disadvantage led to the invention of digital UV printing.


What is Digital UV Printing?

UV printing is a different digital printing technique that involves the use of ultraviolet rays –as the name implies– to dry the printing ink, adhesives, or coatings. This drying occurs with such a speed that the ink dries out once it hits the fabric or material.

The speed at which it dries these materials is a huge benefit to any business as it saves time, enabling the creation of more prints.


5 Differences between UV Printing and Screen Printing

Navigating the differences between these printing technologies will give a clearer insight into which technology can be a lot beneficial.

Several parameters differentiate UV printing from Screen printing. However, the key parameters include:


1. Price

A key factor of consideration when it comes to printing presses is cost. With insights on the UV digital printing vs screen printing cost, it is deduced that UV printing does not need setup costs. It is a linear process despite the quantity it prints and also provides a lower quantity of production. 

On the other hand, screen printing deals with a vast array of stencils to be created which makes them less suitable for the production of lower quantities.


2. Printing Products

Although screen printing incorporates an outstanding technology in all of its operations, it can majorly serve the fabric and material. However, UV printing can be done on almost every surface, some of which includes acrylic, aluminium, glass, wood, etc


3. Inks and Environmental Effects

Mainly three different inks are used in screen printing, they include water-based inks, plastisol, and discharge inks. These inks have limitations as are their application, drying as well as after-wash quality. But UV printing utilizes inks that contain photoinitiators. This chemical (photoinitiators) reacts with UV light which makes it dry up very fast which is a major benefit of this printing technique.

However, plastisol used in screen printing contains Polyvinyl chloride (PVC) which is a harmful pollutant. This disadvantage gives UV printing an edge over screen printing as it is a lot more environmentally friendly. Especially because it doesn’t use heat or toxins in its processes.


4. Quality of Print

Most Screens printed items do not have a good print quality as many of them can be easily scratched off, are not waterproof, and need air to get dry which may take a long time. On the other UV printed surfaces are waterproof, and scratch-and-wear-resistant.

Finally, deciding on a printing technology that you would like to incorporate depends on the quality of the product, and the quantum of production which you require.

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