UV Curable Inks in the Business Signage Industry

There are so many factors to consider when creating a custom metal business sign. Metal sign manufacturers pay keen attention to the type of printing technology they use to ensure that you get the best product. A variety of printing technology is available for custom metal business signs. Flatbed printing is one such technology and it allows sign masters to print directly on the metal or substrate of choice. It utilizes two main ink applications: solvent inks and UV inks. Metal sign manufacturers that create signs using flatbed printing tend to prefer UV inks. The benefits and recent advancements with UV curable inks are outlined in this article. 

The Benefits

·         Environmentally friendly. UV curable inks are free of toxins because they don’t use solvents.

·         Curing is fast and efficient. More modern graphic presses can also use UV curable inks to print multiple colors consecutively without moving the substrate.

·         No drying of the UV ink on the printing screen. Therefore, there will be no ink clogging the printer’s mesh if printing stops. Sign manufacturers are able to create as many printouts as they need without having to clean the mesh.

·         A variety of color opacities to choose form. The transparency the ink provides allows an extremely clean printout.

Advances in UV Inkjet Printing

·         Although UV curable inks are durable, they aren’t flexible.  HP created a new ink set called the HP HDR250 Scitex to deal with this issue.  This specialized ink works with the HP Scitex “Smart Coat Technology” to produce another layer of ink from the set’s cyan ink supply. The light cyan ink contains a more durable polymer than the other inks in the ink set. It is printed as a set of closely spaced spots that never meet. This spotted printing allows the sign’s substrate to be folded or flexed without the ink cracking and provides a protective layer for the sign.

·         UV curable inks have to be specially made for each substrate. This becomes pretty expensive. The HP Scitex 15500 Corrugated Press addresses this issue through the use of an affordable ink set for corrugated boards. This makes printing on any substrate using the same ink possible.

·         Agfa has discovered a way to improve image quality with UV Inkjet printing without using more ink. They have dubbed this technology “Thin Ink”. A thinner layer of ink is dispersed which enables faster, more even curing.

·         Toyo Ink has developed two series of low-energy UV-curable offset inks: Flash Dry LPC Ex and Flash Dry LED Ex for LED UV curing systems. Both inks provide a product comparable to oil-based inks without compromising on printing efficiency.  These ink sets also provide a wider variety of colors, greater transparency, and a gloss finish.


UV curable inks have developed a solid footing in the business signage industry. Shield Co uses UV Curable Inks to produce high quality finishes on our custom metal business signs.  WE always ensure that we use the best sign printing technology to create custom signs for your indoor and outdoor business needs.


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