Making the Case for UV Inks

A brief visit through our project archives has made it clear to us, UV inks were the right way to go. The mini-case studies below show just a few solutions to customer goals and challenges—achieved in part because of the unique attributes of UV flexographic printing. 

Prospective customer challenge: Reduce the cost of our labels without impact on the aesthetics or quality of our current labels.

Solution: Together with our prospective customer, QAL materials sourcing and technical teams reviewed the current structure of the label to identify areas for cost reduction. There was an easy fix, remove the lamination from the label and add a flood of UV gloss varnish. To QAL this was an easy fix but our potential customer was leery. "We have tried that in the past, but our labels would scuff on our packaging lines."  Through education on UV ink and varnish combined with a line trial for added comfort, the label cost was reduced by 5%.

Why it worked: When cured, UV inks turn to a plastic/solid, eliminating the need for an over laminate. UV inks, on their own, are protective. Adding a flood of UV varnish ensures label resistance to picking or scuffing on the packaging lines, over the course of shipment, during product use and even after disposal. Being able to eliminate the need for a laminate provides our customers with a cost savings option that upholds the desired quality and durability of their labels.

Prospective customer challenge: I need my label to be chemical resistant; the ink on my current label bleeds.

Solution: After examining the label it was easy to deduce water based inks were being used. After we demonstrated the strength and chemical resistant properties of UV inks we converted this prospective customer into a happy customer.

Why it worked: Unlike solvent or water-based inks, UV inks are cured using ultra violet lamps, which essentially turn the ink from a liquid to a plastic. This trait of UV inks ensures the integrity of the label will not be compromised due to chemical and environmental exposure.

Prospective customer challenge: I need to know that my brand colors will be accurate and consistent.

Solution: Quality Assured Label invited the customer to prove in the first print run to build the appropriate color standard for their labels. This process provided the customer with a high level of comfort in QAL’s abilities and commitment to color consistency.

Why it worked: UV inks are easier to control than alternative types of ink and remain the same color after the curing process. UV inks cure instantaneously, locking in the color and all its pigment. Solvent and water-based inks take time to dry. During the drying process non-UV cured inks are exposed to different levels of humidity and environmental elements, creating the risk of color alteration. The amount of unknown variables these types of inks could be exposed to during the drying process makes it extremely difficult to guarantee how the color will turn out, resulting in variations of color and appearance. Utilizing UV inks eliminates this risk.

Customer challenge: Our company strives to be an eco-friendly provider to our consumers. In order to satisfy this goal, we need our products and materials to be as sustainable as possible.

Solution: QAL matched a responsibly sourced film material to the customer’s container. The material combined with UV inks and coatings met the eco requirements of this initiative.

Why it worked: The film label and the product container are made of materials that all enter the same recycling stream. This means that the product and its label can all be disposed of together. Additionally, UV inks are cured by exposure to ultra violet rays. This process turns the ink into a solid, taking on the same “plastic” characteristics as the printed substrate. This ensures that the ink will not break down or turn to a liquid after disposal thus mitigating any contamination of ground water. This eco-friendly benefit cannot be said of solvent and water-based inks. Unlike UV inks, other ink systems also give off Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC’S) during the printing process. When solvent-based inks use heat and air to dry they give off harsh chemicals that stream directly into the air we breathe; UV inks do not emit any VOC’s. QAL’s film based materials and UV inks are just a few examples of how QAL helps provide eco-friendly options to our customers.