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Blog Home Inkjet Printing When to Consider Buying a UV Printer
Inkjet PrintingFebruary 8, 2024

When to Consider Buying a UV Printer

Inkjet Printing
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Uv Inkjet Printer Printhead

Mint tins, frisbees, pens, tote bags, stationary, golf balls, cell phone accessories, books, face masks, coasters, sporting goods, and drinkware. These items are only a small glimpse into the print capabilities of UV printers. The sky is the limit when it comes to just what you can print on with UV printers. 

UV printers open many more doors than other ink printing systems. The applications and markets that UV technology can accommodate is vast. UV printers, whether they are geared for cylindrical, flat, or slightly curved are often referred to as direct to object or direct to substrate printers for the ability to print directly on a wide range of materials including glass, canvas, metal, plastic, as well as natural fabrics.

Known for their unparalleled print techniques, near instant dry times, and elimination of limitations of print substrates. UV printers are also known for their more environmentally friendly approach to printing. UV LED printers use UV inks. With the use of UV inks, ink evaporation is minimized as they are cured with UV lamps, therefor there is very little Volatile Organic Compound  (VOCs) emission compared to solvent-based inks.

Moreover, UV printers are best suited to answer the needs of e-commerce companies looking for print-on-demand capabilities. Barcode workflows can be easily incorporated into UV digital printers looking to expand offerings and increase productivity.

Considering the expansive range of applications, environmental benefits, and productivity enhancements offered by UV printers, it becomes evident that knowing when to consider buying a UV printer is crucial for businesses seeking to diversify their printing capabilities and improve operational efficiency.

Types of UV Printers

To begin, it’s important to understand the different configuration of UV printers. UV printers come in roll to roll, flatbed, cylindrical, and conveyorized.

Roll to Roll Printer

UV roll to roll printers main function is to digitally print on rolls, such as fabric. With the use of large rubber rollers, material is fed into the printer. These printers are often equipped with the adjustable tension, which ensures even feeding and prevents the material from wrinkling. Common applications for roll to roll UV printers is primarily as a textile printing method, for a wide range of textile applications.

UV Flatbed Printers

Named after the print bed of the UV printer, UV flatbeds are able to print and instantly cure ink of a wide variety of flat and slightly curved surfaces of materials from glass, plastic, metal, paper, and even leather. Flatbed printers are ideal for printing on larger items as well, like coolers.

Cylindrical Inkjet Printers

Rotary, cylindrical, direct to shape or drinkware printers all refer to a UV printer that prints directly on cylindrical vessels like drinkware and candle holders. Forgo labels and digitally print works of art directly onto your drinkware of choice.

Extra care should be taken when printing on drinkware due to the nature of the item. Traditionally drinkware, unlike many other items that are traditionally printed on, are washed regularly. That being said, artwork on drinkware is rightfully expected to make it through dishwasher cycles, therefor the proper combination of pre-treatment, ink, and printer are vital to a long lifespan for drinkware. Pad printing, screen printing, dye sublimation, and litho printing are additional lower cost methods of printing on drinkware, but lack the ease, consistency, and design techniques of digital print.


UV Flatbed printers equipped with conveyor belts for loading and unloading are conveyorized flatbed printers, offering the print quality and full color capabilities of their counterparts, plus conveyor loading and unloading to assist in streamlining the process.

Areas to Consider Before Buying a UV Printer


The brand of UV printer you invest in is an iceberg situation. The brand itself is the exposed ice above the surface, but the company’s mission, people, and support make for either a giant piece of ice underneath, or a lack there of. Choosing a company that gives back to their community, has kind and welcoming employees, and offers service and support that aligns with your needs is a large part of the process. Acquiring a UV printer is a partnership for years to come with a company for ink, parts, and support. Fully research a company prior to signing on to know what to expect.


Size of substrate and orientation are dependent upon what you’re printing on. UV flatbed printers come in different bed sizes, as well as different part height accommodations. Cylindrical printers can do one, two, or multiple vessels at a time. Roll to roll UV printers can accommodate different size rolls. Conveyorized, which are typically paired with flatbed printers host both different sized beds as well as a varying size conveyor belts.

Supplies Needed to UV Print

The printing process is not complete without primers, UV inks, fixtures, and replacement parts. Replacement parts might sound daunting, but with regular use parts do experience wear and the ability to replace them rather than scrap the entire machine is huge.

Compare this to that of consumables needed for dye sublimation or pad printing. Pad printing requires: ink, solvent, hardener, plates, pads, ink cups, rings, laser plate maker, and more. The amount of supplies needed for alternative methods of printing are lengthy, and limited. For instance, UV printing with CMYK allows for full color prints, while printing with four different colors on a pad printer only allows for a four color logo, colors do not mix to create new variations.


While it’s true that UV printers can come with a significant price tag, it’s important not to be deterred by the initial investment. The cost of UV printers often correlates with the range of features they offer, and factors such as print stations and output speeds can also influence pricing. By considering your current and anticipated printing needs, as well as projected demand, you can make a well-informed decision about which UV printer best suits your operations. When engaging with a sales professional, they can provide valuable tools such as ROI calculators, helping you understand the potential return on investment associated with purchasing a UV printer. This insight allows for informed decision-making, ensuring that your investment aligns with your business objectives and financial goals. Additionally, leasing is typically available.

For more information on the three leasing partners that Inkcups works with, please visit: Leasing.


UV printers are indeed advanced and valuable machines, it’s important to note that they require regular maintenance to operate smoothly and efficiently. This includes routine care on a daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly basis. Allocating dedicated time and resources to the upkeep and cleaning of your UV printer is essential to maximize its performance and longevity.


When to Buy a UV Printer

Acquiring a UV printer involves considering multiple factors. Start by seeking out a company known for its approachable staff, accessible customer support, and direct phone assistance. Once you’ve found a suitable company, delve into their range of machines and product lines. Attend trade shows to witness UV printers in operation firsthand, and engage with sales representatives and technicians for insights. Take your time, conduct thorough research, send in your product samples, and don’t hesitate to ask any questions you may have upfront. Purchasing a UV printer should be an enjoyable and enlightening experience.

Inkcups offers a wide variety of UV printers; cylindrical, flatbed, and conveyorized. All three types of UV printers print high quality, full color images for a wide range of industries. Pair top quality printers with global support and numerous Customer Care Representatives ready to answer your questions for a pleasant experience together. Support doesn’t end there, Inkcups offers service and support throughout your machine’s career. To get started, contact us today.

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