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What is UV Print and Cut?

UV (ultraviolet) printing has been a major revolution in the printing industry, providing a digital print alternative to traditional screen or pad printing solutions.

The advantages of UV printing are numerous, including instantaneous drying times, durable print and an environmentally friendly printing process. As the ink is cured instantly, it doesn't absorb/spread into the substrate, resulting in a crisp, high-quality print.

UV made printing onto virtually any surface possible. Phone cases, golf balls, glass bottles, stationery, acrylic blocks - if the substrate isn’t oil based or waterproof, you can print to it.

It’s fair to say we love UV print, so we thought we’d take a look at the benefits of combining UV printing with cutting technology.

What is UV Print and Cut?

When we talk about print and cut, we tend to mean printing onto a self-adhesive vinyl and cutting out a shape. Decals, window graphics and floor stickers are common uses, but new businesses are appearing all the time, many with unique and imaginative ideas to make further use of their machine.

The process is simple and the user-friendly technology makes it really easy to get started with print and cut. You can find out more here.

Benefits of UV Ink

  • Instantaneous drying time - ink specially formulated to remain liquid until cured with UV light and your print is ready to use straight away
  • Durable and scratch resistant - the output is more resistant to rubbing, light and chemicals than some other digital ink types 
  • Low temperature UV lamps - heat sensitive substrates won’t warp, meaning the finish is good 
  • Free from VOCs - inks don’t give off solvent fumes, or volatile organic compounds, so it’s more environmentally friendly

What Can You Do With UV Print and Cut?

So, what makes UV print and cut a viable option for your business? Let’s take a look at some of the exciting products you can create with a UV print and cut machine.

Cosmetics packaging prototype with embossed text
Cosmetics packaging prototype with embossed text

Realistic Packaging Prototypes

Providing your clients with a practical example of their design lets them see, feel and share it with other decision makers. The tactile element can be a major benefit and helps to transform a vision into reality far more confidently than printing onto white paper.

Packaging mock-ups become much less labour and resource intensive, and allow you to include print effects like texture that were simply too expensive and time consuming to be practical in a prototype before. You can show off techniques, such as combining clear and white UV inks to create effects that will really impact your designs and exceed your customers’ expectations.

UV print and cut gives you the means to provide your client with a real-life example of how you distinguish yourself from your competitors. And as packaging is likely the very first impression a customer will have of a product, the look and feel is especially important in conveying quality and value.

In-house Labelling and Packaging

Bring labelling and packaging in-house to give a time and cost-effective boost to your business. By cutting out the lead times, briefings and the back and forth between designers, you gain more control of the process and take back your resources to spend on doing what you do best.

Shop window with printed graphics
Shop window with printed graphics

Window Graphics

Great window graphics need to be eye-catching, vibrant and pack a punch. And while printing on a clear self-adhesive vinyl using CMYK inks can still look good, under or overprinting with white UV ink provides an extra wow-factor and gives them a chance to really pop.

The white ink maintains the opacity of your graphics so that the designs don’t get lost when battling a busy background. The colours in the foreground also have greater contrast and appear more vibrant too.

UV ink is also particularly durable when exposed to sunlight and the elements, so UV printed graphics can be well suited to longer term outdoor use.

Braille and Visual Assistance

Sign makers have a fantastic opportunity with UV printing technology to provide larger clients, such as building developers or those in the public service and transport industries, with accessibility solutions, such as colour contrast and braille signage.

As UV ink prints on top of the substrate and isn’t absorbed into it, it is raised slightly from the surface giving it a tactile quality. Building up the layers of clear ink can create various textures and is particularly useful as a quick and cost-effective method of producing braille text. Used in lifts, toilets or on emergency signage, for example, Braille text provides additional accessibility where lighting or colour isn’t always appropriate.

Logo sticker with spot-uv glossy highlights
Logo sticker with spot-uv glossy highlights

Special Effect Stickers

Printing with UV white, gloss and primer inks will elevate your business above the crowded sticker market. UV printing techniques let you create designs your customers want to touch and experience with unique special effects, such as simulated embossing, varnishing and texture.

Give your microbrewery bottle labels a mouth-wateringly life-like condensation effect or show water beading on your waterproof outdoor clothing branding. Make your band merch as transcendent as your music. Speed up your skateboards, bikes and scooters with customised shimmer-effect decals or create your own universe to go on a bedroom ceiling that comes alive in the dark.

Other Textured Printing

The feature of UV printing and layering clear ink allows for some truly unique creations to wow your customers with.

Any number of textures can be easily created on Adobe Illustrator or CorelDRAW that will help you bring your ideas to print, and there are dozens available on the Roland Texture System Library, featuring raindrops, flowers and leaves, and leather and textile effects.

Put Yourself Out There

When your business is about creativity, UV print and cut technology is a valuable tool that can really get you noticed. We live in a world of mass-production and trending, so customers are looking for the personal touch, a way to show off their personality and express their individuality.

You can produce one-offs or small runs without the setup costs of traditional methods. UV print and cut is a fantastic way to add perceived quality and value to your products and ensure that your customers get what they want and discover things they didn’t know they wanted!

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