Fujifilm has announced a new thermo-forming UV-cured inkjet ink, Uvijet KV, which is aimed at light industrial applications.
This new ink system has been designed specifically for use with Fujifilm’s Acuity Advance Select and Acuity Advance Select HS. Fujifilm claim that the printed images have similar colours to existing inks with no loss of print speed.
Once the printing of a flat plastic sheet is completed, it is removed to a mould where it is heated up to take on the shape of the mould, and then cooled. The ink has outstanding elongation properties of 300-400% when heated, returning to a ‘normal’ state when cool.
According to Mike Battersby, marketing manager, Large Format at Fujifilm Speciality Ink Systems: “Large format printing has for some time been expanding away from the ‘traditional’ graphics markets, so we’ve been using our extensive ink and application knowledge to develop solutions which allow these systems to be used for different light industrial applications. The use of inkjet printing in thermo forming is not well established, but there is an opportunity for early adopters to use their creativity and innovation to open up and develop exciting new markets.”
Battersby says that thermo forming is becoming more widely used in industrial applications, adding: “Typical substrates that could be printed include polystyrene and PETG, both of which mould easily into new shapes when hot. We are very excited about the new ink, as it opens up new business opportunities for our prospects and customers.”
I asked Canon if it was planning to make the Uvijet KV ink, or something similar, available to its Arizona customers, since the Fujifilm Acuity flatbeds are rebadged Arizonas, and I believe that the Canon UV ink is actually made by Fujifilm. But Canon replied that it would need to test the ink before considering this.
However, it’s worth noting that Océ did try out a thermoforming ink with its original flatbed printer, the T220, though this used solvent inks and was superceded by the UV-curable Arizona range.