The main function of a UV ink primer is to promote UV ink adhesion through strengthening the physical bond between the ink and substrate. Digital primers play an important role in the UV printing process, especially for hard-to-print materials such as glass, acrylic, stainless steel, EVA, etc. Also known as UV adhesion promoters or UV inkjet primers, they enhance print quality and UV ink adhesion to various materials. These adhesion promoters are important for enhancing surface printability and ink adhesion. This article will discuss the important role of digital primers.

What is UV digital printing?

UV printing is a form of digital printing that uses ultraviolet (UV/LED) light to dry UV ink at 365nm to 405nm wavelength. The most common lamps are 365nm and 395nm. The UV ink dries instantly on exposure to UV light. However, the ink cures and crosslinks to the material within 24 hours.

UV inkjet primers enable ink adhesion to the substrate during inkjet printing. Additionally, the UV adhesion promoter increases the surface energy of the material—this enables the ink to wet the material. When the UV printer jets the ink on the material, the drop spreads to a certain size—dot gain. The ink drop must be the right size, not too large and not too small. When the primer is applied, it helps hold and control the ink spread. This in turn enhances the vibrancy of the color.

Factors to consider when choosing a primer/ what is the function of primers.

There are several factors to consider when choosing an adhesion promoter for your printing project. These considerations are important to ensure that you achieve optional print quality and ink adhesions. Here are the factors to consider:

  • The material (substrate) compatibility: different primers are formulated for specific materials, e.g., PP plastics, EVA, glass, metals, etc.
  • Ink compatibility: Choosing a primer compatible with the UV ink will ensure that the ink achieves good adhesion.
  • Application process: wipe on primers, Jettable Adhesion Promoter, and spray on primers. The choice of the application process will directly impact the printing output. For single prints, wipe-on primers are good, but they are not ideal for mass-volume printing.
  • Primer versatility: while it is hard to find primers that work well on many substrates, it is important to choose one primer for different applications and substrates. This provides printing flexibility and lowers operation costs. This is another role of digital primers.
  • Environmental considerations: many primers have high VOCs. Choosing primers with high solid content is not only good for the environment but also improves the longevity of the prints.
  • Ease of use: An adhesion promoter that easily integrates seamlessly into a printing workflow will greatly increase the overall production efficiency.
  • Supplier support, knowledge, and recommendations: many suppliers of adhesion promoters do not understand the chemistry behind the promoters. Therefore, it is important to buy primers directly from the manufacturer, e.g., Boston Industrial Solutions, Inc. At Boston Industrial Solutions, we not only make UV primers, but we also have support and expertise to help you make informed decisions for your printing application.

Boston Industrial Solutions, Inc. UV digital primers

Boston Industrial Solutions, Inc., makes several pre-treatment primers for inkjet printing. These are:

  • M74F and M87 UV ink primer —formulated for stainless steel, all raw metals, acrylic materials, and powder-coated metals.
  • PP Plastic primer for polypropylene plastics and EPDM rubber. The PP primer is the world’s best UV adhesion promoter for plastic substrates.
  • PP3 Promoter—this is a mild primer for plastic substrates.
  • JP254 adhesion promoter—a versatile adhesion promoter for glass and metals.
  • G1 Glass adhesion promoter—this is a wipe-on adhesion promoter for glass, tiles, and ceramic materials.

In summary, the role of a digital primers is to transform the surface of a material and enable ink (pad printing inks or UV inkjet inks) to bond to the material. Lastly, it is important to note that Boston Industrial Solutions, Inc., continues to innovate and formulate different printing adhesion promoters for printing on a wide range of substrates. Additionally, if the available primers in our portfolio are not sufficient, we will work with you to formulate a custom primer for your specific application.

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