Inkjet Printing in the Vinyl Wrap Industry
Digitally printed vinyl wraps for cars, trucks, vans and even motorcycles offer incredible graphics at a fraction of the cost of hand painted and airbrush production, and the turnaround for full or partial vinyl raps is much quicker. Digital inkjet printing has expanded the opportunity for promotional customisation beyond hand painting or stickers. From quote to delivery, vinyl is faster and cheaper than hand painted designs. A custom paint job can require several weeks, while a full or partial vinyl wrap can often be delivered in 10 days or less. A less costly solution is printing a simple vinyl sticker.
What ink to use on Vinyl Wraps and Skins?
Solvent inks deliver the best results for producing vinyl warps or signage. The solvents provide the required flexibility for the material when applied to an uneven surface. The solvents also bind powerfully with the vinyl material. In recent years, the majority of printers turn to eco-solvent or light-solvent ink, these have reduced volatile organic compounds. Smaller percentages use UV curable inks.
Warranty can depend on ink.
Vinyl manufacturers tend to recommend specific ink formulations for use with their products and using the right ink ties into the warranty of the product, the reason for this is manufacturers know the quality of the ink has a significant impact on the overall durability of the vinyl. Higher quality vinyl requires less aggressive solvents such as eco-solvent inks. With the right vinyl and ink a wrap can last at least a couple of years and often a liquid laminate seal is applied to the printed vinyl, which further protects the printed product.
What printers are used?
Scanning printers using piezoelectric drop-on-demand inkjet print heads are the most common technology in the wrap industry and these printers often incorporate one or more heating methods. The heat prepares the vinyl and accelerates drying. Also, there may be a preheating element in the roller system preparing the vinyl to accept the ink by opening the pores of the substrate. Often there’s a heated plate where the print head goes to work and finally hot air finishes the curing after the ink is applied.
Whether you are printing for commercial fleets, custom jobs for individuals or alternative uses, such as office window skins, the vinyl-wrap market is expanding because of the speed and quality of today’s wide format inkjet printers combined with robust ink options.