UV printing

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Here you will find a description of UV printing according to its principle and the related processes for producing front panels.

Procedural principle

Any raster or vector graphic can in principle be used for as a printing template for UV printing. The UV printing ink is hardened with UV light after it has been applied to the material. To ensure that the UV ink adheres ideally to the material, the material is pretreated in a special procedure in a plasma furnace.

The UV printing does not penetrate into the material, but lies on top of the material. It also demonstrates high scratch resistance and high UV resistance, along with very good resistance to chemicals and many solvents.

In addition to the usual CMYK colors, white ink can also be used in UV printing. This also allows for white lettering or colored material in general to be printed. To do this, white ink is printed beneath the graphic as a first step and the actual graphic is applied as a second step.

The front panel is printed before the further machining of the front panel.

Source material

UV printing can in principle be applied to any material. We only guarantee the perfect adhesion of the print on anodized aluminum however. As white is also available as a color, colored panels can also be printed. Under these conditions, it is also possible in principle to carry out UV printing on customer-supplied material.

Printing and sealing process

As the surface of uncompacted anodized aluminum is very sensitive, a front panel must be printed and subsequently sealed before any machining can take place.

The relevant main plate is cut from a larger strip, which is appropriately protected in storage. To ensure a perfect surface for printing and up until compacting, the handling of the main plate is subject to strict guidelines.

In addition to the image a mark is printed on the panel which is then recognized as the origin for machining.

The open-pored printed main plate is sealed or compacted in boiling deionized water. The UV resistance of the image increases with the exposure time.

Subsequent machining

After printing the main plate can be passed on to the standard production flow without the need for special measures or precautions.

The only peculiarity concerns the handling of the origin. Normally the origin for the milling machine needs only to be determined to the extent that the panel can be correctly cut out from the corresponding larger main plate.

With a printed front panel on the other hand, the origin of the milling file must exactly match the origin which was previously set during printing. This origin is printed as a mark which the milling machine can visually detect in an initial search and adopt as the origin for the milling or engraving process.