Tech Translations: UV print and dye sub print

What’s really best for your projects?

Printing technology has evolved to be even more reliable, vivid and eco-friendly than ever. We’ve been in the industry long enough to see how much it’s changed, adapting our own techniques to bring you the best large-format print products on the market.  

If you’re just starting to look into print services, there are numerous options available with two of the most popular being UV printing, and dye sublimation (dye sub) printing. Different sources may promote one or the other differently depending on current demand, but as we have the capability to practice both methods we can give you unbiased advice on what is right for you. Neither option is inherently better than the other, but some products suit one process more than the other. Here’s what you need to know when differentiating between UV and dye sublimation printing. 

Catch some rays: UV print

UV print technology has cut a lot of time from the usual print process, as well as being one of the most eco-friendly options going. Traditional methods of print require a primer and time to dry, whereas digital methods of print such as UV skips both of those processes. It dries through using photoinitiators in the ink which are then solidified by UV lamps, meaning nothing is getting evaporated into the atmosphere as everything is absorbed by the substrate itself.  

This process is ideal for printing on sheet materials such as Foamex, ACM and Correx or roll media such as banners, self-adhesive products, semi-rigid and fabric. We can also UV print in white ink, a perfect option for printing pre coloured substrates or clear products such as optically clear window films. For more information, visit our product page.  

Dye sub print: tradition meets tech

There are 2 common methods of dye sub print, one being printing onto paper and transferring that to your product. This traditional method is still used on some products, but as technology advances, so do our processes. 

Our more commonly used method is direct dye sub printing, which is cured onto the product itself. Direct dye sub printing uses an in-line curing process to cure the inks, reaching temperatures of up to 180°c. This evaporates the water in the ink, so you are left with vibrant colour prints.   

Using water-based inks on a polyester substrate is also a very sustainable way of printing. Although the curing process does release steam, this is safer for the environment than processes that evaporate solvents. Dye sub printing can also only be used on poly materials, which are recyclable and durable which naturally decreases their carbon footprint. And, with direct dye sub printing, you have the additional benefit of not using paper in the process. 

Which is right for me?

Our experts will be able to recommend the right print method for your projects, as different processes do work better on different products. For example, even though UV print is a very popularly used method of printing, we would recommend dye sub printing for items such as light boxes or tension fabric frames.  

Occasionally, you can hear of dye sub printing being considered the more expensive or less appealing option between the two. This is often promoted when a business doesn’t have the capacity for dye sub printing as well as UV print. In our years of working with dye sublimation printing we are happy to advocate for its durability, vibrancy, and its affordability. There are even some products that we would recommend dye sub over UV printing for, such as light boxes or tension fabric frames. Whichever process is selected for your products, you are guaranteed that your project will be finished with the same high standards you expect from XG Group.   

Get in touch

Get in touch on 01280 707 180 or contact sales@xg-group.co.uk to discuss your ideas and see how our expert machinery brings them to life! 

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