FAQ: UV Roller Coating Questions
We have supported our customers for over 29 years by testing and reviewing the latest technology available today from multiple manufacturers.  With the fast changing market in the printing industry - especially with digital technology - it is important to recognize there are many UV roller coating manufacturers and UV coaters to choose from.  You are welcome to contact our customer service department for a UV coater recommendation with your specific application in mind.  We have listed a few popular questions that you may find useful.

Q: How do I choose the right UV roller coating equipment for my needs?
A: There are many considerations when choosing production equipment.  Cost, support, quality, speed, and user friendliness are the most common concerns customers have.
Cost – UV Roller coating equipment is no different than other equipment you have purchased in the past.  The common saying “you get what you pay for” is a reasonable statement with production equipment.  The best way to determine how much to invest is to analyze your specific needs today with required needs in the future.   An important investment guideline is to purchase UV coater equipment that is manufactured to satisfy specific production requirements.   It can become costly and time consuming (down time) making repairs to equipment that was not intended for specific production expectations.
Support – Training your personnel on the equipment is important to assure a productive and safe start up.  There are a couple of ways to get hands on training.  1. Visit the vendor prior to purchase and coat a job.  2.  Request training upon installation of the equipment in your facility.  Production equipment will fail eventually.  Pick your supplier that has a reputation for good support.  Do they have wearable parts in stock?  Do they have knowledgeable personnel to make repairs?
Quality – Ultimately your customer is the most important person that can tell you if the quality is there or not.  Visit your vendor or send printed material that you would like to have processed and show it to your customer for approval.
Speed – Production speeds are determined by the specific equipment.  Off line coaters typically range from 1,000iph to 5,000iph for a sheet size 13” x 19”.  Many customers start out hand feeding at ~2,000iph.  When they require faster production they add an automatic feeder, sometimes called a “deep pile feeder,” which will more than double the speed of hand feeding.  Another popular way to increase production speed is to feed the sheet in a landscape format.  Be sure to take this into consideration when sizing equipment to your printing department whether it is an offset and or digital process.
User friendly – Most UV coaters are user friendly.  However it is important to receive training upon installation or prior to investing by visiting the vendor of your choice.  We recommend the same for automatic feeders and stackers.

Q: How do I choose a suitable substrate (printable materials) for UV coating?
A: Substrate selection is important when attempting to achieve optimal gloss levels.  A good quality coated stock will allow the UV coating to remain on the surface for optimal gloss.  Poorly coated substrate will allow the UV coating to dive or absorb into the substrate causing poor gloss levels with a splotchy look.  We recommend testing multiple substrates to determine best results.

Q: Which UV coating is best suited for my digital printer/copier?
A: Due to the number of manufacturers for digital printing and copying equipment along with the multiple production settings, we recommend you discuss your specific application with one of our technicians.  Please provide the equipment manufacturers name, model number, production settings, along with the substrate to be used.

Q: Can you use the same UV coating on any digital and offset printed substrate?
A: Unfortunately manufacturers have different methods applying the inks to the substrate.  They also use a variety of different inks or die systems.  This forces the UV coating manufacturers to formulate their chemistry in a specific way to gain the proper "printability" "flow out" and "adhesion" characteristics.  Upon analyzing your specific application we can guide you with the most suitable UV chemistry that is available today.  It is possible to use the same UV chemistry for both offset and digital.  However it is based on the type of equipment you have.

Q: Why use a UV coater instead of aqueous coating or varnishes?
A: The physical characteristics or the way the finished product looks is the biggest reason.  UV coatings have a higher gloss level over conventional (varnishes) or H2O (aqueous) based systems.  Abrasion or scuff resistance is considerably better.  This helps overcome USPS bounce backs due to address scuffing.  Chemical resistance is considerably better over the other said systems.  Good for products that are handled or may come into contact with liquids. (menus, post cards, business cards, etc.)

Q: Will UV coaters reduce my production speed?
A: UV coatings dry/cure in milliseconds.  The technology offers fast production with minimal drying space.

Q: I don't want to increase my "VOC" (Volatile Organic Compounds) output.  I want to become as "environmentally friendly" as possible.  How will using a UV coater impact my goal?
A: UV curable coatings for all practical purposes contain virtually no "VOC's".   When UV coatings are properly cured, the coating is considered a "Zero VOC" product and referred to as "Environmentally Friendly".  Many printing facilities, label, folding carton, commercial, publication, utilize this technology as a stepping stone to become more "environmentally friendly".

Q: Sometimes the coating looks different when I start the UV coater.  Why?
A: There are many reasons the UV coating may not look the same from one application to the next.  The two most common are: 
1 - Not mixing the chemistry thoroughly prior to use.  The UV chemistry must be mixed prior to use to achieve optimal results.  By not mixing the UV chemistry the components are not working together to produce a good flow, fast complete curing, and accomplishing adhesion to the substrate.  It also reduces the life of the chemistry and may create waste of the product.  Mixing the chemistry thoroughly can be done by hand for one to two minutes.  It is not recommended to use high speed mixers. 
2 - Temperatures outside of the normal range 70 - 84 degrees F.  If the chemistry is below 70 degrees it may become slow to flow causing "orange peel" less gloss with possible imperfections.  This issue can be overcome with a 5 gallon drum heater.  If the chemistry is above 82 degrees it may reduce the viscosity which may reduce the amount of chemistry transfer to the substrate.  The symptoms are less gloss, scuff resistance, possible splotchy look on marginally coated stocks.  Keep the chemistry in a controlled environment for optimal results.

National UV Supply Company
800 940 6887
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FAQs about UV Coaters, How They Work, and Their Benefits

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