The clear ink capability of the VersaUV® line generates a lot of excitement among people doing package prototyping, short-run labels and specialty printing, since it allows them to produce results nearly identical to prints made on commercial presses at a fraction of the cost. Besides allowing for different finishes, such as matte and gloss, clear ink is also popular for creating special effects like embossing and textures. This week’s Friday Fare will cover a couple of lesser-known uses for clear ink, as well as the best way to configure VersaWorks® for those applications.
Improve ink adhesion with a clear undercoat
One of the greatest advantages of UV ink is its compatibility with a wide variety of substrates. Unlike solvent or water-based inks that react with the surface or get absorbed by the coating, UV ink sits on the surface and bonds to it just like an adhesive. A number of factors, including the finish and composition of the surface and the amount of ink being used, can affect the strength of this bonding. In some cases, the more ink you use, the better the adhesion, since the contact area between the ink and the surface is bigger. We have found that applying a clear undercoat can significantly improve ink adhesion on certain substrates, such as aluminum and polyurethane. So, the next time you are up against an ink adhesion issue, try printing a layer of matte varnish first and then print the color image on top. If this works, it may still be a better proposition than applying primers manually.
Create a more natural textured image
The Roland Texture Library allows VersaUV users to choose from more than 70 unique patterns and textures – all printed by layering clear ink. You can also use a grayscale image as texture data to create some truly remarkable wood or stone patterns. In some cases, printing CMYK first, followed by the pattern with a clear ink, may not produce the expected results. This is because of the glossy effect that clear ink will always produce. Additionally, because clear ink isn’t completely transparent, it can slightly affect the underlying color. If you want to keep the normal matte look of the CMYK print and still get the texture effect, you can simply print the texture first (using the clear ink) and then put the color image on top. This versatility is praised by many graphic designers, as it allows them to explore multiple design options before going into production.
Printing clear ink and a color image at the same time
If your texture requires printing multiple layers of clear ink, the best way to accomplish this is printing the clear ink as a separate job using the overprint feature. If you want to print a single layer of clear coat on top of the color image, VersaWorks offers the media called “Generic with Special Effects,” which includes modes to print CMYK and Matte Varnish in a single pass. What’s missing is a way to print Matte Varnish first and then CMYK. Can you do that? Yes, you can! Just follow the steps below to unlock the MatteVarnish > CMYK mode in VersaWorks:
(a) Open Media Explorer in VersaWorks and select the media “Generic with Special Effects.”
(b) Click on “Copy Media” and enter a new name for the media.
(c) Select the media you just created in the previous step.
(d) Uncheck the option “Hide non-recommended modes.”
(e) Click on the box next to the modes named “MatteVarnish > CMYK” to make these modes available.
(f) Close Media Explorer and open “Job or Queue Settings.” The new modes will be available for selection when the new media is selected.
Group Product Manager – UV, Engraving and 3D Products