First of all we must be sure of what is exactly an SUV printer…
In general terms we can say that SUV printers are sort of a combination of a solvent and a UV printer. SUV printers have benefits from both technologies: the flexibility of solvent printing with the durability of UV cured inks.
If we talk about qualities of the solvent ink is that they are relatively cheaper and get better results on flexible surfaces, because they penetrate the media hence they don’t crack as easily. While on the other hand, UV curable inks adhere to a greater number of substrates but stay on the surface, which is why they are mainly used in rigid media and last longer.
Let’s talk about the pioneers in this technology…
Mimaki exhibited the first prototype of an SUV (solvent UV-curable ink) at FESPA 2012. A year later, other three distributors exhibited add-on curing units, allowing to turn most Epson DX print headed eco-solvent printers into a UV-cured printer. By the end of the year, at SGIA 2013, two more companies exhibited SUV ink printers: Graphics One and Global Imaging, Inc. This printer was built with the same base as the latex printer JV400 LX.
• Imas Grafica
• Superwide Solutions
These three companies reportedly offer the same kind of ink that Mimaki uses. The difference is that the Mimaki version is brewed for Ricoh printheads; the add-on version is made for Epson DX printheads. The ink for both head types naturally requires a slightly different recipe for each printhead technology. Plus, Mimaki has its curing system integrated, so everything that the special SUV ink needs is already included within the printer structure.
Another fact is that Colorific has developed a new ink that will allow large format printers to work in a more environmentally friendly way, in addition to printing with UV. There are up to six colors – CMYK plus light cyan and light magenta. But instead of creating a specific printer for their inks, Colorific has chosen to adapt existing solvent printers such as Mimaki, Mutoh and Roland, and add a fluorescent lighting unit, called lightbar, placed at the front to activate the curing UV system.
Fujifilm Vybrant F1600
In 2014 the Vybrant F1600 was presented by Fujifilm, a 1.6m-wide device based on Mimaki’s JV400-160SUV, but featuring Fujifilm’s own ink system and curing technology.
The 1,620 mm, four-color, roll-to-roll printer at its launch was aimed at the signage industry using Fujifilm’s new FUZE ink technology, this was the first printer to combine a UV-curable component with a water-based solvent.
Fujifilm has been dedicated to manufacturing UV-curing equipment, although with this new product roll printing will have a more important role in the injection of ink and to do it effectively, it must have the correct ink characteristics and be clear that each of them has a special function
Advantages and comparisons
On this chart you can see a comparison between latex and SUV ink
The main disadvantage of this type of inks is the cost, SUV inks tend to be much more expensive than solvent inks reaching prices similar to UV inks. However, as also happens in the latter, the consumption of ink used is much lower.