Adam Batting, Technical Manager, FUJIFILM Speciality Ink Systems Ltd. shared his views on UV Screen printing segment and
India has always been an exciting market for Screen Printing business. In the last decade, where Screen printing was predominantly carried out by manual printing processes, Indian Screen printers have come a long way since then. Now there is an abundance of semi-automatic and automatic Screen printing machines and Screen printers have their own Screen making setup. There are better Screens and Squeegees available in the market and recent introduction of UV Screen ink technology is proving to be a quantum leap forward for Indian Screen printing industry.
During my stint in India, I had the opportunity to visit many customers in Pune, Mumbai, Coimbatore and Tirupur and I could see a visible shift towards quality and a wide ink portfolio offering to clients. But there were apprehensions as well. Indian Screen printers often asked me if inkjet printing is an upcoming threat to the dominance of Screen printing in Indian market.
We have seen just recently that digital printing has emerged as a new technology for textile printing applications. Digital textile printing is a growing market and will continue to grow as a viable option for textile Screen printing. It is no secret that the future of screen printing is moving toward digitalization with greater speed and having followed Indian Screen printing market closely, I can say that inkjet printing is gaining good ground in India but I feel versatility that Screen printing offers, makes it very difficult to replace.
Screen printing is a fantastic technology that is used by many industries with so many old, new and yet to be discovered applications. It can be used to print on a wide variety of substrates, including paper, paperboard, plastics, glass, metals, fabrics, and many other materials. For many years in India, Screen printing has been a reliable and cost-effective technology for Graphic printing applications but now it has expanded into various other industrial segments like Membrane switches, Vehicle graphics, Autodials, Packaging, Garment and non Garment. The market is expected to grow further as new technologies like UV Screen printing evolve further for printing applications.
UV Screen printing has been growing strongly in Europe and in recent years, India has also shown rapid transition in this field. I believe, there is a strong growth opportunity in Indian market for UV curing products. Instant curing properties of UV curing ink have made Screen printing operations competitive with other printing technologies. UV curing technology is turning out to be a massive success in India where production speed is a critical criteria. These inks can make a big difference to the speed and efficiency of conventional print operations. When printing multicolor jobs, the second color can be printed almost immediately. Some new high-production presses can print several colors at once by passing prints through intermediate UV curing stages. Prints can be handled and packed for shipping the minute they emerge from the curing unit. No waiting around for prints to dry, no storage racks to hold drying substrate, and no bulky heat-drying equipment, UV curing inks can make a big difference to the speed and efficiency of conventional print operations.
Apart from that, when we compare the advantages of UV-curable inks, they are indeed more environmentally friendly than conventional solvent based Screen printing inks. A Screen printing operation that converts to UV inks can reduce its air-borne emissions dramatically.
Another big advantage of UV inks is that they don’t dry in the screen. Air-dry inks continue to increase in viscosity as you use them because the solvents in them continue to evaporate. UV inks do not increase in viscosity. The result is you don’t have to shut down in the middle of a production run to clean your screen
Our team at Fujifilm Sericol India has been constantly helping many Screen printers keeping up with new technologies like UV screen printing. For many years, our state of the art colour matching lab and R& D center has been a driving force behind reliable and efficient Screen printing ink delivery for various segments.
I must also add that our Indian customers have also played a vital role in our technological innovation. New customer requirements and feedbacks have constantly driven us to deliver competitive technologies because of which we are now launching next generation of UV curing ink in Indian market. The patented Smart UV ink, which we launched in Screen Print India expo 2016, comes with high gloss and longer outdoor life apart from all the other benefits of UV inks. We hope to set a new benchmark in UV screen printing segment with this new addition.
I have a positive outlook for India and I firmly believe Screen printing will co-exist with other print technologies in the near future. Technologies will improve which will provide a seamless process improvements for vast Indian Screen printing segments.