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February 19, 2018

Clear solutions for printing on glass

On a deserted island far away, the only solution for a shipwrecked sailor was to put a message into a bottle in the hope of summoning a rescuer. Today, messages can be put onto bottles and other glass surfaces using inkjet printing.

Anyone who has tried to write on a glass surface knows it’s no easy task. Pencil, pen, felt-tip marker, and many other methods simply don’t work.

Thankfully, there are now various methods for printing stunning designs on glass using inkjet technology.

Inkjet printing on glass without using primer

Glass bottles can easily be printed on utilizing UV inkjet printing technology.

This often-used method involves applying a primer coating on the glass surface. Most inks on the market, including inks from Kao Collins, will adhere to the glass with a primer base coat. This method is a viable solution for companies printing on a variety of substrates that don’t want to change out inks in the printers.

Whether it is ink or paint, chemists prefer the certainty of using primers. But that’s not the case at Kao Collins.

A solution that doesn’t need a primer is the “holy grail” of inkjet printing on glass. Kao Collins developed a unique ink that doesn’t require a primer. Their ink, used in piezo print systems, is a formulation for ultraviolet (UV) ink cured with a mercury arc lamp.

The Kao Collins proprietary UV ink reacts to a broader spectrum of light compared to inks requiring LED lamps for curing. This wider spectrum gives the chemist more flexibility for choosing photo initiators that work to harden the ink under the light without a primer base.

The ink is able to cure beyond its exposure to the mercury arc light. Once the molecules in the ink are excited under the light, they continue reacting — and hardening.

Choose the glass printing solution that works best for you

The ink that you ultimately decide to use is a business decision. Using inks without primers makes sense for printers who can readily dedicate a printer using ink and UV curing for printing on glass.

As with paper, or many other printing surfaces, all glass is not the same. Moreover, one side of the glass surface is best for printing. For that reason, it’s important to work closely with the Kao Collins team to ensure that you get the best results.

Printing on glass is becoming increasingly popular. It brings with it a higher design aesthetic compared to an adhesive product. Glass signs and wall-size room dividers, for example, can be printed on large-format inkjet printers.

Whether you’re using the primer and ink solution for printing on glass or Kao Collins proprietary UV ink, the process is more cost effective than screen printing and many other methods.


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