With the potential to customize any product on the spot with unlimited colors in a single step, a UV printer can save you a huge amount of time, man-power, and, ultimately, money. But, as the saying goes, sometimes, “You have to spend money to make money.” For the small- to medium-sized business owner, a quality UV printer is a major investment. Some of the smaller models are available for just under $10K, ranging all the way up to $100K for larger format flatbed UV printers.
It’s important to first determine which substrates you need to decorate, the size capacity and print capabilities you require, and then find the right fit for your needs. You will also want to factor in the cost of consumables including annual parts replacement and ink, which could add up to a few thousand dollars per year. Many UV manufacturers offer the option to lease equipment instead of purchasing, which can be beneficial if you don’t have a lot of cash up front.
It may prove advantageous to your workflow to have a dedicated laptop loaded with the software needed to run the printer, including design applications for creating and editing artwork files, as well as print drivers and RIP software required to run the printer. Most UV printers are fairly compact and don’t require a huge amount of space, but you’ll want to make sure you have an area set aside in a clean, climate-controlled environment to keep your printer protected from humidity and dust. You’ll want to treat your UV printer more like a Ferrari in contrast to some of your other equipment, which may be more comparable to a sturdy off-road vehicle. Fortunately, there isn’t much other supportive equipment needed with UV printing, so you can quickly get up and running and on to decorating everything in sight.