Solvent Printing vs UV Printing

Understanding Solvent vs UV printing

UV printing is the current buzzword of the printing industry. Many have heard the term but few consumers know what it entails. Below you will find an introduction to the differences between older solvent-based technology and the current UV systems now available.

Inkjet printing, desktop publishing, and large format prints – have previously used solvent-based technology to adhere ink to substrate. The process entails mixing pigment and a solvent to create liquid ink. The printer head then transfers the liquid onto a substrate, as the solvent evaporates a hard layer of ink remains.  In principal, watercolor paint works the same way. While water used to dissolve paints is harmless industrial solvents for printing are extremely toxic. To ensure the safety of employees and customers at a printing facility, complex ventilation systems must be installed to remove and capture hazardous airborne chemicals.

UV stands for Ultra Violet. The inks in UV printing do not dry but are cured by intense blast of ultra violet light. Many times more powerful than sunlight, UV lamps move back and forth with every pass of the printer head instantaneously fixing the printed image. By removing solvents from the process, virtually all dangers for the operator are removed with the exception of accidental sunburn :).

As printing technology evolves UV printing is fast becoming the new industry standard.  Because there are no solvents used this system produces no dangerous VOC’s (Volatile Organic Compounds), requires no ventilation, has a higher percentage of recyclable content, and cuts cost because of reduced drying time. Duggal has currently has 6 large format UV printers including the first of its kind in the US Durst 16 foot printer. To learn more about the eco-friendly aspects withUV printing check out this article.

Differences in quality for UV and solvent processes are also important to consider. Research and Development for new technology now revolves almost exclusively around UV printers. Older solvent machines have reached their technological pinnacle as the rearguard passes them by. UV technology offers sharper images, greater detail, wider color ranges, faster and safer printing. On every front UV technology is matching and in many accounts surpassing existing technology.


  1. Hi! Thanks very much for the info on UV printers. I am looking to buy a printer and wasn’t sure what type of printer to purchase.
    Your article was very informative. I appreciate your expertise. Kim

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  3. We offer G7 quality UV printing on all our graphics, the process is amazing, the images and colors are as close to the human eye as is possible. I like your article, thanks for spreading the good news.

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