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Direct product decoration

Print decorating is used across many industries to give a variety of products greater animation. Find out more…

What is direct product decoration?

UV curable direct-to-product decoration is used to transform the plain, blank canvas of many manufactured items into visually appealing surfaces that display single or full colour graphics and designs; clearly identify brand names, trademarks, logos, and internal contents; promote and celebrate organizations and events; and provide text and symbolic guidance for use, care, and disposal.

Unlike labels and appliques which are generated in separate manufacturing processes and then physically applied to the exterior of finished goods, many decorating processes print directly onto an item’s surface. For more demanding applications that require greater chemical resistance and/or longer life, pre-printed and UV cured films and foils, as well as thermoformed UV printed plastic sheets, are seamlessly injection moulded directly into part structures.

Product decorators rely on a mix of UV printing and coating technologies to fulfil a wide range of decorating and performance needs including pad, screen, digital inkjet, dry offset, offset metal decorating, and indirect flexo, all of which can be equipped with GEW’s mercury arc, UV LED, and hybrid lamp designs that provide the ability to quickly swap between arc and LED curing technologies.

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UV curing benefits to direct product decoration

  • eliminates label stock inventory and facilitates quick design changes

  • eliminates long, energy-consuming drying tunnels and wicket ovens

  • negligible heat transfer to thermally sensitive parts

  • nesting, stacking, forming, packing, and shipping of decorated parts immediately following cure

  • fast machine speeds and cycle rates

  • instantly cures interdeck or in a single full cure station

  • superior lightfastness, weatherability, and chemical resistance of cured products

GEW product advantages

  • UV output suitable to fast machine speeds and cycle rates

  • complete and easy-to-integrate curing systems

  • low-profile UV LED curing systems facilitate straightforward interdeck integration

  • integral shutters for mercury lampheads

  • remote performance monitoring and troubleshooting of all internet connected lamps

  • mercury lamp and LED cassettes removed from casings in seconds with Allen key

Sheetfed offset metal decorating

Metal decorating presses create text and images on large sheets of metal by offsetting high viscosity paste inks using a series of rollers, aluminium printing plates, and transfer blankets. Each colour is applied and cured individually using a dedicated print deck and interdeck curing lamp. Additional lamps are installed after the varnish coater and at the end of press (EOP). Sheets are stacked as they exit the decorator and are immediately ready for further processing.

UV metal decorating enables high quality, durable graphics and text to be applied at press speeds that can exceed 8000 sheets per hour. The use of UV curing eliminates wicket ovens, decreases processing time, reduces overall footprint, and provides significant energy savings to sheet metal decorators.

Relevant GEW products for this application:

Alternatively, download our Metal Decorating brochure to find out more:

Dry offset container decorating

In dry offset container decorating, plastic and metal parts are printed using high viscosity paste inks, a series of rollers, aluminium plates, and a common rubber transfer blanket. Each colour is individually printed to the blanket as the blanket indexes to each print deck. Full-colour images are then offset from the transfer blanket directly to the part being decorated in a single step. Cure happens as cylindrical parts rotate, or as flat parts pass linearly, in front of a UV curing system. With dry offset printing, no fountain solution is necessary.

Dry offset presses typically consist of a single UV curing lamp located in the indexing station immediately following the full colour blanket offset station. Occasionally UV curing lamps are also installed after a first pass of white ink. Decorator speeds vary based on container size with larger pails run at speeds of 10 pieces per minute, smaller yogurt cups exceeding 600 pieces per minute, and caps printed in a range of quantities based on the number of lanes in the cap decorator.

Relevant GEW products for this application:

Screen print product decorating

Screen printing for product decoration involves transferring a single ink colour through a mesh screen using a squeegee. A dedicated screen per colour permits the desired portion of text and graphics to pass through to the item being printed. One colour at a time is individually printed to the part as the part indexes in front of each print station.

A UV curing system is installed after each colour, and cure happens as the parts pass in front of the UV lamphead. Screen decorators are typically arranged in an in-line or carousel configuration.

Relevant GEW products for this application:

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Other product decorating applications

In addition to dry offset, screen, and sheetfed offset metal decorating, GEW’s mercury arc, UV LED, and hybrid curing solutions are easily integrated into other processes, including:

  • letterpress and waterless offset

  • pad

  • screen

  • indirect flexo

  • UV digital inkjet

  • screen and web offset labels for IML-IMD-IME

  • flexo PS applied labels

GEW will be pleased to assist your evaluation and decision-making process to ensure that the optimal solution is matched to your application, process, and integration needs. Please contact our experienced team for guidance on product selection. We can deliver the level of system integration experience you require.

Relevant GEW products for this application:

Speak directly to a sales representative

If you are unsure about which UV curing system best suits your requirements, we are here to help. Please contact one of our sales representatives directly.

David Lyus

Specialist UV Sales, UK:
David Lyus
International Sales Manager

T: +44 (0) 7713 085 381

Email David directly

Jennifer Heathcote

Specialist UV Sales, Americas:
Jennifer Heathcote
Business Development Manager

T: +1 440 381 5606

Email Jennifer directly