ACRYLITE® digital print
ACRYLITE® digital print
Can I print on acrylic sheet with my UV-curable flatbed printer?
Yes you can. We suggest using ACRYLITE® digital print acrylic sheet for printing with this type of printer. Many people like to use these printers with an acrylic substrate but find that those inks typically don’t adhere well to standard acrylic sheet. The ink does not get absorbed into the acrylic and needs a different way to stay adhered without flaking off. With ACRYLITE® digital print acrylic sheet, these inks adhere very well.
What benefits does ACRYLITE® digital print sheet provide for me?
Five Benefits Of Using ACRYLITE® Digital Print Acrylic Sheet
Digital printing is a modern method of production that has offered the industry new ways to create graphics that are flawless in their design. When looking to create eye-catching prints, choosing digital printing over more traditional ways of printing can provide exciting features and flexibility.
ACRYLITE® digital print acrylic sheet is specifically designed with this application in mind. Find out below the five benefits of using ACRYLITE® digital print acrylic sheet. We guarantee you will be satisfied when choosing this acrylic material as your substrate for digitally printed applications.
1. Enhanced Adhesion Properties
Printing on standard acrylic can be risky because the material is not formulated to promote ink adhesion. Sometimes, you can achieve what looks like a good print, but when post-printing steps such as routing are initiated, ink delamination can be the result.
To satisfy this concern, ACRYLITE® digital print acrylic sheet provides enhanced adhesion properties for UV curable inks used in today’s flatbed digital printers. It features a special coextruded printable layer on one side of the sheet that allows these inks to adhere extremely well.
2. Water-Clear Edge Color & Superior Optical Clarity Throughout
Some competitive materials have edge colors that have a tinted appearance. This can result in a color shift of the final print leading to an unsightly finished product. ACRYLITE® digital print acrylic sheet features a water-clear edge color which enhances the overall look of the print. Once the edges are polished, they can be beautifully exposed if a frame is not desired.
Additionally, the crystal-clarity throughout this material maximizes visual impact and allows for the colors within the print to pop with accuracy and brilliance.
3. Easy to Fabricate
This sheet can be easily fabricated using the same machining parameters and equipment that are recommended for use with ACRYLITE® premium acrylic sheet. Whether you want to saw-cut, rout, laser-cut, drill, edge finish, cement, or something else, this material will perform well.
In some instances better results can be obtained if the orientation of the printed surface is taken into account during fabrication. Follow our printing fabrication manual to ensure success during these processes.
4. Unique Masking Configuration
ACRYLITE® digital print acrylic sheet features low-static masking to prevent interference with the digital printing operation. White poly masking is on the printing side and clear poly masking is on the non-printing side. The non-printing side also has strip tape on it indicating to “print other side”. The use of clear poly masking on the non-printing side allows the user to view their final second-surface printed work through the protective clear poly and reduces the chance of damaging the surface.
5. Additional Colors & Properties Available
This material is available in both colorless and white to satisfy every need. The colorless material also can come with a mar resistant coating or non-glare surface to add extra protection and an even better looking view to your final print.
How does ACRYLITE® digital print sheet achieve ink adhesion?
ACRYLITE® digital print achieves ink adhesion through its special coextruded layer made exclusively for the purpose of providing good ink adhesion. Additionally, this material has been tested with leading digital UV flatbed printers to ensure a perfect print every time and passes the cross-hatch adhesion test as per ASTM procedure D3359.
Will the printable layer flake off from ACRYLITE® digital print acrylic?
No, this printable layer is coextruded and will not flake off or chip off the acrylic the way a coating might.
How can I tell if I have good ink adhesion?
Watch our product spotlight video to see how to test the ink adhesion on both non-digital acrylic and ACRYLITE® digital print acrylic. If you notice that your ink is chipping off or scraping off of a print on non-digital acrylic, you can safely assume that the adhesion is insufficient.
Can I perform fabrication steps on ACRYLITE® digital print just like standard acrylic?
Most fabrication steps, including saw-cutting, routing, laser-cutting, drilling, edge finishing, cementing, and buffing can be performed on ACRYLITE® digital print. Line-bending and thermoforming may also potentially be performed but this may compromise the appearance of the final result by thinning out the caplayer and will also affect the ink layer which may not be flexible enough to be thermoformed. We recommend that you test this in your application first. The primary fabrication step that we specifically recommend against is flame-polishing, since the flame will visually damage the printable surface. For additional information, refer to our tips on fabricating ACRYLITE® digital print.
What other versions of ACRYLITE® digital print are available?
ACRYLITE® digital print is also available in a P99 (non-glare on the non-printing side) version and in a translucent white version (color code WM730, analogous to our standard color WT030). These are available on a made-to-order basis; please contact us for minimum quantities and lead times.
My printer seems to print on standard acrylic just fine, do I really need digital print?
For better durability, we would still recommend using ACRYLITE® digital print. There may be some applications where printing on standard acrylic does not show any ink adhesion issues. For example, if the printed result is not subjected to post-printing operations (such as cutting or routing) and is protected from harm, then printing on standard acrylic might satisfy your needs. However, we have seen issues where a piece of standard acrylic was printed and “appeared” to work fine, but post-printing steps such as routing caused catastrophic delamination of the ink.
Is ACRYLITE® digital print sheet available to be hard-coated or markerboard-coated?
Yes, ACRYLITE® digital print can be hard-coated on the non-printing side. This provides mar and chemical resistance on the first-surface when the digital print is printed on the second-surface. This product is called ACRYLITE® digital print mar resistant. Similarly, ACRYLITE® digital print can be coated on the non-printing side with a markerboard coating. This allows the sheet to be used as a dry-erase board on the first-surface and printed on the second-surface – this product is called ACRYLITE® digital print markerboard.
Does ACRYLITE® digital print sheet have an edge color?
We make ACRYLITE® digital print sheet with a water-clear edge color that looks the same as standard acrylic. This allows for beautiful, exposed edges when polished. Some competitive materials have a tinted appearance that not only can look unsightly but can also result in a color shift of the final print. With ACRYLITE® digital print, this water-clear edge color will enhance the overall look of the print.
Is ACRYLITE® digital print an extruded or cast product?
ACRYLITE® digital print is an extruded product, providing tight thickness tolerances which will work better with flatbed printers. It is not available as a cast product. Cast sheet is also subject to potentially wide thickness variation within a single sheet, which would also likely produce inconsistent printed results.
I heard ACRYLITE® digital print sheet is provided in special moisture-control packaging, is this true?
Yes, ACRYLITE® digital print sheet is provided in special moisture-control packaging to keep absorption of moisture to a minimum. This packaging is essential because acrylic sheet can absorb moisture, and the two different surfaces of ACRYLITE® digital print (digital printing side and standard acrylic side) can lead to a differential rate of absorption. When this happens, the acrylic has the potential to begin to warp – this can lead to inconsistent printed results and potentially a print head strike.
What makes up the moisture-control packaging?
This moisture-control packaging is a double-layer of polyethylene overwrap with desiccant bags inside. The pallet has a yellow label with the instruction to keep the pallet sealed when not in use. With this packaging, the material is well protected to avoid moisture-related problems.
What kind of masking is used on ACRYLITE® digital print sheet?
We use a unique masking configuration that is low static, which can also help maintain the quality of your print. There's white poly masking on the printing side and clear poly masking on the non-printing side. Refer to the above question, 'How can I tell which side to print on?', for additional details.
How can I tell which side to print on?
ACRYLITE® digital print sheet has white poly masking on the printing side and clear poly masking on the non-printing side. The non-printing side also has strip tape on it indicating to “print other side”. The use of clear poly masking on the non-printing side allows you to view the final second-surface printed work through the protective clear poly and reduces the chance of damaging the surface.
Can I backlight my image?
Yes, you can absolutely backlight your image. Several factors can affect your result – the print density, number of printed layers, flooding, etc. Please consult with your printer manufacturer for guidance on this.
I have a lot of standard acrylic in stock, there’s no way for me to print on it with my UV-curable flatbed printer?
In this case, you would likely need to use a primer to get the ink to adhere to the standard acrylic. Note that priming can be a messy and time-consuming step, and there are also safety and environmental considerations. This can be completely avoided by using ACRYLITE® digital print sheet.
My prints are being affected by static electricity deflecting the ink droplets. Is there anything I can do to improve this?
This is not an uncommon issue when printing on all types of plastic. There are several actions that you can take after peeling the sheet to try to improve this situation (Simco-ion and Meech are among the manufacturers of this type of equipment):
- Make sure that your printer is properly grounded
- Use an ionizing air gun with your compressed air to blow ionized air across the sheet
- Add or use a built-in ionizing bar on your printer
- Wave a grounded anti-static rod/wand just over the sheet
- Gently wipe the sheet with a grounded anti-static brush or copper tinsel
- Wipe the sheet with an anti-static liquid cleaner such as ACRIFIX® AC1010 Acrylic Cleaner