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We Look at the Benefits of UV Coating Vs Liquid Lamination

Liquid lamination is a term known throughout the printing industry – designed to protect those all-important graphics that have just been applied to a client’s project. However, costs and the process does have its limitations on certain materials, so how does it compare to the comparatively new, UV cured protective coatings?

Benefits of a UV Protected Coating

The process of UV coating is not that dis-similar to liquid lamination, but it is ultimately a two-step process (although it all happens in a single pass). At first the base material, or print to be protected, is sprayed with a curable protective coat by reciprocal spray arm to ensure a perfectly even and flat surface. Once sprayed the material then continues through the machine where it is cured via lamps which emit UV energy onto the coating, forcing it to then adhere to the printed surface.

This process has many benefits over similar coatings, including:

  • At its most richest, the gloss on a UV coating is like no other – making dark colours have a near ‘wet-look’ appearance.
  • Rigid materials up to 25mm and even thicker can be coated in a single pass and without any issues.
  • Being UV cured, it then protects from UV light – ensuring prints stay true to colour, for longer.
  • Abrasion resistant, no other process will protect a base material or print to the same level as UV cured hard coat.
  • As the energy is UV and not heat dried, nearly all plastics can be coated without risk of distortion.
  • Finishes can be high gloss, matt and even finished with an anti-bacterial coating.
  • UV coating machines tend to be much larger than liquid lamination and sheets of 6 x 2 metres can be protected in a single pass.

The wide range of uses and applications make UV coating a technology that whilst isn’t brand new, has stood the test of time and will no doubt continued to be used for many years to come.

Benefits of Liquid Lamination

The original protection for prints, whilst the norm tended to be solvent-based varnishes, these are now in-frequently used in comparison to other coatings due to industry advances. The most ‘pure’ type of liquid lamination is aqueous-based coatings which is poured onto the material and then pressed to finish.

The laminate material itself will hold all of the protective properties including any UV protection as well as the finish (gloss or matt). So the type of laminate you buy will always have a large impact on the finished quality. This can also lead to a slightly uneven finish due to the process and application.

Benefits of Liquid Lamination Coatings:

  • Perfect for flexible graphics and media such as vinyl.
  • Cheap application, including self – can be applied via brush, roller, spray or machine.
  • As it produces a seal, can be used on almost any material without worry of adhesion.

When it comes to protecting materials and prints, both liquid lamination and UV cured coatings have their place. We specialise in UV cured coatings due to such a large majority of our printed work being rigid plastics, however liquid lamination can have some benefits for flexible and paper based materials.

For more information onlarge format printing or to request samples please contact us on 0845 643 5175, email or contact us using the form below.

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