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What are the advantages and disadvantages of UV coating?

Answered by Suzanne Morgan

What is UV coating? What are the advantages and disadvantages?

Ultraviolet coating, more popularly called UV coating, is a plastic liquid coating that is cured by ultraviolet light. The big advantage to UV coating is that it offers more protection to a printed piece than varnish or aqueous coating. The application is great for book covers or print products that will get some wear. This technique is usually more expensive because it is performed offline, with the exception of limited online web use. It is available in either a matte or gloss finish and can be flood or spot coated. If spot coated, the process is usually done by screen printing.

Disadvantages & tips:

  • UV may not "pop" as much as aqueous or film laminations.

  • Avoid UV coating print jobs that use Reflex Blue, PMS Purple, or Rhodamine Red inks at all possible costs. The chemical properties in those inks cause a color change once UV coating is applied -- often not showing up until days after the job was coated!

  • You can't foil stamp over UV coating. You can, however, stamp first and then UV coat.

  • You can only UV coat on coated paper stocks.

  • Be sure that your printer uses wax-free printing inks. Your printer should also avoid press powders, because the powder becomes magnified and shows as a flaw when UV coated.

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