Adhesion primer
3 min read

UV Ink Primers

What is UV ink primer, we will discuss this later.
Human ingenuity is for ever changing and advancing. With this change comes the creation of different materials and substrates. These substrates need decoration, printing or markings with printing inks and adhesives. Yet, this can become very challenging. This is because the printing ink or adhesives will not adhere onto the substrates. As a result, printing primers aid the printing ink and adhesives bond to the substrates.
UV inkjet primers are very vital especially when dealing with UV inkjet printers. The industrial and promotional products markets use UV flatbed printers because of the ability to print full color. However, the printing inks are limited to number of substrates they can adhere to.  This is where primers step in, to make it possible to print on many different substrates with UV inkjet inks. The primers also aid adhesives to bond to substrates.

What is a UV Ink Primer?

First, let’s define the term “primer”. According to Steve Smith  of in the article what is a primer, the word “primer” is derived form the Latin word primus, meaning first. Primer literally means the prime coat, or the first coat.

A UV ink primer is a coating applied to a part, prior to printing with an ink or bonding with an adhesive. All substrates prior to printing need to be cleaned to remove impurities. This is called pretreatment.  Examples of pretreatment include include Pyrosil®, plasma, and flame treatments. In summary, the function of a UV ink primer is to aid ink adhesion between the UV inkjet inks and the substrate. 

Check out our primers for printing inks and adhesives

Using UV Inkjet ink Primer

Printing on glass, stainless steel metals, and plastics is challenging. These substrates have a low surface energy (LSE).  To ensure permanent bonding between the ink and the substrates, methods such as flame treatment or priming are used. Both primers and flame treatment alter the surface structure of the substrate.
Flame treatment is a sustainable (green) technology. It is not only fast, but also reduces VOC.  Note, the oxidizing flame should be blue in color. It works by increasing the velocity of molecules on the surface of the substrate. This changes the surface tension, which in turn improves ink adhesion between the ink and substrate. However, this method is expensive.  The alternative is UV ink primers. Natron Primers aid the ink bonding and improving the surface finish of the substrate. Eg. Natron™ G1 Glass primer leaves a visually undetectable molecular coating on glass surface.

How to Apply a Primer? 

There are several types of Natron™ UV ink primers for different substrates. The primers are either sprayed on, or wiped onto a substrate.  For wipe on primers, we recommend using lint free towels or cloths to apply the primers.
On the other hand, spray on primers should be applied with a spray gun. The spray on primers are usually 2 part primers and require mixing prior to using them.  Additionally, it is important to consider the type of application method.  If using a automated systems make sure that you note the flash points for some primers which have low flash points when using flame pretreatment methods.

Superior ink adhesion is dictated by several factors such as the dyne levels of the ink and substrate, surface energy, coatings, and other bonding  characteristics.  The surface tension of the UV inkjet ink should be about 10 dynes less than the surface energy of the substrate. This is a general rule in the printing industry. Most UV inks have a range of 25-35 dyne. Therefore, to achieve outstanding print quality, the product has to have a surface energy between 35-45 dyne.

Natron™ Primer and pretreatment solutions

Boston Industrial Solutions chemist and engineering department has contentiously worked had to create innovative inks that bond to most substrates. In cases where out of the can ink will not work, we have developed cutting edge primers to aid any type of ink including UV inks bonding to challenging substrates. Natron™ G1 Glass primer for glass, is a breakthrough inkjet ink primer that optimizes ink adhesion on glassware, tiles, and many other substrates. This primer when wiped evenly onto glass, it creates a permanent bond between the ink and the substrate.  After the pre-treatment process, printed drinkware items can withstand multi industrial washes without image degradation.

Boston Industrial Solutions is continuously looking for innovative ways to improve ink adhesion onto substrates. If we cannot develop an ink that will adhere onto a product directly straight from the can, then we will develop innovative ways to make ink bond onto difficult to print substrates. 

It is important to read through the technical data files as well as do trials prior to printing.  We offer Free adhesion testing  to determine the best primer  and printing inks for your product. Our engineers and chemists have experience working with a many different substrates for over 40 years. Our goal is to improve ink adhesion and increase abrasion resistance. We are the keepers of color. Our goal is to help you to create vibrant, durable prints that last forever. 

Contact us  via email or phone. We are available 24/7 for you.  

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