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UV Coating: Packaging’s Hidden Gem

UV coating can be put in different categories. It can be part of a company’s list of add-ons, or it can take the form of a finishing coat.No matter how you look at it, UV coating is an attractive option that can add a touch of shine, elegance, and class to any product packaging.

What Is UV Coating?

UV stands for ultraviolet. This coating option is named such because it uses ultraviolet light to cure a clear liquid on the substrate. This process is done after printing. Furthermore, dedicated machines are used for this purpose. Before we head into the different types of UV coating, let’s take a brief look at the process of UV coating.

Uv Coating: How to Use?

We’ll start with the basics. Before you start, you have to get the substrate ready. The substrate is the surface where the coating will take effect. In this stage, clear liquid is applied to the substrate base using silkscreens or rollers for a uniform distribution. After this, a flatbed machine with UV lights polarizes and cures the liquid. That is done by using ultraviolet lamps. The clear liquid contains the following ingredients to ensure a strong bond with the packaging surface:
  • Polyethylene
  • Kaolinite
  • Carbonate
  • Calcium
UV coatings are visually impressive and water-resistant. They are also highly durable.

Difference Between UV Coating and Spot UV

Many packaging manufacturers offer both UV coating and spot UV as finishing options. The most significant difference between the two is that spot UV requires higher press speeds and more pressure to make the light reflect on the spot. You can also see a distinctive line with spot coating while touching the material. Furthermore, as its name suggests, spot UV is used to decorate specific packaging areas such as the logo or name. Spot UV helps certain design elements stand out from the rest of the packaging.

UV Coating: Where to Use?

UV coating is a versatile option used on various packaging surfaces. They can be found on the following:
  • Paper cartons
  • Cardboard boxes
  • Corrugated cardboard boxes
UV coating can be used on multiple types of packaging. However, it is ideal to use this coating with thick packaging materials. A typical example is using spot UV with rigid paperboard boxes. They can be printed with several different color combinations and help make the artwork pop. Thus, they are popular when making luxury product packaging. Furthermore, it is also used when you want a durable packaging solution.

Types Of UV Coating

Now that we have gone through the basics of UV coating, let’s look at some available options in different price ranges.
  • Matte UV
  • Gloss UV
  • Pearlescent UV
  • Orange Peel UV
Let’s see the unique features of these options.

Matte UV

This option is a low-cost option that offers a matte finish. This option has a low to medium sheen, making it ideal for luxury packaging. However, the downside is that it can be challenging to read the printing, and it is prone to fingerprints.

Gloss UV

This coating is the opposite of matte. It provides a high sheen effect that is ideal for making your product boxes stand out on retail shelves. Gloss coating has a smooth finish. Thus, it is easier to clean off compared to matte coating. Pro Tip: Overdoing gloss coating can be a bad thing. If too much gloss is used, the colors look faded. Hence, it’s advisable to use gloss coating in specific areas.

Pearlescent UV

Mica is added to the clear liquid that enables UV coating for this option. That helps provide an iridescent effect that helps product packaging stand out. The effect is subtle and used to elevate the look of product packaging. An example of this type of packaging is cosmetic packaging boxes.

Orange Peel UV

With this option, the liquid contains aluminum flakes. That creates a pearly sheen that helps make your product packaging look luxurious. Furthermore, this coating adds a textured finish. The bumps represent an orange peel, hence the name. However, this type of coating is also more expensive than other options.

Benefits And Drawbacks of Using UV Coating

We have talked about the different types of UV coatings. Now that you know all the options available let’s look at some benefits and drawbacks of choosing UV coating.

Pros

The following are some benefits of using UV coating:

Increased Visual Aesthetics

UV coating creates a striking finish, creating an aesthetic look for your product packaging. Furthermore, the coating is thin, so it does not alter the thickness or weight of your product packaging.

Protection

UV Coating can protect your product packaging from moisture and dirt. Thus, it can help your brand stay brand new for a more extended period. Furthermore, it also helps resist scratches and tears.

Quick Turnaround

In most cases, UV coating is a quick process. Thus, you can get the printed product faster than other options, such as matte lamination.

Cons

The following are some drawbacks of using UV coating:

Cost

As mentioned earlier, this option is more expensive than other printing options. However, the price will depend on the coating type that you choose. Ink Compatibility  UV printers are not as widely accepted as standard printers. Thus, you will have to invest in a new machine. Furthermore, the ink that is used has its limitations. Therefore, it is essential to talk with your label manufacturer before using UV coating.

Final Tips and Tricks

When incorporating UV coating in your packaging design, talking to your label manufacturer is essential. That is especially true if you are using a new coating option for the first time. Furthermore, you will need to provide your label manufacturer with a digital file of your product packaging design. Additionally, be aware of the number of coats you apply. Overdoing it can result in a negative effect. For instance, you might end up with a faded or dull-looking design. Thus, it is best to stick to the guidelines provided.

To Sum It Up

The coating is an excellent option for premium packaging that needs to stand out. It can increase visual aesthetics and protect product packaging from moisture, dirt, and scratches. However, this option is also more expensive compared to other printing methods available today. Alternatively, you can use other methods like matte lamination or color lamination. Feel free to consult with our experts at Plus Printers on what option best suits your product packaging.  

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