Mimaki will be making a new ink available in Summer 2016. Mimaki LUS-350 is a unique, stretchable ink suitable for a wide range of thermoforming applications, especially those that require "exceptional hardness and durability" such as automotive parts. Mimaki LUS-350 ink is compatible with the Mimaki UJF-7151plus and JFX200-2513 printers and will be available in CMYK, white and a unique clear ink.
The new ink is set to change the way vacuum moulded, or thermoformed applications are created, says Mimaki. With its ability to bring the benefits of digital printing to this market sector, it addresses the requirement for fast turnaround, short-run moulded objects with "exceptional" graphic quality. Up until now, it was necessary for objects to be formed prior to the images being applied manually or by screen printing, which is a time-consuming and expensive process. This new ink technology allows thermoformed objects to be imaged before forming, using Mimaki digital printers running inks that will not crack or otherwise be damaged during the heat-based forming process. This process will provide a "beautiful" finish for a wide range of applications such as car parts, mock-ups, moulded signs and more.
Mimaki LUS-350 ink will stretch up to 350 per cent when heated to between 120 deg.C and 200 deg.C. After cooling to room temperature, the ink's rigidity is restored, while securely adhering to the moulded product without cracking or peeling. Images are initially printed on flat substrates using specialised imaging software, and then formed into the desired shape using vacuum, thermoforming or other moulding techniques.
Mimaki’s LUS-350 clear ink is also unique in the market, adding texture or a glossy finish that can’t be achieved with coloured ink alone.