Vacuum formable ink for UV-curable flatbed printers to mold three-dimensional signage Print

Five years ago the way you made digital 3-dimensional signage was to use an Oce Arizona T220 solvent ink printer with Sign-Tronic inks. Merely to be trained in this ink and printer cost more than two HP Designjet printers.

Today (in 2010, and since 2007), that solvent ink technology is no longer exhibited at trade shows. Last year you get the same and possibly better results from FlexForm UV-cured ink offered by Gandinnovations. But I have not seen this featured now that Agfa has taken over the remains of Gandinnovations.

Hexion Specialty Chemicals has also exhibited a thermo-formable UV ink. But Hexion ink division was disbanded two years ago.

Mimaki exhibited thermo-formed vacuum pressed UV inks but they can only create images one or two centimeters in 3-dimensional format. The Gandinnovations Jeti UV printers can do double or triple that.

The process is not really extruding the image, it is heat-forming it with a vacuum press.

FlexForm UV-curable wide-format printer inks
Gandinnovations FlexForm UV cured flatbed sample at ISA 2007.

FLAAR sees tremendous potential in this and would like to develop some possible projects for this new ink chemistry shortly. This is exactly the kind of research that we can do with corporate sponsorship. But clearly Hexion is not able to sponsor anything since they don't exist any more, and Gandinnovations is unlikely to sponsor any or many outside projects. So we are working on diverse other programs in the meantime.

FlexForm UV-curable ink with a Gandinnovations Jeti flatbed printer 3-dimensional signs with heat-formable (vacuum-formed)
Nicholas Hellmuth with the sample of Gandinnovations FlexForm 3D thermoforming
Samples of Gandinnovations FlexForm heat forming 3D

Most recently updated September 16, 2010.