/ Could Thermoform be the Next Big Thing Following 3-D?

Far from dead, print is everywhere, from traditionally flat brochures and billboards, to dimensionally different signage, such as those of chain restaurants and auto dealerships. And everywhere you look printing is undergoing a revolution, from 3D printers to the latest high-tech addition to the market: UV thermoforming inks. Creating dimensional signage, POP materials, and more that were once part of a long and painstaking creation process, such projects are now printable quickly and far more inexpensively thanks to the invent of stretchable, UV thermoforming inks. Could this be the next revolution in the printing market?


Photo credit: http://www.printingnews.com

From Complex to Cookie-Cutter

UV thermoforming inks are revolutionizing the dimensional signage market. Vacuum formed, they transcend the previously laborious process of dimensional signage creation, producing signs in just minutes, compared to the several hours of skilled handiwork once necessary to render the signs. Disruptive, it’s the first technology to transform this segment of the market in 50-years.

Close up print photo

photo credit: http://industrialprintmagazine.com/

A Wide Range of Additional Applications

Beyond chain restaurant and dealership signage, UV thermoforming inks are expanding to encompass applications including custom products, miniscule runs, and variable data applications. Signs, POP displays, auto interiors, vending and gaming machine signage, tactile globes and maps, and even personalized briefcases and clothing are just a few of UV thermoform printing’s wide-ranging potential applications. Flexible and fast, targeted applications with multiple revisions cost far less with digital UV thermoform printing options, making production available at increasingly affordable prices. This ability to quickly and easily apply artwork and designs to create the forms is opening up thermoform printing to a much wider array of industries than that of dimensional signage.

Learning Curve

Once a skilled art form, this is not to say UV thermoform printing is not without its challenges. Print shop expertise still remains integral to successful thermoform printing results. Color can be a complication, requiring a variation from common printing profiles and a bit of trial-and-error and, with shades and hues appearing darker prior to stretching.  Setting up the molds correctly is integral to preventing distortion. Because the print begins as a flat piece, which is later molded to the correct shape, software (and of course, experience), becomes integral to distorting the image ‘just so’ to ensure correct placement once the final shape is created. There are even rumors of looking to 3D printing for the creation of thermoforming molds, through implementation of this process remains unseen.


Are you ready to stretch your imagination? Learn more about new technologies available for revolutionizing your upcoming map printing project. Contact 1Vision today.

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Could Thermoform be the Next Big Thing Following 3-D?


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