Until a few years ago, printing lenticular images was predominantly done by specialized companies printing the images on paper and laminating to a lenticular plastic sheet. The evolution of UV printing increased the use of sheet fed offset presses, printing volume productions direct to the backside of the lens. However, with emerging new technologies like digital presses and high resolution inkjet solutions, printing high quality lenticular images is becoming more accessible, even for small quantities. Depending on the application, size and desired effect, different printing techniques can be used in order to produce lenticular images.
Illustrated with a short video, we will give you a short explanation about the different current printing solutions.
Offset sheet fed printing
Offset is the mainstream solution for high quality printing of lenticular images. This printing technique is well suited for small to medium print runs in a variety of different sizes, ranging from postcards to big posters. The choice of the inks will depend on the drying system, but UV curing systems using special UV inks are commonly used for printing lenticular sheets. Some ink suppliers can be found on this links page.
During IPEX 2010, KBA Metroprint was demonstrating lenticular print on the Genius 52 UV press.
See here the images of the demo:
Offset web printing
Another technique is offset web printing. Printing and print quality is similar to a sheet fed offset press, but on a web press the printing material is supplied on a roll. This printing technique is well suited for medium to large print runs in predominantly small sizes. The majority of these presses use inline UV curing.
DI presses are also well suited for printing lenticular images. Thanks to the on-press plate imaging, registration is very accurate. Depending of the drying system installed on your DI (infrared or UV) you’ll need to select the right inks for perfect adherence on the lenticular plastic sheet. In general, lenticular sheets won’t require any “precoating” to be printed on a DI press (Presstek, Ryobi, Kodak, …)
Digital press printing
Although the print quality of digital presses is continually improving, there are still some issues with screening and sometimes with the high temperatures involved in producing digital prints. Especially the latter makes an accurate registration extremely difficult.
High resolution inkjet printing
Recent new developments in the large format and flatbed printing market have led to tremendous quality improvements. These high resolution printers are therefore very well suited for lenticular printing. These developments, combined with special lenticular sheets and the versatility of fast drying UV inks makes direct-to-lens flatbed lenticular printing an interesting option for many projects.
Can screen printing be used to produce lenticular images?
Lenticular printing is a HIGH RESOLUTION process as the lenticular sheet is magnifying the data that is printed to the backside of the lens. Unfortunately, screen printing does not allow the resolution required for a good quality. Printing at high resolutions like 400 LPI or even more, is simply impossible with the current screen printing technology.
Lenticular technology :
If you have more questions about lenticular please check www.dplenticular.com