Although UV coating became popular in the last 20 years, it’s also quickly falling out of favor with printers. Why? Because the numerous advantages of lamination continue to overpower its usability. Here, we discuss a few reasons as to why using laminate film is more sensible than UV coating.

  • UV coating doesn’t add to the textile strength of a folding carton, while laminate does add durability and strength to its structure. It can also run on slightly thinner board to get the same effect as UV coating, minimizing in other areas of the printing process.
  • Color retention can be a big challenge with coatings, including UV. A printer can achieve far better retention with laminate, and there are dozens of different finishes available in the laminate world — UV coating only offers 2-3.
  • The entire application process is different. Laminating only requires a quick warm-up and no real cleanup after the process. However, the process of UV coating can be smelly, messy, and require a full cleanup of the machine after every use.
  • UV coating leads to cracks when it’s folded, so most digital output uses laminate to deter from this reaction.
  • Using laminate film is generally considered more expensive than UV coating. However, in reality, the cost is less than a penny difference and you’re left with a higher-quality finished product for your client.
  • UV coating has a very low tolerance for handling scuffing and abrasions. Anything directly mailed or forced to travel in this packaging is often left in bad shape. Any contact with dust, dirt, grime, fingerprints, etc. easily gets left behind on the finish.
  • Finally, thinner sheets of print tend to curl badly with UV coating. There is, contrastingly, a non-curl laminate film option available (or the process itself can apply decurling pressure to flatten the sheets).