Printing on Aluminum

Printing on Aluminum


Printing on Aluminum

Aluminum (Alucobond) is know for being durable against most weather conditions and lightweight. It is 3mm thick and suited for photos and signs, indoors and outdoors.

We offer two kinds of aluminum:

The brushed aluminum is just that – every print (whether color or B/W) reveals the brushed aluminum texture, providing each photo a classic, modern and prestigious look.

Standard aluminum (Alucobond) comes in various colors, enabling us to use white ink on any color that is not white. For example: If you want to use red aluminum (Alucobond), we can use white UV ink to print on it.

The print project is done on an HP Scitex printer, 162 cm wide and of unlimited length. The print project uses six colors, or four when using white.

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Printing on Aluminum

How should I apply the photo to aluminum – Sublimation, UV printing or digital metallography? 

Print technology selection:

There are several technologies for applying a full color photo to aluminum: 

  • UV printing on metal 
  • Sublimation printing 
  • Metallography 
  • AluPrint digital metallography

 How to avoid mistakes when selecting an aluminum printing method? This article will explain. 

Sublimation on Aluminum:

Actually a process of printing on special paper and then transferring the photo to an aluminum surface using a heat roller. Colortone and Gruver Tone technologies, presented by European colleagues, can be grouped in the same category.

But you cannot take an ordinary aluminum sheet and just print a photo on it. The aluminum surface must be sublimated with a special polymer that absorbs the color. Polymer sublimation is industrially performed at the factory. Therefore, it is impossible to print on this metal alone.


  • The image is sensitive to external effects and it fade rather rapidly under UV radiation. 
  • The result is very unclear and often slightly blurred. 
  • Limited sheet thickness and dimensions: 0.5x300x600mm.
  • Using this technology, printing with over 4 colors will always be more problematic.
  • Production takes preparation, a factor that is not practical for small quantity projects. 


  • On the bright side, it is indeed the least expensive printing option. It is often used to produce plaques for cups, awards, badges, advertising signs or indoor spaces.
  • Several years ago, the advantages of sublimation were apparent in small prints and color photos, as compared to intaglio printing.
  • An undeniable advantage is the ability to print micro-fonts (smaller than 1mm) 
  • Excellent photo durability against chemical, mechanical and atmospheric factors.

About the Technology:

Metallography and Alumophoto:

Here, we relate to classic metallography.

UV printing on aluminum:

Digital printing is widely used for UV printing on aluminum for souvenirs and gifts. It involves directly printing UF ink on the aluminum sheet. Print stability depends on the metal surface – the ink adheres better to matte surfaces than to glossy surfaces. An initial layer of primer is required to ensure better paint adhesion to the surface. 


  • The image is somewhat sensitive to external factors, like weather. 
  • UV printing on aluminum is used mainly for decorative purposes. Significantly durable against mechanical pressure.
  • Requires an initial layer of primer.


The ability to print white on metal, which is not possible with sublimation and intaglio printing.

A photo can be printed on almost every kind of metal – aluminum, steel, brass.

Technology diversity – In addition to printing on metal, this printer is responsible for printing on almost all souvenir products. 

Digital Metallography – Digital printing on metal        

With the introduction of printers for printing on aluminum, all disadvantages of classic metallography, such as the limited number of colors and the need for prior production, disappeared. 

  1. Just place a metal sheet on the printer table and press a button.
  2. Printing speed – Very short printing time.
  3. Very high printing resolution (up to 2280×5760). 
  4. The photo is not sensitive to acids, alcohol and oils.
  5. The print is highly durable in aggressive surroundings and various weather conditions.