Different Types of Inks for Large Format Printers

Posted by m1 blogger on 8/27/2014 to Printing Knowledge

Ink technology is a vital parameter to consider while choosing large format printers and also ink is a substantial cost center for the print process. As the number of applications for large format graphics has grown remarkably, the print manufacturers and print providers have kept the pressure on ink manufacturers to develop new formulations that enhance excellence, stability, performance and price.

Listed below are different types of inks for large format printers:

§         Solvent Inks:
Solvent inks are not water based and contain pigments rather than dyes. The core component of solvent inks is volatile organic compounds (VOC’s). The major benefit of solvent inks is that they are relatively economical. Solvent inks are ideal for printing on flexible, un-coated vinyl substrates which are used to produce billboards, vehicle graphics, and banners. They provide exceptional stability in UV light. Solvent inks require good ventilation system to eradicate the emitted VOC’s.

§         Aqueous Inks:
Aqueous refers to the liquid that holds the colorant “Water”. Water based inks come in two forms:
Ø      Dye
Ø      Pigment (UV).
Dye Inks: Dye inks are devised for maximum brightness and color saturation. The colorant size in dye inks is minuscule, allowing a very small dot size which permits detailed images with smooth tones. However dye inks are water soluble and will fade in UV light. They are best suited for short term use or indoor display. It is advisable to use them where image quality and vivid colors are essential.
Pigment (UV) Inks: Pigment Inks are more stable than dye inks when exposed to UV light. They have an archival print life. They are amazing for window displays and last longer if they are accentuated with a laminate or UV spray protector.

§         Dye Sublimation inks:  Two types of dye sublimation inks can be found in the market. The most popular one is aqueous dye sublimation ink for desktop and large format printer’s use. The other one is solvent dye sublimation ink that can be used in Spectra and Konica print head large format printers.

§         Latex Inks: This is the latest and most versatile ink technology. Latex inks are odorless, water based, solvent free and eco-friendly. They deliver effervescent and stunning images that last for an indefinite period, without being liable to fading or flaking. The water-based inks are non-flammable and non-explosive and they do not require hazard warning labels and does not include hazardous air pollutants. 

§        UV cured Inks: These inks can be applied to extensive range of un-coated substrates. The most interesting part of UV cured inks is that they “dry” as soon as they are cured. The resulting prints are water-resistant, imprinted & vibrant. However, they are expensive. 

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