Ink for Wide Format Digital Printing - Sept 2010 | Sign Update Feature | Table
 

Ink for Wide Format Digital Printing - Sept 2010

Water based digital ink alternatives provide green solutions

Epson Stylus Pro WT7900

Epson has responded to environmental concerns with the introduction of an aqueous based white ink. The new ink, which can be used in combination with new metallic film on its Stylus Pro WT7900, is aimed at users who want to produce vibrant display graphics for retail and point-of-sale applications.

Epson proudly claims that the Stylus Pro WT7900 is the only inkjet in the world to offer a water-based opaque white ink. Originally developed for high-quality packaging proofing and sampling applications, the unique capabilities of this printer make it ideal for display graphics where white ink plays an important role in the overall impact of high-end display, signage and POS graphics. Stylus Pro WT7900 prints high saturation Epson UltraChrome HDR ink on a choice of media, including clear films, paper and the new Metallic Film, on rolls or cut sheets up to 24 inches (609mm) wide.

The UltraChrome HDR ink set plus white not only produces a wide colour gamut and accurate spot colours but also enables unusual effects and finishes to be created on a variety of media. An opaque white base layer can be created on the material to produce greater saturation and vibrancy or the white can be used to generate pastel shades when blended with the printer's existing colours.

More information at www.epson.co.uk or telephone 01442 227275.

Elements Atom 44 Digital Printer Concentrating on green alternatives to conventional ink-jet printing processes IGS UK has introduced a range of durable water-based ink alternatives.

Designated Elements H2O, this new pigmented formulation is designed to be totally water-based yet retains high abrasion, weather and UV light resistance across a broad range of display and industrial materials.

The innovative Elements H2O series uses harmless chemistry to produce high quality colour accurate prints, with the vivacity of solvent-based solutions but without any VOCs or other hazardous emissions. Because the inks are completely odourless, no extraction or ducting is required in order to comply with Health and Safety requirements.

The Elements H2O family of water-based inks is ideal for use by all those who want to produce greener output in accordance with growing environmental pressures and the need for greater sustainability. They are suitable for print service providers, display producers, digital bureaux, photolabs, in-plants and office sites plus those who hitherto have been prevented from outputting durable print because of ventilation restrictions.

Elements H2O inks are totally water-based and nonflammable. They are also kind to print-heads, with no clogging or damage in use and no need for time-consuming maintenance procedures, says IGS UK. The water-based formulation has been developed to enable a wide range of materials, both coated and uncoated, to be printed with durable results complemented by a wide colour gamut and excellent vivacity on all surfaces.

More details at www.igsuk.net.

Ink Technologies (UK) Ltd - British ink manufacturer aims to stay ahead with new products

Iconic red phone box being used by ITL

Inks are developed and manufactured all over the world but one company whose product development and manufacturing takes place in the UK only is Ink Technologies (UK) Ltd (ITL).

Founded in 2000, ITL's products span a multitude of applications, including eco- and full-solvent, aqueous-based, UV-curable and industrial coding and marking inks. The company has launched three new products this year: Versatile Textile and Vinyl, MS5 True Solvent and i-BiO; all developed to provide innovative and cost-effective alternatives for production onto rigid, flexible and textile materials.

Versatile Textile and Vinyl (VTV) has become popular due to its ability to produce results of equal quality on either textile or vinyl substrates, thus eliminating the need to change inks when switching material types. Other popular features include its resilience against fading and the strikingly vivid results and wide gamut produced with its CMYK, orange and green.

Sustainability was central to developing ITL's MS5 True Solvent ink. ITL says this ink is capable of reducing expenditure whilst maintaining colours consistent with a printer's original CMYKLcLm ink set. MS5 is also able to withstand the elements, including extensive UV exposure, and has an outdoor durability of up to 24 months.

For companies eager to improve their environmental practices ITL's is offering its new i-BiO as an ideal solution. This mild-solvent choice offers all the colour density associated with more traditional inks whilst reducing VOCs and bettering the biodegradability of most mainstream alternatives, says ITL.

Find out more at www.itlgb.com or telephone 061 495 3900.

Durst's glass decoration system - More markets mean more customers

Decorated glass in a saunaIncreasing the number of markets a sign maker supplies can mean much greater potential for success. One potentially lucrative market is decoration of glass using digital technology which is currently an area of growing interest to architects and interior designers.

Durst has developed a glass decoration system featuring organic Sol-Gel ink chemistry for use with its Rho 700 and 800 flatbed printers. Sol-Gel UV ink is an organically pigmented ink system with high ecological standards. It is 100% VOC free and capable of UV curing, giving the same printing properties such as speed, curing and resolution, for example, as our POP inks. Unlike standard inkjet UV inks, which, if exposed to moisture or chemicals, result in strongly or totally delaminating from glass unless time consuming primers are applied, Durst Sol-Gel ink actually forms a chemical bond with the glass to provide unique resistance characteristics.

Durst says many tests on have been conducted on the Sol-gel ink and they prove its excellent adhesion, durability and chemical resistance.

The system is capable of full scale production runs of interior fittings for large retail chains or glass furniture, for example, and is also able to produce one-offs and prototypes, such as boutique interiors or temporary outdoor signs.

Sol-Gel ink is available in CMYK with options of white and Satinato, for imitation of satin glass.

Further information at the website www.durst-online.com

Interview with Ken Kisner, President of INX Digital

Digital Inks are a hot topic so in this issue Sign Update gets the thoughts of Ken Kisner, President of INX Digital International Co.

Ken Kisner photo portrait INX Digital Logo

Ken Kisner is President of INX Digital International Co and has more than 20 years expertise in the digital imaging market. He manages a company with offices in California, China, and Europe that makes inkjet ink products for industrial-grade wide and super-wide format digital inkjet printers.

In 2009, Mr Kisner helped manage the transition of Triangle Digital INX as it became a member of INX Digital International Co (www.inxdigital.com). The new company represents the combined digital resources of Sakata INX, INX International, Triangle Digital INX, Innovative Solutions INX, MegaINX Digital and Anteprima Engineering. He was also part of the NAPIM committee assembled to define bio content and is a member of Specialty Graphics Imaging Association, Print Industry Networking Group, Digital Printing and Inkjet Printing Professionals.

How has ink technology changed over the years?

KK: We are noticing the continued evolution of digital printing in many industrial markets, from wallpaper printing and ID card printing to printing on glass. Digital printing has allowed mass customisation so companies can target specific demographics for their customers. As speed and quality of inkjet technology continues to increase, it will allow companies to afford short-to-mid size runs with variable information.

Our company's core product line includes traditional solvent based chemistries. However, through recent collaboration we have created a new line of UV and bio ink that is more suitable for the green aspects of the market. Latex inks and UV LED are new, hot type inks, and LED curing technology has significant advantages that make it very attractive such as using less energy compared to other light sources.

If, as an industry we should be using less solvent inks, what is INX and Triangle doing about this?

KK: At INX Digital, including the Triangle brand, we concentrate on using mild and eco solvent formulations or other ingredients that not only reduce the impact on the environment, but also create a healthier work environment and have a long, useful life.

What is INX doing about helping the sign and graphics industry move toward greener products?

KK: Recently at FESPA we saw the debut of our water-based Textile inks and new Eco Bulk ink delivery system, which is part of INX Digital's green recycling programme, and represents a continuation of our commitment to green products. We developed a number of sustainability and green initiatives more than 10 years ago, and have been committed to finding greener solutions during this period of time. We have strong corporate policies in place so customers know they are not being misled. The website www.greeninx.com outlines our efforts.

Triangle inks Logo

How well are Triangle inks being received in the UK?

KK: There are many advantages that are driving customers to use Triangle inks. Josero is the sole distributor of Triangle products in the UK and Ireland. We chose them because they are forward thinking, are technically astute and have excellent customer service. With their comprehensive dealer network dedicated to selling Triangle inks, nearly 200 sites have been installed throughout the UK. Sales are growing at a vast rate and Josero plans to invest in a new facility so they can expand their demonstration suite.

They often go the extra mile. For example, they explain how our inks are certified by many print-head manufacturers around the world such as Xaar. They truly understand how integrated our products are.

What do you see as up and coming ink technology?

KK: Our BIO standard, rates each of our products as a percentage of renewable resource such as our BIO25, which includes 25 percent of renewable resource materials. Our task has been to increase the use of renewable resource while continuing to focus on products that exceed our customers' expectations.

Our ECO standards will grade products on the environmental and human safety effects of the formulation. We have developed 10 criteria to determine the ECO rating to determine whether or not the product has Hazardous Air Pollutants, Toxic Air Pollutants, the odour level and other items that affect the overall friendliness of the product. We are working closely with NAPIM (National Association of Printing Ink Manufacturers) to give this either a national or global acceptance as a standard."

Our Evolve programme is a key strategy for the next 4-5 years to help traditional printers move to inkjet technology. Our field service tech group, our inside technical staff, and our R & D group are all working towards helping this customer base succeed. We also are developing specialised UV inks that will meet certain food packaging regulations, as well as water based inks that are durable for outdoor signage.

INX Digital has defined the words BIO and ECO and established our own standards to adhere to so customers know exactly what they are getting with our products.

Inside INX Digital’s research and development facilitiesHow do you see the market going forward in the next few years?

KK: In North America and Europe, we are seeing growth in the UV printer market. In price sensitive markets like much of Asia, South America, Eastern Europe and parts of the Middle East, we still see solvent based products dominate the market.

All of the traditional industries are looking for some digital equipment, but the display graphic market is growing very fast. The market is dedicated to flags and decoration and the textile market, which includes fashion textile, was one of the first to evolve to digital 10 years ago.

INX Digital continues to invest heavily in technology. Our new state-of-the-art application labs in Europe and the U.S.A. allow us to fine tune formulations which optimise the long-term 'jettability' of our products.

We are focused on new markets and helping our parent companies "Evolve" to digital. Bridging the gap between traditional and digital printing is important for several reasons. Not only does it drive revenue in tough economic times, but digital printing helps reduce costs and increase production.

What do you perceive as the greatest challenges the ink industry faces in the next decade?

KK: Reducing inventories, customisation for test marketing, and advertising is allowing inkjet to dive into packaging, textile and other markets where it is just beginning to emerge. We predict seeing a huge growth in these markets over the next 5-10 years.

Digital is all about possibilities and creativity. With digital, it is possible to do many things that isn't possible or is problematic in the traditional industry. Speed is an issue. Technology is growing very fast in the digital industry and in many ways; certain applications can only be made with digital."

Josero Inks LogoHow would you respond to the view that only OEM inks work and that third party inks damage printers?

KK: Third party inks have a long history in the UK, which is the birthplace of industrial inkjet. The UK market has always been open to experimenting with third party products. OEMs capitalised in the first half of this decade when admittedly there were problems in the marketplace. But since we signed-up Josero, they have significantly reduced the market share that was dominated by the original inks. Josero's ability to convince print operations about Triangle's capabilities, which includes super-wide and BIO products and our outdoor print and full ink train warranties, has made a huge impact on the market.

Printer manufacturers imply that using third party inks invalidates customers' warranties. What is your response to this?

KK: INX Digital backs all of our products with a warranty. If a printer is under warranty with the OEM and our Triangle inks are running it, in essence what the OEM is saying doesn't really matter in this case.

INX Digital steadfastly stands behind our products with both an Outdoor Durability warranty as well as an Ink Train warranty. In addition to the warranties our products come with, we also stock and source common replacement parts for the OEM printers. We have a qualified technical support group comprising engineers and technicians that operate globally.

Further information at the website www.inxdigital.com or www.josero.com

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