Inks - Jan 2013 | Sign Update Feature | Table
 

Inks - Jan 2013

Environmentally friendly inks

Triangle Eco Bulk cardboard inkjet cartridge - True Solvent Pigmented Piezo Drop on Demand Inkjet Ink Triangle DTX - Water based Dye Piezo Drop on Demand Inkjet Ink Triangle Ecobulk JV33 being used on a Mimaki JV33 Triangle's Research & Development lab

Going 'Green' is a very important factor in the world of ink production these days, and one of the companies striving to make it an integral part of everything they do is Inx Digital, the manufacturers of Triangle Inks.

This includes product and packaging design, the production process right through to the waste management of finished ink cartridges. Careful thought and consideration for the environmental impact goes into each aspect of the whole process.

How they impact the environment is also important and environmental considerations are an integral part of INX Digital's business practices.

From the earliest stages of product design through manufacturing and use, the company takes care to keep its activities and products environmentally sound. Four areas that are given particular attention are product and packaging design, responsible manufacturing and energy efficiency. Each aspect of the design cycle provides significant challenges, yet Inx Digital's efforts in these areas have resulted in some impressive results.

Reducing the environmental impact of products starts with the product design. Design dictates the quantity of raw materials, the type and recyclability of materials, methods for manufacturing and use and ease of disposing.

One key green product is Triangle Eco Bulk which represents a new type of ink delivery system. With a unique cardboard design it comprises of one box instead of five, 440 ml cartridges and the ink is housed within a foil bag. Once emptied, the bag is disposed of and replaced, making it a much more sustainable solution compared to plastic. The foil bag can contain up to two litres of ink, double the current industry standard of one litre packaging resulting in less waste. However, 440 ml cartridges do remain available for customers using less ink. A test program showed that more volume allows for greater consistency of the product being delivered through the network.

Triangle EDX is an eco solvent ink introduced to the market around 12 months ago. The introduction of these inks marked the first time INX Digital's Triangle brand offered a colour and chemically compatible ECO product for the alternative market. With dual compatibility, users can perform cartridgeby- cartridge changeover without wasting ink. New colour profiles are not required in order to obtain the same colour as OEM inks when printing. They are fast drying inks with low odour, and EDX has low HAPS formulation and provides significant cost savings when compared to OEM eco inks.

Nathan Ward, Director at Anglia Graphics comments: "I converted my Roland SP540i at the beginning of the year to Triangle EDX inks, and am pleased to say that they are running just as smoothly as the OEM ink. The ink performance has been perfect and after several cartridge changes due to the volume of work we are undertaking there has been no colour shift whatsoever. We've actually gone from EDX cartridges to an EDX bulk ink feed system recently and are now saving well over 50% on the OEM price. The Josero team is extremely knowledgeable and not only help with our inks but maintain our machines, and with a large number of spare parts in stock this makes any downtime very limited."

The switch

The progressive switch of PVC-based materials and solvent inks towards a green production environment caused high interest for these direct-to-textile inks. Designed for use on direct and transfer printing with synthetic fabrics with Epson print heads, they deliver optimal quality and a wide colour gamut whilst displaying fast drying characteristics on polyesters with minimum 60 percent blends. DTX also has optimal ink fluidity and excellent image definition and fastness properties.

"We are extremely proud to have three outstanding sustainable products in our catalogue," said Paolo Capano, Director of INX Digital Italy. "INX Digital has a multi-year plan in place to develop more sustainable and environmentally friendly products, and these three represent those efforts across the board. We believe the timing is perfect for the EDX inks, and the DTX textile inks are solid proof of our commitment to water-based technology."

For more information on Josero please visit www.josero.com or call 01954 232 564.

Case study: Nailing Down New Opportunities

We sat down with Richard McCombe, Managing Director of Matic Media to find out how latex ink technology has turned the fortunes of the company around.

Environmental consciousness is a widespread expression nowadays and certainly an important term within the printing industry. All around the globe, awareness of a greener planet and sustainable products is rising, and everyone

wants to be part of the 'green-boom'. One print company that is committed to environmental awareness is Matic Media Services Ltd, of Coatbridge, near Glasgow, Scotland.

This year has seen Matic Media committed to following a policy with the environment in mind and operate a 100 per cent solvent-ink free printing facility, in which it serves a broad range of applications, such as POS/POP displays, exhibition stands, vehicle wraps and posters.

The latest additions to Matic Media's product portfolio include indoor signage, wallpaper and textiles printed with Latex Ink using the HP Designjet L28500 printer.

"We were looking for good alternatives to solvent printers to further enhance our environmental policy, and we made the decision to install HP Latex Technology. The HP Designjet L28500 printer, which has environmental certifications and awards, fits perfectly within our existing range of 'environmentally-friendly' technology," says McCombe.

Matic Media, which employs 20 people, made some significant investments to become a 100 per cent solvent-ink free Print Service Provider (PSP), but as McCombe stated, the investment was worthwhile. Having had numerous water-based ink printers before, its latest purchase of a HP Designjet L28500 printer was the company's first printer with HP Latex Technology. This was purchased through HP dealer CWE Solutions, an HP Gold Preferred Partner and a UK reseller for HP Designjet Latex printers.

Inside a large format inkjet printer showing the ink cartridges

100 per cent solvent-ink free

"Based on professional advice from CWE Solutions and the live demonstration they gave us at their Sheffield office, we chose HP Latex Ink Technology because we were sure that our business would benefit from it in many ways, not only from an environmental perspective."

"The printer provides us with high-quality and versatile products. In addition, as CWE Solutions explained, the print width (263 cm) enables us to add a range of different indoor and outdoor applications to our offering, such as banners, posters and large-format graphics."

The 2.64m (104in) wide HP Designjet L28500 printer is ideal for soft-signage, pop-up displays, wallpaper and textile printing. A key benefit of the water-based HP Latex Ink is the ability to produce odourless prints (some substrates may have inherent odour) that can extend PSPs' applications while enabling them to meet the changing environmental needs of customers.

Hand showing the Matic Media fingernails Matic Media's Fingernails coming out of a large format printer
Small prints with huge effects

"With our new HP Latex Technology, we can now also further develop our two subsidiary companies," said McCombe.

One company, NailART Warehouse, is an online 'Design Your Own' nail wrap business. It offers a variety of instant manicure and pedicure designs, printed on a silicone release liner vinyl. As the HP Latex Ink is completely dry as soon as it comes out of the printer, the stickers are immediately ready for finishing and dispatch.

Customers can choose from predefined templates, such as coloured stripes, zebra print, national flags or even create their own unique nail designs.

"There are no limits to inventiveness - whether it is a photograph of your loved one or your favourite singer, a famous piece of artwork or a unique pattern that matches a particular dress," McCombe adds.

"The print quality of the HP Designjet L28500 printer is superb. It is producing sharply defined lines and vivid colours, even though the nail stickers have a very limited print size. No job is too small for Matic Media."

To get the business started, McCombe had the idea to launch the company's own software, which is used for designing the wrap sticker. It is based on a concept for home furnishings but has been created to allow users to select from various templates, choose the colour and customise their own pattern.

"To make sure we keep this uniqueness of our business, we would like to reinforce that we are using Latex Ink to print the stickers. The feedback we get is amazing, and in 2011, we sold more than 20,000 stickers."

The new printer also supports the second subsidiary, Photo Art Warehouse, which produces personalised canvas prints, posters, wallpapers and fridge magnets.

"Customers simply upload their images to our website, choose a preferred design and size, and within a few working days the final product is delivered," explained McCombe. "We produced more than 25,000 photo canvases in the last nine months, and the numbers show that customers as well as end consumers trust our high-quality products.

"The latex printer takes over all manufacturing jobs on canvas, assuring a good workflow, even when left unattended at night and at weekends. Another plus is the integrated automated notification by SMS or email in case of an unexpected problem," he adds.

 

Better working conditions and increased productivity

With the HP Designjet L28500 Printer even short-run printing jobs can be cost-effective and economical, and Matic Media's productivity can be increased by the printing speed up to 70m2 per hour.

"The printer took over all our banner, vinyl and textile production fulfilment the day it was installed, enabling us to produce an extended range of short-run, high-quality indoor and outdoor graphics with a very fast changeover between jobs."

"Other positive effects can be seen during the everyday work of our operators," mentioned McCombe. "Now there is no more need for our operators to stand next to the press, watch the job and intervene if necessary. The printer runs on its own, enabling a continuous workflow. This saves us a lot of time which we can invest in the preparation of our next printing job."

In addition, when working with HP Latex Inks, operators do not need to wear gloves or eye-protection, and special ventilation is not necessary.

"With the media versatility of the HP printer, we can now offer our customers a number of environmentally-conscious alternatives to traditional PVC signage applications, and we've also successfully expanded our product offering to include fabric and textile printing."

Richard McCombe is confident that the press will help to grow the business in other ways too:

"As a wide format print services provider, we experience a lot of competition, and speaking to CWE Solutions helped us to better understand the possibilities of the HP Latex Technology. Utilising the right hardware is the key to a successful business and satisfied customers. Installing the HP Latex printer will support us in many ways, as the printer is very reliable and comes with some amazing features.

"Another advantage is the Latex Ink, which is instantly dry as soon as it comes off the printer. Hence, off-gassing time is not necessary. I am positive that our business profits from all these improvements and that we are well positioned to maintain our position as a solvent-ink free business," concludes McCombe.

For more information on Matic Media, please visit www.maticmedia.co.uk or call 0844 209 2274.

Latex or Solvent ink - AIT Shiraz Ltd

Is Green your colour?

AIT ColorSolve Inks for Mimaki JV33

Roger Ward from sign industry suppliers, AIT Shiraz Ltd, spoke to us about things to consider when using latex inks in comparison to solvent inks.

AIT Shiraz Ltd, are particularly involved with entry level digital printing installations where the initial investment is sub-£30,000.

Traditionally their customers have opted for solvent printers but many have since migrated to latex machines, no doubt influenced by the arguments about inks with low odour, an ability to print onto a wider range of textile substrates, no need for out-gassing, vibrant colours, lower machine maintenance and ostensibly, a greener 'water-based' product.

Ward's advice is to select a machine that is best suited for the end-user's main market: "There have also been a number of advances with solvent technology in terms of odour and safety and these low cost products are ideal for short-run, low-cost advertising. Sensible use of third party solvent inks can also help keep costs to a minimum."

Ward agrees that it is tempting for users with limited budgets to opt for a machine that will help their green credentials but highlights that whilst the latex inks may be more environmentally-friendly than their full solvent counterparts, the printing machines may not; they need more heat to dry the prints, and the print heads are often consumable items.

AIT Shiraz Ltd, who are based in Kings Hill in Kent and offer the ColorSolve range of solvent inks for printers such as the Mimaki JV3 and JV33. Ward comments that third party solvent inks are now as good if not better than their OEM counterparts:

"ColorSolve inks are manufactured in Europe to ISO 9001 standards and have been successfully used at over 200 sites in the UK. They are colour matched to the OEM inks and can be swapped as the originals expire."

"The key advantage over OEM ink is the reduced cost, typically ColorSolve are about 40% cheaper than original inks so the savings of £35 per cartridge are achievable. We support our users with UK based engineers and there are cost savings in this area too, especially on spare parts," Ward explains.

AIT have recently tested an eco-solvent style ink from Korea and have been very impressed with the results. It is designed for use with DX5 print heads and is completely odourless, can be used without extraction and is perfectly safe for normal office environments, but is priced at about one third the price of competitive inks.

It is fast drying, UV resistant and comes with a 3 year outdoor warranty:

"We have produced some very impressive results using a Shiraz RIP and a low cost Galaxy printer fitted with a bulk ink system. It can be used for producing prints on everything from posters and banners to self-adhesive vinyls and canvas. Its vibrant colours and wide colour gamut make it suitable for any number of applications, from photographic and fine art to information signage and vehicle wraps. But its key advantage, with its strong primary colours and especially red, is in its creative, eye-catching use in advertising. With ink costs of about 40p per square metre it is ideal for short term signage," Ward concludes.

For more information on AIT Shiraz Ltd, please visit www.applied-image.com or call 01732 875 000.

Eco solvent and eco-UV inks - In focus

Roland Eco-Sol Max CMYKcartridges Rob Goleniowski, from Roland DG

Rob Goleniowski, Business Manager - Sign & Graphics at Roland DG UK highlights the importance of using the right equipment and effective eco-solvent and eco-UV inks to better increase your output workflow.

Roland DG prides itself on being at the forefront of ink technology and has designed a range of inks to enhance the performance of Roland printers and thus deliver greater flexibility and creativity to users. We have seen a lot of innovation in the ink sector in recent years and this is particularly true for Roland. For example, we introduced the world's first eco-solvent white and metallic Eco-Sol Max ink which was a big step forward in terms of enabling printers to widen their application possibilities, enter new markets and charge a higher price for their output. We are continuously developing and researching to add ink products that continue to meet the needs of our customers.

Roland inks fall into two categories, Eco-Sol Max and Eco UV, both of which deliver colour-rich finishes to all print jobs. Our Eco-Sol Max range of inks is specifically designed for Roland's VersaSTUDIO, VersaCAMM, VersaArt and SolJet Pro 3 ranges of inkjet printers and printer/cutters. Roland also recently launched the Eco-Sol Max 2 set of inks for our new, flagship SolJet Pro 4 XR-640 wide-format inkjet printer/ cutter which includes a light black ink for better reproduction of vivid grey colour gradients and more natural skin tones. Of key importance to us is developing a product that offers the most versatility to our users, which is why the Eco-Sol Max range is ideal for both indoor and outdoor use, comprises a wide colour spectrum including white and metallic, and boasts quick drying times to aid productivity. They are also incredibly durable - the CMYK and metallic inks are water and UV resistant for up to 3 years.

Roland's Eco-UV range is for use with our VersaUV machines. Users have the flexibility of choosing from two different formulations.

For more information on Roland DG UK please visit www.rolanddg.co.uk or call 0845 230 9060.

Design by Hinchliffeart.co.uk