UV-curable ink is known as one of the "greenest" inks available today. However, several manufacturers are making eco-friendly strides by creating entirely new ink segments.
Hewlett-Packard (HP) rolled out HP Latex Ink Technology with the introduction of the HP Designjet L65500 104-inch printer in 2008, and followed with the 42- and 60-inch models Designjet L25500 in 2009. Ross Allen, Ph.D., senior technology specialist, HP Graphics Solutions Business says HP Latex Inks help the industry move toward the goal of sustainable printing.
"These inks use aqueous-dispersed polymer technology to deliver display permanence and scratch-, smudge-, and water-resistance—on water-resistant media," he says. The water-based solution allows for odorless prints that emit low levels of volatile organic compounds.
Available in six colors, the pigmented inks offer a wide color gamut. Prints come off the printer dry and ready to handle—streamlining print production workflow. Additionally, HP Latex Inks do not contain materials that require hazard-warning labels and are non-flammable and non-combustible.
"Many 3M customers express interest in HP Latex Ink technology," notes Jennifer Greenquist, inks and warranties business manager, 3M Graphics Market Center. "3M already has a Performance Guarantee Program for selected films printed on certain HP printers that use HP’s Latex Inks. We continue to explore opportunities with this technology."
Graphics One, LLC is one company investing in alternative eco-friendly inks. Launching at the International Sign Association’s (ISA) ISA Sign Expo in April, Sepiax ink uses a water-based resin. The ink prints on both coated and uncoated substrates and can be used both indoors and outdoors.
Lasting up to three years outdoors without any lamination, it offers a color gamut similar to OEM eco-solvent inks, but dries similarly to UV-curable ink. A heat fixation method is used to adhere the ink to the substrate. Compatible with all Epson piezo printheads, Sepiax ink is non-toxic, non-flammable, and odorless.