There are many vendors—both manufacturers and third party providers—offering ink for digital printing. Sometimes it is overwhelming to decide who to choose. Print service providers (PSPs) generally choose inks manufactured by original equipment manufacturers. If they are feeling adventurous, and looking to save money, a PSP may choose a third party provider. Here we look at several industry players in the ink space and what they offer.
3M Commercial Graphics provides UV, solvent, and latex digital solutions. The company’s newest offerings are the co-branded Hewlett-Packard (HP) 3M LX600 Specialty Latex inks and EFI VUTEK 3M Premium GSr UV inks. They are sold by HP and EFI, respectively.
A.T. Inks offers UV, bio, and solvent inks. The company is a Xaar ink partner and its inks are approved by Fujifilm Dimatix for user in Spectra printheads.
Agfa Graphics’ :Anapurna UV-curable inks are fast curing and easy to handle. They print in a range of colors on a variety of flexible and rigid media. Formulated on high-quality pigments, they offer high fade resistance. Designed for long-term outdoor applications, durability is rated for two to three years outdoors. Agfa also offers solvent and aqueous inks.
Bordeaux Digital PrintInk Ltd. provides UV and solvent inks for the North and South American markets. At FESPA last Spring, the company introduced UV LED inks compatible with Mimaki USA, Inc. printers. Bordeaux is known for its Mix & Match system, which enables changeover from original inks without the need to flush or create new profiles. This can be done at a single cartridge level.
EFI offers UV, solvent, and bio inks for digital printing. The VUTEK QS Series r ink is formulated for use with the companies’ VUTEK QS3200r printer. This UV ink is highly pliable, weldable, and can be coated. Flexibility is key and the QS Series r product enables 100 percent stretching, making it ideal for applications with complex curves.
Epson offers both aqueous-based inks and eco-friendly solvents. Eco-solvent UltraChrome GS inks are available in eight colors, including orange and green. They lack harmful volatile organic compounds and the element nickel is completely removed.
Fujifilm North America Corporation strongly believes in the future of UV ink, but the company also carries solvent and aqueous sets. For example, Fujifilm Sericol’s Uvijet CMYK plus white product, created for the Fujifilm Acuity portfolio of UV-curable flatbed printers, offers vibrant colors and fast curing for high-production output.
Hilord Chemical Corporation manufactures bio, solvent, UV, and aqueous inks.
HP offers UV, solvent, and water-based solutions such as traditional aqueous inks and latex. Latex’s interest is growing, primarily due to its versatility—end users can print on uncoated papers, soft signage, custom wallpaper, in addition to traditional vinyl and banner materials. An odorless solution, latex is also eco-friendly and an excellent alternative for indoor applications.
INX Digital International Co. recently introduced PDQ, a high-performance mild-solvent pigment ink. It offers great adhesion to vinyl and banner stocks. Eco-friendly, the inks are cycloxehanone free. To complement the trend of shorter advertising campaigns, the inks offer a durability rating of one year outdoors. INX Digital also offers UV, solvent, bio, latex, and aqueous inks.
Mimaki’s portfolio includes UV and solvent. To complement the company’s recent introduction of the JFX plus series, new UV LED inks LH-100 and LF-200 are now available. LH-100 is a hard ink that offers high scratch and chemical resistance. LF-200 provides 200 percent elasticity, making it ideal for flat and uneven surfaces such as vehicle wraps or packaging. White ink is available for both products.
Mutoh America, Inc. provides solvent, bio, and aqueous ink sets. The company’s Eco-Ultra product is an eco-solvent ink that works well with Mutoh Toucan and ValueJet printers. It is formulated for durability in the harshest environments, offering scratch resistance. Eco-Ultra provides a rich ink density, quick drying time, and no odors or fumes.
Nazdar’s Lyson digital printing inks are sold in UV, solvent, and aqueous formations.
Océ North America provides UV inks for its Arizona series of flatbed printers. The UV system provides instant curing, eliminates odors, and produces prints ready to be handled immediately after printing. The CMYK set is supplied in two liter ink bags. The company also offers eco-solvent ink for its CS900 series of roll-to-roll inkjet printers.
Prism Inks, Inc. offers solvent, aqueous, and UV inks.
Roland DGA Corporation was a pioneer in developing eco-solvent inks and remains committed to the technology. The image quality, longevity, and performance characteristics of Roland’s ECO-SOL MAX ink makes it the most successful ink to date for the company. The company also offers regular solvent, aqueous, and UV. Its UV LED ink, ECO-UV is specially formulated for their LED line of printers’ to ensure perfect curing at all print speeds while delivering high color density and a wide color gamut.
Sawgrass Technologies’ aqueous-based inks are perfect solutions for dye-sublimation and direct to digital fabric printing. M-TT Textile inks print on a wide variety of substrates—from natural to synthetic fibers. A binder-free ink, it is specially formulated to bind to all fabrics. It offers three year outdoor durability and vivid colors.
In September 2010, Xennia Technology Ltd. released XenInx Amethyst, a reactive dye textile decoration ink. The company offers a range of UV, oil, solvent, and aqueous products. Xennia also offers several other textile inks in its portfolio including XenInx Moissanite—a pigment UV-curable ink, XenInx Corundum—a disperse dye aqueous ink, and XenInx Agate—an acid dye aqueous ink.
In part two of this series, we offer an abbreviated version of the April issue’s state of ink article, an annual feature that provides thoughts on the future of digital ink.