With the advancement of technology, the available ink systems are also showing a trend of diversification. Each ink system will have its own advantages and disadvantages. The following will take you to understand the characteristics of each type of ink.
- Water-based ink
Water-based inks are generally formulated based on dyes and pigments. Their service life is between a few days and a month, and they need to be used with special coated inkjet substrates, which mainly rely on the coating to absorb the ink, so they are more expensive, but the water-based inks are more expensive. The price is relatively cheap, and there are no follow-up processing problems. Now, more and more printing companies have begun to produce water-based printing solutions.
- Solvent-based ink
Solvent-based inks are mainly colored by penetrating the surface of the substrate. Solvent-based inks offer users a longer life without the need for lamination, but they require heat during printing and drying. In general, except for some areas with strict air quality requirements, the sales prospects of solvent-based inks are still very optimistic.
- Eco-friendly or low solvent ink
Eco-friendly or low-solvent inks can be used on coated or uncoated substrates. When they print on coated substrates, they can control dot gain by themselves; when they print on non-coated substrates, they need heaters to control dot gain. Eco-friendly or low-solvent inks are less expensive than true solvent-based inks and contain VOCs, eliminating the hassle of air handling. Since the service life of this ink is similar to that of solvent-based inks, users can extend their durability by laminating, so it will also be one of the mainstream inks in the future.
Ecological ink is still an emerging technology so far, and its production of raw materials mainly comes from crops such as corn. Ecological inks require heaters and dryers to be set to a higher temperature during printing. Because of the use of solvents extracted from plants, rather than petroleum solvents, this ink is classified as a green product. If UV ink does not defeat it before the ecological market, then it will definitely be able to break out a world of its own in the field of digital printing.
- Dye sublimation ink
Dye-sublimation inks are a good choice for textile and apparel printers, and this basic ink technology hasn’t changed much in recent years. When people use such inks, they are first printed on a transfer paper, and then the ink is converted from a solid to a gas by means of heat and pressure, and it penetrates into the fibers of the textile. As the niche printing market continues to heat up, the use of dye-sublimation inks will continue to grow.
- UV ink
UV inks have always been in the process of development and change, and more and more printing plants have begun to adopt new UV digital printing inks. The new products have higher viscosity and greater flexibility to meet the needs of roll-to-roll printers, and they are also a great improvement over previous products in terms of color gamut and ink formulation versatility. The new UV inks, also known as “cationic UV inks,” use cold UV light curing technology that dries instantly without waiting 24 hours. In the days to come, these inks will make a major inroad into the digital printing market dominated by solvent-based inks, especially in body advertising and banner printing.