Demand drives new products and refinements, as ink producers court expanded opportunities.
New trends, advances, and products
As you might guess, each company we talked to for this article – as well as most other ink companies in the industry – is busy pursuing new technologies and bringing out new products to help print providers reach their goals.
Epson, with its new series of SureColor wide-format printers, is promoting a next generation of solvent-ink technology in its UltraChrome inks. Mark Radogna says the new inks address demands for products that are more environmentally friendly without sacrificing any of the vibrancy or durability of true solvent inks. “Ink technology dictates our printer technology,” he begins. The new printers and companion inks represent Epson’s response to print-provider demands for versatile systems that give them the most options in wide-format applications. “Solvent inks are a tried and proven chemistry, compatible with the broadest selection of media available today,” he explains. “Epson is a big believer in solvent-based technology with the improvements we’ve made.”
Epson UltraChrome GS2 ink, available for the SureColor S50670 printer, offers up to 5 colors, including a high-density white. Epson UltraChrome GSX ink, used on its SureColor S70670 printer, delivers up to 10 ink colors, including optional white, silver metallic, and light black. “We’ve developed a unique white solvent ink, and found a way to make the white two times faster” when drying, according to Radogna.
He believes the metallic silver will present new print opportunities – once the graphic-design community embraces its versatility. “A lot of graphic artists still don’t realize what metallic ink means and how they can use it in their designs,” he asserts. “Many people are confused, they think a silver ink means they can only print in silver,” he explains. “What they don’t seem to realize is that silver ink can be mixed with other colors, like a primary color, to create all kinds of shades and special effects.”
Sun Chemical was among the first to recognize the potential benefits UV LED-cured inks, Peter Saunders maintains. “As lamp and ink technology have advanced, we have developed a series of graphic inks that fully cure with LED UV exposure,” he says.