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The Great White Way

(January 2011) posted on Tue Jan 11, 2011

Opportunities abound for shops with white-ink capabilities.

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These capabilities, borne of the Arizona’s white-ink option, have drawn such a positive response within the creative community that DeJesus expects the opportunities are only beginning to develop. “Demand for printing with white ink will only get bigger,” he predicts. “It’s the future of digital printing, and within the next five years something everyone will have to offer.”

Astek Inc.: custom wallcovering work
As a leading provider of specialty wall and interior coverings, Astek, Inc. ( of Van Nuys, California, prides itself on continually providing clients with the latest, most creative solutions for transforming rooms and interiors into graphically stunning settings.

Today, that means offering its clients the white-ink option, and all that white ink allows. The company first added white-ink capabilities with the purchase of a Durst 600 Pictur flatbed in 2007. Demand for digital services quickly followed, prompting the company to add the Durst 320r roll-to-roll UV printer, then the Rho 800 high-speed UV flatbed. The company is currently considering adding a fourth Durst printer with this feature, and switching all of its Durst systems over to the latest HD white inks.

“White ink gives us the ability to print in full color on anything other than white media,” notes production manager Brian Preble. “We’re able to lay down a layer of white and use any media like it’s a clean sheet. The new HD inks will give us even brighter whites to work with.”

Astek has utilized white ink to treat a range of materials as if each were a fresh white canvas, primed for printing: MDF, plywood, wood, glass, steel, metals, static cling film, acetate, carpets and all types of vinyl.

“We do a lot of custom digital prints for walls,” he continues. “That can mean fine-art prints, wall murals, even scanning and recreating old wallpaper.” Astek’s expertise also reaches into the film industry, recreating the floors, walls, and ceilings which lend authenticity to popular movies like 2009’s Angels and Demons. “When you see all those marble floors in the film, that’s our work,” Preble points out.

“We’ve done our part to spread the word about what we can achieve with white ink. Designers of all types are starting to take advantage of it.”