New print systems and applications are driving ink suppliers to innovate.
Today’s ink consumers are looking for both price and performance from their suppliers, says Sun Chemical’s Saunders. “Price is always a factor, but it’s balanced by the application of the ink on many substrates,” he says. ”Performance is the key attribute. Our customers do expect inks that are specially formulated and offer flexibility, but performance is always the key.”
Every manufacturer we talked to for this article had an ink product that jibes with the aforementioned trends – either currently in the mix or in the offing. Just a few specifics (and see the sidebar, “Sourcing Ink,” which begins on page 22, for a comprehensive ink sourcelist of companies across the marketplace):
• INX Digital has launched several new UV LED inks as well as superwide high-gamut, fast-cure inks in its Triangle brand, says Witte. “We are addressing many areas of concern with UV-cure and water-based latex ink types to meet the new requests from the market with our OEM partners,” she says. The company’s latest offerings include two new inks for superwide printers. “MGA is a UV ink designed to run with the Durst 500 printer series and it offers a consistent gloss, fast cure that is available at all speeds, and an expanded gamut that designers love,” she says. “Our H76 ink is designed to work on the HP7500/7600 printer – it is chemical and color compatible and makes the ink safe for conversions on the HP Memjet printheads.”
• Muller says Bordeaux’s R&D team “continues to work diligently to introduce first-to-market dedicated alternative inks for the newest printers.” The company will soon introduce a dedicated ink for the Roland SolJet Pro4 printer, and recently added a 700-ml cartridge she describes as “identical to OEM” for Epson’s SureColor S-series printers. For the Epson printers, the company partnered with Ink on Demand to develop a “smart cartridge system.” Muller claims it is “the industry's only Epson ink-delivery system with a fully automated chip emulator system. It provides an intuitive user interface and accurate ink-level monitoring for longer unattended printing to maximize print productivity.”