The Best Inks for Digital Inkjet Printing
It seems that in this day and age, faster, and easily customizable items and gadgets are a necessity we can’t live without. The same can be said for the industrial printing industry; with entrepreneurship and e-commerce on the rise, the need for versatility and one-of-a-kind packaging has never been greater.
One of the latest trends to come about has been an uptick in commercial based printers for high-production products. The Hybrid Printer has been at the helm of the ongoing demand for high-quality packaging.
Hybrid printers combine both inkjet printing technology with flexographic (analogue) presses to increase the marketing opportunities made available, and lower overall costs.
Industry Standards are Increasing
The pharmaceutical, food, and beverage sectors are continuing to confront tighter rules on product labeling for safety and security. Similarly, the booming cannabis business is grappling with severe labeling requirements in order to comply with federal regulations on product packaging.
The Benefits of Digital Printing
For today’s industrial inkjet printers, digital printing is the most cost-effective printing technology, as we witness an increased need for shorter runs, changeable data for expiration dates, and personalizing labels for the best unique brand experience.
The types of inks used for packaging make a difference in the final aesthetic and quality of the product, but which one should you choose?
Here is a list of the most common types of digital printing inks, as well as how and when they’re best to use.
It is common for professional photographers to use powdered pigments to print their photos. A water suspension rather than a liquid, it is composed of solid opaque particles that sit on top of the paper rather than being absorbed.
These inks resist fading and last longer than dye-based inks. Many of the key distinctions between these inks and dye-based inks have been practically erased thanks to continuous technical advancements.
Since pigmented inks have gained so much traction in terms of their versatility and quality, it is often difficult to discern from the more traditional dye-based ink, so it has become a matter of individual taste for commercial businesses whether to use them in their label or flexible packaging design.
There are certain downsides to using these particular inks though; for instance, color options are restricted, and they are more costly than other ink options. Aside from the drying time, they are not recommended for use on glossy paper unless it has been treated first.
In contrast to pigment inks, which sit on top of the paper rather than being absorbed by it, dye-based inks are made up of totally dissolved colorant particles floating in a liquid. Among ink products, they are the most cost-effective, and they are perfect for printing texts.
Dye inks come in a wide variety of colors. As a result, pictures and text may more easily be color-matched. However, the color-enhancing additives applied to them have poor light resistance and fade quickly in direct sunlight.
Dye-printed labels and signage are not well suited for outdoor usage, despite recent advancements in technology that have made dyes more fade resistant.
Since dye-based inks are water-soluble, they shouldn’t be used outside. Since the ink is distributed more thinly on the page than pigment, it can also be more prone to bleed or smear when water falls on the page.
UV inks make use of ultraviolet technology, which has transformed a to a variety of printing innovations. Specifically, UV ink has several advantages: quick drying time, it’s long-lasting, and it’ll stick to almost everything. Because the entire cartridge’s ink is used up, printing costs are cheaper, and there is less waste as a result.
There is no smudging or fading of the prints over time. Most other inks are 99.5% percent VOC (Volatile Organic Chemical) free, but UV ink more ecologically friendly than other types of inks. They provide a safer working environment for the print industry personnel because these chemicals aren’t discharged into the air during the printing process.
However, there is a disadvantage to these perks:
For your prints to dry, UV inks must be exposed to UV light. As a result, spills are notoriously difficult to clean up, taking a significant amount of time and effectively halting production.
In the event that it is stepped on, employees may be unable to remove it from their shoes or clothing, allowing it to spread to adjacent rooms without their knowledge. UV inks, although being VOC-free, can cause skin irritation if they are spilled, thus suitable safety attire is essential.
Finally, while though UV ink is a less expensive option, it comes with a bigger initial investment, so keep that in mind when weighing your options.
These family of inks are known as solvent inks because they are based on solvents rather than water. They can print on a larger range of materials than pigment or dye inks, making them ideal for outdoor signage or signs that need to survive for an extended period of time.
In 2000, eco-solvent inks made their debut on the market, and because they contain low quantities of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and a low odor, they were appropriate for interior signs, reducing their environmental effect. Using a printer with a low VOC content also decreases the wear and tear on the printer’s components, saving a company money.
Since eco-solvent inks require heat to cure, they cannot be used to print on materials like thin vinyl, but since consumers are becoming more aware of the environmental impact of their purchases, they are more likely to buy from brands that boast this type of attention to detail.
For high-volume printing, toner is an excellent alternative to ink because it is used specifically in laser printers. As a particle rather than a liquid, it has become a common sight in both the workplace and the industry.
Printing black and white pages at double the speed of an inkjet printer at half the cost per page is made possible by laser printers. Smaller typefaces and graphics, such as graphs and medium-quality photos, are printed more clearly since the pages aren’t saturated with ink throughout the printing process.
Toner printers are good for long-lasting pictures that are resistant to UV fading and water damage since they utilize heat to melt the toner particles to the substrate.
Toner-based printers have a lot of moving components that need to be serviced and changed on a regular basis, and have a considerably longer maintenance cycle than inkjet printers. All things to consider before deciding which inkjet printer is right for a product and business.
So, What Next?
The optimal printing method for your purposes will be determined by a variety of criteria, including your budget, the intended use of your product, its expected lifespan, and your desire for ecologically responsible alternatives for your employees, as well for the environment.
The information in this guide should help you get started, but if you have any questions, feel free to contact the experienced staff at Arrow Systems, Inc. for assistance in finding the best digital printing solution for your business.