Switching to Latex Inkjet Printing Makes For Bolder, Safer and More Eco-Friendly Prints
The wide-format printing space has changed and grown significantly in recent years, with a wider variety of output applications available than ever before. Innovative printing options seem to spring up nearly every day. A major undercurrent throughout this growth period has been the move away from solvent-based inks toward latex inkjet printing.
What’s driving this shift, and why should your print shop consider making the latex inkjet switch? It mostly comes down to three areas of improvement: environmental responsibility, safety and flexibility.
Protect the Environment
The unpleasant odor and potential health effects associated with airborne compounds of solvent-based inks have historically kept in-house wide-format printing operations from flourishing.
Latex ink ditches the odor and toxicity. While latex inks have long been praised for their lower levels of VOCs compared with their solvent counterparts, printers have often cited a slow, costly curing and adhesion procedure as the major barrier to entry. Of course, lower VOC production rates from latex inks are better for overall environmental sustainability (and for enabling operators to spend more time in print environments in compliance with OSHA air safety regulations), but the potential increase in cost and decrease in productivity has historically limited their widespread adoption.
However, ink technology and substrate selection have come a long way. Ink curing and adhesion processes have improved significantly, making latex-based inks just as efficient as solvent inks. If you’ve previously been forced to decide between sustainability and your bottom line, you an now get everything you need.
Beyond the increased efficiencies, latex inks have also continued to gain support for their unique composition and ever-improving technologies. These innovations have brought new levels of flexibility to the wide-format space. For example, improved latex ink formulations are now allowing 25 percent lower curing temperatures when using un-coated, non-pre-treated or specially prepared substrates.
Latex inks also allow printing to a wider variety of substrates, both in terms of color and substance. Whether you’re looking to make backlit signs, brand a company car with a wrap or produce a customized duvet cover, latex inks can be of assistance — and those examples are just the beginning.
Innovators throughout the print industry are finding lucrative margins and niche markets to leverage the flexibility of latex ink to provide unique services and boost customer satisfaction — impressing customers in the process.
As latex ink technologies continue to surge ahead, it is becoming increasingly clear that the only limit to what you can print is your imagination.