Offset to Aqueous Inkjet...the Basic Differences
Inkjet Printing is a non-contact process that “mists” a very low-viscosity “watery” ink chemistry less than 1mm from the sheet. Currently there are two aqueous inkjet fluids from which to choose.
Pigment inks contain solid, opaque particles that are suspended in aqueous chemistry. The 0.1 to 2 micron particles link together on or just below the paper surface. Qualities such as hue, saturation and lightness will vary depending on the pigment type and chemistry. Pigment inks provide long-term durability.
Dye-based inks contain dyes that dissolve in the aqueous chemistry. When applied to an uncoated substrate, the dye colorant is absorbed into the paper. This produces more dot gain with less color reflection and vibrancy on uncoated grades. Depending on the printer’s drying process, dye inks mostly have a larger color gamut on inkjet coated papers than pigment.
Both pigment and dye inks prefer what is called “inkjet treated papers”—a fast drying, low absorbent, pre-coated/treated paper surface that quickly slows the colorant absorption into the paper, keeping the color closer to the surface. Inkjet inks require porosity in a sheet, which means that a standard offset coated grade will not dry properly using aqueous inks. Inkjet coated papers are made with some porosity to allow absorption of the aqueous fluid. Ink dries by absorption unless the machine includes air or IR dryers. There are high-speed aqueous pigment inkjet printers that jet a “pre-coat or bonding agent” fluid previous to the image. This allows more of the pigment colorant to stay on the surface of an uncoated sheet.
This explanation suited him well, as he felt he had a better understanding of the basics and is now yearning for more information. He has called back two times since then.
Do you currently sell both offset and inkjet? Are you confident that your sales staff understands the basic differences? Not knowing will affect your sales and integration of new technology.