Sign & Digital Graphics

Start Here October '19

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45 S T A R T H E R E 2 0 1 9 inkjets, including the VersaEXPRESS RF-640 printer and the TrueVIS SG series printer/cutters, offering excellent image qual- ity, reliability, efficiency and ease of use at affordable pricing. "For users looking to get into a less traditional but fast- growing market such as product personalization/customization, UV or dye-sublimation inks allow for a wide range of unique applications that can differentiate a PSP from the competition. We are seeing a general trend where users start out with eco- solvent devices/inks for the versatility and, as they start to understand other applications customers are asking for, expand into one of the other technologies," he reports. Rugen points out that ink types, in part, determine the kinds of applications that can be made with a wide-format printer. "Eco-solvent has been the long time favorite for most startups because of the diversity of materials that be used. One drawback is that the ink uses a solvent to disperse the ink and time is needed for that solvent to vent away before laminating. A big advantage of eco-solvent is its outdoor durability; many applications can last for years. Latex ink has become popular of late because the ink is cured upon leaving the printer and thus can be laminated immediately. One drawback however is that the ink resides on the surface of the printable materials and many times an adhesion optimizer must be used to assist in ink adhesion. In addition, most of this type printer require high heat in order to cure the latex and that can limit the types of media that is compatible with those heats." He says that UV curable inks are cured using an LED light, so they are instantly dry. "In addition, there are numerous applications for both roll-to-roll and rigid materials. Some printers called "hybrids" can even do both types of applications making them very adaptable to many jobs. Once again, the ink resides on the surface, so some scratch resistance is lowered and adhesion may require a promoter, but overall the inks perform well." Rugen adds that dye sublimation inks vary from one manufacturer to the next and the dye sublimation and textile printing market can be complex regarding choice in materi- als and inks. "In addition, sublimation require the use of heat presses and that is an added cost to this ink usage. However, the products produced using dye sublimation are long last- ing and anything with a polyester coating can be printed." McCausland says in signage, offering color consistency is neces- sary. "Print shops must be ready and able to offer an expanded color gamut and successfully match any color a client throws their way. The solvent ink industry is evolving due to rapid advancement in technology and ink chemistry—now allow- The products produced using dye sublimation are long lasting and anything with a polyester coating can be printed.

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