Types of Ink Suitable for Large Format Printing
1. Aqueous Inks
This type of ink is water-based and has two different varieties; Dye and UV. The main carrier of this ink is water, and the dyes or pigments. The dye is usually mixed with the water while being applied, and when the water evaporates, it leaves the ink behind. But to get the best results, a special surface coating may be needed to be applied onto the media for better ink absorption and for preventing the ink from spreading. The main advantage of using this type of ink is the outcome of bright colours. The disadvantage is that it fades really quickly when exposed to the ultraviolet rays of the Sun, and are not suitable for outdoor uses.
2. Dye Sublimation Inks
If you need an ink that can get absorbed into polyester textiles or if you need a coating on some solid objects, then this is the type you should go for. You get a choice between the aqueous dye sublimation inks, most commonly used for desktop and large format printing, and the solvent type, which is mostly used for the wide-format printing devices like, Spectra, XAAR and Konica. Although dye sublimation ink printing is not exactly inkjet printing, it is often confused with it.
The printing is done by Piezoelectric Print heads onto a temporary carrier transfer paper, which is later dried and pressed against the polyester materials and heated. In this way, the ink gets vaporized and then absorbed by the polyester to form a strong colour bond. For large format textile printing, furnishing, and creating soft signage, this type of ink is perfect.
3. Solvent Inks
Generally, pigment inks that contain dyes, but uses volatile organic compound carriers instead of water, are known as solvent inks. These are resistant to water and UV rays and produce brilliant colours. However, the primary reason for using this type of ink is its durability under any type of condition.
They can be of two types:
- Strong Solvent
In this type, the ink is based on a volatile solvent carrier for the colourants, and the outcome is a durable work that is most suitable with plastic media and billboard papers.
- Eco Solvent
A rather modern variant developed in the 2000s as a substitute for the toxic and strong-smelling solvent inks, this consists of less hazardous compounds and has no smell after printing. You can even use eco-solvent printers in an office environment.
4. UV Cured Inks
This type of inks is exposed to UV radiation after the printing process, with the help of LED light or mercury arc lamp. This helps break the ink liquid and then transform it into a solid form. Although it is an exotic and often a rather expensive choice of ink, the amount needed for a print job is too less. The quick-drying feature of UV cured ink makes it a popular choice for a number of printing mechanisms and surfaces.
5. Latex Inks
This is a relatively new type of ink suitable for surfaces like vinyl. It uses water, a wetting agent, a humectant, and additives in order to carry the pigment particles onto the print media surface. Latex inks act similar to the solvent inks but do not produce harmful toxins. That does not mean they are completely environment-friendly though, but since this is a new edition to the family, there is still hope for improvement.
Whether you are looking for the top printing companies or some company that deals on a daily basis in large format printing in Toronto, knowing about the different types of inks and their features can help you get the best outcome from your print job.