In the world of large format printing, the choice of ink plays a vital role in achieving high-quality prints while ensuring environmental sustainability. While solvent inks have long been popular, a shift towards water-based inks has gained momentum due to their numerous benefits. In this weeks newsletter, we will explore the advantages of using water-based inks over solvent inks for large format printing, highlighting their positive impact on print quality, health, and the environment.
Superior Print Quality:
We use HP Large Format Industrial Printers that all use water-based HP Latex inks. Whilst it can be easy to think Water Based inks would be less vibrant, our HP Latex 3600 Printers actually produce 134,000 more labs units gamut volume.
The water-based inks offer excellent colour saturation, vibrant hues, and exceptional image clarity. They have a wide colour gamut, allowing for accurate colour reproduction, even in intricate designs. The ink’s quick absorption into the printing substrate reduces ink bleeding and smudging, resulting in sharp and crisp prints. Furthermore, water-based inks provide excellent adhesion to various materials, ensuring durability and longevity of the printed output.
One of the most significant advantages of water-based inks is their reduced impact on the environment compared to solvent inks. Solvent inks contain volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which are harmful air pollutants and contribute to smog formation. Water-based inks, on the other hand, are free from VOCs, making them a greener alternative. They have lower toxicity levels, reducing health risks for print operators and minimising the release of harmful fumes into the atmosphere.
Safety and Health Benefits:
Large format printing facilities often require adequate ventilation when using solvent inks due to their strong odour and potential health hazards. In contrast, water-based inks have a mild odour, making the printing environment more comfortable for operators. The absence of hazardous chemicals in water-based inks also reduces the risk of skin irritation, respiratory issues, and long-term health problems associated with prolonged exposure to solvents.
Quick Drying Time and Production Efficiency:
Water-based inks have faster drying times compared to solvent inks, leading to increased production efficiency. The ink penetrates the printing substrate quickly, reducing the waiting time for prints to dry. This allows for faster post-processing activities such as cutting, laminating, or mounting, resulting in shorter turnaround times and improved customer satisfaction. Additionally, the reduced drying time minimises the risk of smearing or smudging during handling or transportation.
Versatility and Wide Application Range:
Water-based inks are highly versatile and compatible with a wide range of printing materials. They can be used on various substrates such as paper, fabric, vinyl, canvas, and more. This versatility makes water-based inks suitable for different large format printing applications, including indoor and outdoor signage, banners, posters, fine art prints, vehicle graphics, and point-of-purchase displays. The ability to use water-based inks on diverse materials expands the creative possibilities for designers and print professionals.
The benefits of using water-based inks for large format printing are compelling. From superior print quality and reduced environmental impact to improved safety and health conditions, water-based inks provide a sustainable and efficient solution. With their vibrant colours, quick drying times, and compatibility with various substrates, water-based inks offer versatility and reliability for a wide range of applications. As the industry embraces environmentally friendly practices, water-based inks are becoming an increasingly popular choice for large format printing, revolutionising the way we create visually stunning prints while preserving our planet.