Digital Ink Comparisons for Textiles

This in excerpt from an SGIA article for more on the article you can download the file here: digitalink_0706. It also contains a great glossary of terms too!!

Ink Type Characteristics
UV Ink
  • More versatile in terms of what they can be printed on, rigid substrates, such as board product, plastic, glass, wood, ceramics and metal.
  • Can help achieve fast production because there is no wait time for prints to dry.
  • Save on production costs and media versatility despite having up front equipment costs that are higher than other digital printers.
  • Avoid continual cleaning and purging of the print head to remove insoluble products.
 Solvent Ink
  • Commonly regarded as the most economical inks for digital printing today, in terms of equipment costs and maintenance expenses.
  • Produce highly durable outdoor prints.
  • Media is less costly than coated media for aqueous inks.
  • Well suited to printing on soft and compatible flexible materials.
  • They can be used on low-cost, uncoated materials, such as self-adhesive vinyl, fabrics and scrim banner materials.
 Mild Solvent Ink
  • Often dubbed “mild,” “low-odor” and “eco-solvents” because they are more economical than conventional solvent inks.
  • Tend to have a low odor during production.
  Aqueous or Water-based Inks
  • Primarily derived from water, 70 to 90 percent, with a small amount of a milder solvent so that the ink will adhere to the medium.
  • Mostly used for retail POP for short-term outdoor prints, long- lasting indoor prints and indoor backlit materials.
  • Have a relatively clean handling process.
“Bio” or vegetable-based inks
  • Made with vegetable oil rather than petroleum oil. The vegetable source, coming from soy, linseed or corn, to make ethanol uses fewer non-renewable sources such as petroleum. However, some conventional solvent is typically used as well.
  • Adhere to a wide range of uncoated media.
    Deliver nearly the same durability as compared with conventional solvent inks.
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