Sign & Digital Graphics

August '16

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40 • August 2016 • S I G N & D I G I T A L G R A P H I C S graphic inks offered by Sun Chemical. The ink is 60-90 percent water with a very low level of co-solvent humectants (non-toxic organic chemicals that keep the inkjet nozzles from drying out too quickly). The co-solvent humectants used are similar to those used in water- based wide-format pigmented inks, or in HP "Latex" inks. And the photo initia- tors, sensitizers, resins and monomers in Aquacure inks are similar to those used in conventional UV-curable inks, with addi- tives to help the wetting of the substrates. The result is a low-odor, low-solids ink that produces a desirably thin film on the substrate similar in performance to offset or flexographic printing inks. How is it Cured? The curing of this new water-based ink is accomplished using a two-step process. First, the ink is heated immedi- ately after printing to remove the water and "pin" the ink droplets onto the sub- strate's surface to prevent the drops from combining or reticulating, which would degrade the image quality. When all the water is evaporated, the thin ink film layer coalesces in a similar manner to HP's "Latex" inks. Once dry, the coalesced film of ink is then cured using UV cure lamps, or electron beam radiation. In a flatbed system the two stages are done in-line. If the ink is not dry before UV irradiation then a robust ink film will not be produced. What are the Benefits? This technology promises perfor- mance that is the closest to flexographic or offset printing of any inkjet printing system to date. It provides a thin highly pigmented, cured ink layer with high color gamut and gloss. Much better color can be achieved than with regu- lar UV ink since it forms a thinner layer. With a thinner ink layer and fewer sol- ids comes easier UV curing. With only 10-40 percent solids, the cost of manu- facturing the inks should be much lower than with traditional UV inks, which are nearly 100 percent solids. Since the dried ink is chemically crosslinked it offers the potential of higher durability compared to "Latex" ink, which is not chemically crosslinked but only forms a film when heated. Conclusions Kudos to Sun Chemical for devel- oping what I believe has the potential to become the next big thing in inkjet inks—and kudos to Durst and EFI for introducing printing systems for hybrid U V -aqueous technology. This bodes well for the future of wide-format ink- jet printing by eliminating some of the shortcomings of the ink systems in use today with a much more environmentally desirable ink chemistry. SDG At drupa EFI demonstrated its AquaEndure technology—a water-based ink set offering the benefits and durability of UV-cure technology. The company says it plans to use the new tech- nology in a number of its printer platforms. (Image courtesy of EFI) ink Ink C O N T I N U E D Sign & Digital Graphics MARKETPLACE BE PART OF THIS VALUABLE RESOURCE! Contact by calling 800-669-0424 x297 or email 106 • May 2016 • S I G N & D I G I T A L G R A P H I C S ADVERTISING FLAGS ADA SIGNS BANNER FRAMES BANNER STANDS May 2016 (800) 669-0424 MARKETPLACE BANNERS SBMAY_Marketplace.indd 106 4/13/16 2:54 PM Contact Diane Gilbert at 800-669-0424 x297 A low-cost solution to gain attention for your company.

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