Sign & Digital Graphics

August '16

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38 • August 2016 • S I G N & D I G I T A L G R A P H I C S Hybrid UV-Aqueous Inkjet Technology New UV-curing aqueous inks are a step beyond "Latex" Ray Work, Ph.D., heads Work Associates, a consultant firm specializing in inkjet print- ing technologies, applications and markets. He worked for more than 28 years in research, research management, business development and business management with DuPont. Dr. Work holds a Ph.D. in physical inorganic chemistry from the University of New Orleans. He can be reached via e-mail at workassociates@ comcast.net, or visit his Web site www.workassoc.com. B Y R A Y W O R K , P H . D . ink Ink DIGITAL PRINTING AND FINISHING DIGITAL GRAPHICS promises to be a new level of performance: hybrid UV-aqueous inkjet ink technology. Here we will dis- cuss the nature of this technology, how it relates to current UV-cure systems and aqueous ink technolo- gies, and then explore anticipated improvements this technology is expected to deliver in printing systems that are now becoming available. What is this New Technology? This new technology—developed by Sun Chemical's SunJet division and launched last year— is called "Aquacure." Sun Chemical is a member of the DIC Group, which is one of the largest ink com- panies in the world. Sun often partners with print equipment manufacturers to design inks specifically for their equipment. Last fall grand-format printer maker Durst announced the first market launch of the Rho WT 250 HS, a flatbed printer using hybrid UV-aqueous technology—a technology Durst calls "Durst Water Technology." Then, at the recent drupa trade fair in Europe held in early June this year, Durst rolled out the Rhotex 500, a five-meter-wide roll-fed soft sig- O ver the past few years in wide-format graph- ics, we have seen movement toward the devel- opment of greener ink solutions like low-VOC eco- solvents, HP's "Latex" inks, and more durable ink solutions like UV-LED cure systems. But all of the current approaches leave room for further improve- ment. Whether the challenge is physical durability, adhesion, color gamut, gloss and gloss uniformity or environmental friendliness—each of the currently available ink solutions has certain shortcomings. Now a different approach is beginning to be exploited that moves the technology forward to what This illustration shows three states of the ink in a hybrid UV-aqueous system: Liquid (before printing), Coalesced (after drying) and Solid (after curing). (Image courtesy of Sun Chemical)

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