Wow factor wide-format inks at drupa

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May 10, 2012

The following is a short list of wide format ink developments at drupa.

UPDATED 11 May 2012 with link to SIIT NEON demo video

SIIT NEON – fluorescent wide-format inkjet demo at drupa2012

I covered the other key wide-format themes to emerge from drupa 2012 around application flexibility, quality and productivity in a separate blog. There it was notable that most hardware launches incorporated technologies that enabled a single device to produce at both high quality and high speed, albeit not necessarily at the same time.

Bordeaux Digital Printink after-market latex. Well-timed to coincide with the increased interest in latex, this drupa Bordeaux showed a latex ink for eco-sol piezo printers, which it claims cures at a low enough temperature to not require additional heaters to be retrofitted. This should make it a more attractive option for upgrading the numerous existing chassis out there, or to develop own-brand systems.

Bordeaux also showed a dye-sub and direct-to-textile ink for the burgeoning fabric printing markets, after-markets flexible UV and UV-LED inks and an ink set for the Epson GS6000 eco-solvent machine, which like the OEM ink is claimed to be Nickel-free. Lastly from Bordeaux was a range of aqueous and UV coatings for wide- and small-format applications, including after-market jettable clear varnishes.

Epson extended its SureColor range. The SureColor eco-solvent range was introduced earlier this year with the SC-S30600, a four-color 64” device, and was extended with two further machines at drupa. The SC-S50600, a four or five-color machine, has an option for white ink. The SC-S70600 is available in eight- or 10-color configurations. The eight-color adds light cyan, light magenta, orange and green inks, offering a similar wide-gamut to the firm’s first eco-solvent machine the GS6000.  The 10-color boosts application flexibility with simultaneous white and metallic ink.

Ricoh entered the wide-format production market with a latex ink technology. The Ricoh Pro L4000 is built by Mimaki and based on Ricoh’s piezo-electric print heads with latex ink in seven colors; CYMK, light cyan, light magenta and white. It will be available in North America and Europe in the first quarter of 2013.

Seiko I Infotech Inc. (SIIT) previewed fluorescents and bulk ink supply. NEON inks – the first solvent-based fluorescent inks – are available in yellow and pink for the ColorPainter W series and can be printed as spot or composite colors with CMYK. Results are bright under normal lighting, and glow under black-lighting. Bulk-ink for the ColorPainter H2 provides 6 liters of ink for each color for the round-the-clock production; in addition the H2 is also available in an eight-color configuration adding gray and light grey to the CMYK, LC & LM.

It is clear that with extended gamut systems, whether it be, white, metallic, fluorescent or coatings that vendors are working hard to fill in the remaining capabilities in digital’s arsenal to ensure printed graphics can provide extra pop.

Further in-depth analysis of wide-format vendor developments and the trends within the wide-format sector from drupa will be published in InfoTrends’ extensive post-drupa reports, which will be available for our service subscribers soon.

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