Wide format color printing uses several types of inks, and each carries their own characteristics that will be of benefit in some situations and not others. With wide format printing, the types of inks used become crucial to convey the desired message and create a design. Here are five of the most common wide format ink types:
- Aqueous Inks
- Dry Sublimation Inks
- Solvent Inks
- UV Cured Inks
- Latex Inks
Aqueous ink is water-based ink, and it offers two varieties: dye and UV. Manufacturers mix the ink with water, and when the water evaporates, it leaves the ink behind. Advantage of aqueous ink is that it delivers bright colors to the page. The disadvantage, however, is that they fade quickly if under the ultraviolet rays of the sun.
Dry sublimation ink can be found for Spectra, Konica and XAAR wide format printing. While dry sublimation ink is not inkjet printing, some people have confused it for that.
Solvent inks contain dyes and are referred to as pigment inks. They cost less, and offer flexibility on various surfaces. In addition, solvent inks are waterproof.
UV cured inks dry quickly when exposed to UV-light, which is what makes them appealing, but they also cost a small fortune.
Finally, we have latex inks, which are a new type used for many surfaces like vinyl. Latex ink acts similar to solvent ink without the toxic chemicals.