Michael Andreottola, president, American Ink Jet Corporation, noted that new printheads and specific applications are creating new opportunities for printers and ink manufacturers.
“Other than producing third-party inks for new OEM printers that arrive to the market, companies want to utilize digital printing to markets where the OEM may have no interest,” Andreottola said. “One example would be a customer who has designed a machine utilizing a specific printhead. They have a very unique material that the OEM ink will not dry on when applied. The ink requires a specific optical density, must have limited dot gain and dry almost immediately. The ink must be aqueous and made with a dye and not pigment. It must also jet perfectly in this specific print head. This is a new application to the digital market and just one example of the criteria we are faced with in developing new inks.”
Lawrence Gamblin, president of Collins Inkjet, noted that his company has developed a range of new products, many of which are for non-traditional applications.
“The market is expanding in many different directions,” Gamblin added. “The challenge is figuring out what to pursue and what to leave to other companies.”
Ruth Zach, marketing coordinator for Bordeaux Digital PrintInk Ltd., said that the launching of Bordeaux’s latest high speed eco solvent inks for the new Eco solvent printers support the printer’s high speed printing features.
“The new inks, Fuze Eco PR4 on the Roland Pro4 and Fuze Eco ME on Mimaki printers, answer the needs of the new Eco Solvent printers and are a necessary enhancement to Bordeaux’s Eco solvent ink family which gained world renowned quality,” Zach said.
“In addition, Bordeaux is offering inks specifically for Epson SureColor S and GS6000 printers which are also Mix & Match,” Zach said. “These inks are offered with the Ink on Demand’s Smart Cartridge solution or with the latest innovation, printer compatible 700ml cartridge for the selected SureColor S models.
Zach noted that while Bordeaux is known to be an ink manufacturer with an in-house R&D team, the limitations imposed by the printer manufacturers such as chips, unique packaging and other impediments, make it difficult for non-professional ink manufacturers to provide solutions for the latest printers.
“Bordeaux offers complete solutions and overcomes the obstacles since we rely not just on inkjet ink R&D but also on electronic engineers and printer software integrators provided by Ink on Demand (www.inkondemand.com) specializing in the field of innovative software solutions and chip development for a wide range of printers,” Zach said.
“Our latest advances have focused on water-based technology for transactional printing on high speed, roll-to-roll presses,” Karla Witte, vice president of product development for INX Digital, said.
“Wikoff continues moving forward in our formulation and manufacturing of inkjet inks,” said Chris Cudzilo, inkjet business development manager for Wikoff Color.
Brian Albans, global business manager, DuPont Digital Printing, noted that DuPont recently commercialized a new pigment ink technology platform for high-speed commercial printing that enhanced color strength and productivity.
“Market acceptance for the new technology has been very strong to date,” Albans said.
Dr. Christophe Bulliard, commercial director, Sensient Imaging Technologies SA, saidthat Sensient is working on textile inks.
“In 2013, Sensient launched ElvaJet Alpha, a platform of technologies looking at making textile printing more sustainable,” Dr. Bulliard noted. “The first range of inks developed under that platform is aimed at direct printing onto polyester in a process that does not require any washing and is thus saving millions of gallons of water.”
Thermoformable inks are another area of interest.
“In addition to the higher speeds, improved quality and reduced environmental footprint, our new EFI VUTEk GS Pro-TF system – an ink and printer system that allows for inkjet printing on thermoformable media – creates new opportunities in 3-D thermoformed product decoration, opening brand-new markets for us and for our customers,” said Stephen Emery, vice president, ink business and Jetrion Industrial Inkjet, EFI. “It was named Product of the Year for digital ink at last year’s SGIA tradeshow.”
Jeffrey Nelson, business development manager, FUJIFILM North America Corporation, Graphic Systems Division, said that Fujifilm has launched a brand new thermo-forming UV-cured inkjet ink, Uvijet KV, aimed at light industrial applications.
“This new ink system has been designed specifically for use with the company’s renowned mid-range flatbed printers, the Acuity Advance Select and Acuity Advance Select HS,” Nelson said. “The new formulation maintains the high quality, vivid colors and excellent performance expected from a Fujifilm ink, with no compromise to the print speed. Once the printing of a flat plastic sheet is completed, it is removed to a mold, where it is heated up to take on the shape of the mold, and then cooled. The ink has outstanding elongation properties of 300-400% when heated, returning to a ‘normal’ state when cool.”