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The Solvent Ink Story

The Solvent Ink Story

Author: Parker Andrews/Thursday, January 25, 2024/Categories: Industry News - Graphic

(From Wide Format Impressions. Full article here.)

Ink chemists are the unsung heroes behind the growth and diversity of wide-format digital printing applications. While the first 36"-wide aqueous-ink inkjet printers in the 1990s gained traction for outputting photo enlargements and engineering drawings, inkjet chemists were already working on digitally jettable versions of the solvent and UV-curable inks that screen printing companies used to produce short runs of outdoor-durable signs, vehicle decals, industrial labels, and promotional products.

Solvent inks generated interest in inkjet-printed outdoor graphics by eliminating the time and expense of laminating large-format prints made with aqueous inks or electrostatic toners. When start-up companies such as Idanit, Vutek, Signtech, and Nur introduced their first 16'-wide solvent-ink inkjet printers, the devices intended to print billboards were also used to explore creative new forms of outdoor advertising such as bus wraps and truck-side advertising. Raster Graphics introduced the solvent-ink “Arizona Digital Screen Press” so smaller sign shops could digitally print full-color outdoor signs that didn’t require lamination.

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