Digital inkjet printing relies on a number of things, not least the digital printing inks used in the process. You can easily argue that it’s these inks that are the most crucial part of the entire process! That being said, there are several different types of ink used in digital printing, and their properties differ from one another. It’s important to understand these differences when you’re looking into having something for your company, such as marketing materials, made via digital printing technology!
The Importance of Digital Printing Inks: The Core of the System
The truth is that the inks used in any inkjet printing system are the core of that system. Digital printing inks, no matter what kind, are not necessarily complex; they’re simply pigments that have been suspended in some sort of carrier liquid. This ink is then applied to the surface of your substrate, where the pigment then binds to the substrate.
Different types of digital printing inks work better with different substrates. This means you need to choose a print provider that knows exactly which of their inks work well with the substrates they can print on. Luckily, ink manufacturers work tirelessly to design their inks to be as compatible with as many different substrates as possible. If you must have a specific type of ink with a specific type of substrate, even if they’re not compatible, some printers can apply a primer to that substrate to make it happen.
Types of Digital Printing Inks
- When it comes to carrier liquids, most digital printing inks are water-based, or aqueous. It’s popular because it’s both sustainable and the least expensive, but it does require the carrier liquid to be dried once it helps deliver the pigment to whatever media you’re printing on. Aqueous inks are best printed on coated media to prevent the water from soaking into the substrate as well.
- Other types of digital printing inks include latex-based inks. These inks use polymer resin to encase the pigment which then in turn makes it easier for that pigment to bond to the substrate. They’re also known for using water-based carrier liquids, which means that it takes a lot to remove water content so the inks can cure properly, but latex ink is both scratch resistant and durable for outdoor use as a tradeoff.
- Yet another type of digital printing ink is solvent-based ink. The solvent does double duty – it’s both the liquid carrier for the pigment and as a treatment for the substrate surface, as it helps soften the surface for the ink colorants to penetrate. The colorants left behind once the solvent evaporates have an almost etched look offering a robust finish. Solvent-based inks are also highly compatible with many different substrates, even uncoated ones!
- Another interesting development in digital printing inks are those that will cure under ultraviolet light. UV-curable inks will dry instantly under UV light, allowing them to be finished or cut out immediately. There’s no need for a carrier liquid for these kinds of inks as a result. They are also capable of curing to some of the toughest surfaces out there, such as wood and PVC, making them fantastic for outdoor signs.
- Finally, there are also hybrid inks, which are digital printing inks that combine the best features of different types. An example of this would be a solvent-based ink that’s also curable under UV light. Most of these inks are experimental, but before long these advanced inks will likely be available at your friendly local print shop.
Finding the Right Digital Printing Inks for Your Print Project
If you’re interested in a print run for your business, digital printing inks are an excellent choice for just about any marketing method. Whether you’re putting together direct mailers, brochures, in-store signage, or anything else you need, digital printing is versatile and affordable – as long as you’ve got the right print partner at your side!
This is where Las Vegas Color Graphics comes in. As the Las Vegas area’s community print provider for more than 40 years, Las Vegas Color Graphics has one of the best digital print studios in the entire region. Our skilled and experienced staff will help you understand which digital printing inks are perfect for your next project, as well as what types of substrates are ideal for those types of inks. Don’t delay – contact us today to get started!