Latex or eco-solvent? The answer is, it depends What's better: latex or eco-solvent?

Latex or eco-solvent? The answer is, it depends What's better: latex or eco-solvent?

It's an argument that's been doing the rounds in wide-format sign and display circles since 2006, when the impact of solvent-based machines on the environment really started to come under scrutiny.

It's an argument that's been doing the rounds in wide-format sign and display circles since 2006, when the impact of solvent-based machines on the environment really started to come under scrutiny. For a few years, the feeling was that solvent inks were bad for the environment because of their impact on the recyclability of media and the fumes released into the production space. However, the tide has turned and it's not as cut and dried as that. 

Looking at ecological impact has to take into account many variables. Early generation Latex machines might have had better credentials than eco-solvent when it came to the ink itself but the temperature on the printer's curing unit needed to run high to finish the print. However, the latest Latex 300 series machines have fixed this problem and provide the benefit of being able to finish or apply prints immediately, whereas many solvent-based products still require outgassing before use. That's why Latex users are particularly happy, not only with the TCO (total cost of ownership) of their machines, but also with the practical and time-saving measures they provide. 

Does that mean that eco-solvent options – for example, from Epson – aren't worth the investment? Not at all. Epson and other manufacturers point out that the adhesion and colour quality on eco-solvent machines are superior and that power consumption, depending on various factors, can be lower. The popular Epson SureColor SC-S70600 offers beautiful quality for outdoor applications and gives really effective graduations for skin tone and complex design reproduction, while even the entry-level SureColor SC-S30600 gives excellent results on a range of roll media and is even Energy Star qualified. 

The fact is that the debate is wide-ranging and it depends on what you want to produce, with what regularlity and turnaround, and on which media. And the best way to settle that is by giving our specialist sales team a shout – call us on 0845 680 9000, or use our handy contact form here.

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