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What is eco-solvent printing?

What is eco-solvent printing?

​When you’re looking to print and produce high-quality images, there’s a never-ending number of options. Which printer to use, what type of ink cartridge to purchase and what material to print upon? A further decision you’ll need to contemplate is whether you want your printing to be eco-solvent.

When you’re looking to print and produce high-quality images, there’s a never-ending number of options. Which printer to use, what type of ink cartridge to purchase and what material to print upon? A further decision you’ll need to contemplate is whether you want your printing to be eco-solvent. Not sure what this is? Here we explain.

The benefits of eco-solvent printing

Eco-solvent inks have their colours suspended in a mild biodegradable solvent, which means that the ink has virtually no odour as they don’t contain as many volatile organic compounds. They’ve been around since the early 2000s and originally were designed for general signage work.

The lack of smell is a real plus point for eco-solvent inks. In some solvent inks not only do you get a strong smell during the printing process, meaning you need to consider the placement of your printer, but they can also leave an odour on the printed material itself. This can rule out printing onto material which will be displayed or used indoors.

Having less volatile organic compounds also means that the eco-solvent printing cartridges are not so damaging, or deteriorating, to your printer components and as such you won’t need to do full system cleans quite so often – although as with any type of printing you will need to do regular cleaning and maintenance of your printer from time to time.

Eco-solvent printing does require more heat in order to dry and this can affect the type of material you can print on. What’s more, the ink is not as durable as solvent inks. While it’s adequate for outdoor printing work, it’s best to only use it for applications which need to last a year or two.

Choosing between solvent and eco-solvent print

While there are clearly a number of benefits to eco-solvent printing, it may be that for the type of printing you wish to do, choosing eco-solvent ink may not be right for you.

As we have already touched upon, eco-solvent ink is not ideal for all types of material due to the heat required to dry it. If you need to use thin, cheap vinyl then solvent ink would be better.

If cost is a factor, you should be aware that eco-solvent inks are more expensive than solvent inks, due to the number of benefits that you get with eco-solvent printing. However, they are widely used by businesses and individuals who are just starting out, or who have a medium-sized printing need. Industrial printing is still typically done with solvent inks.

Finally, you’ll need to check what type of ink is compatible with your large format printer. If you know from the outset that you wish to use eco-solvent inks, you need to ensure that they are compatible with your printer.

If you are unsure whether your printer is compatible or if you just want some further information about eco-solvent printing, then don’t hesitate to call us today. Our team of experts will be happy to help.

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