Also at the EcoPrint, Ricoh showcased some of its technology including the Pro L4000 featuring next generation piezo-electric print heads, latex inks, and a 7-color ink set: CMYKcm+white. Available in two sizes – 54 and 64 inches – the L4000 offers multiple jetting printhead technology to produce three different drop sizes simultaneously (as small as 4 pL) and output speeds up to 195 sq ft/hr. Slated to be available in North America and Europe in Q1 2013, it offers extensive media support on a range of substrates, Ricoh reported.
The Semantics of Marketing
When is eco not ecological? Anything with the word water in it sounds “green.” Solvents contain chemicals. In scientific terms, the word solvent is derived from the Latin solvo, “I loosen, untie, I solve.” So a solvent is a substance that dissolves a solute -- a chemically different liquid, solid or gas -- resulting in a solution. Solvent ink is a relatively inexpensive type of ink made to work in inkjet printers. In the world of ink, the term solvent is used to mean any ink that is not made with a water base; solvent inks are pigment inks.
In the not-so-distant past, most display media was made of vinyl, and the solvent in the inks used to print them helps the pigments bind with the vinyl. This binding makes the printed outdoor display durable enough to render them impervious to the elements and not easily fade.
By contrast, water-based inks are dye inks. The rap on aqueous- or water-based inks used to be their lack of durability. But that changed about five years ago, when the durability of latex prints improved along with image quality.
‘Eco-solvent:’ In the middle
Somewhere in between water-based and solvent inks, eco-solvent is a form of the non-water based ink that is made from ether extracts taken from refined mineral oil. However, the cognitive implication of the term “eco,” which brings to mind the idea of an ecologically sound product, is an inaccurate assumption when applied to this form of solvent ink, according to the website eHow.com. Neither the material used in making it nor the creation process are ecologically conscious choices.
Eco-solvents also are known as soft or mild ink, and as such they are bogged down by slower dry times and the not-so-ecological need for multiple heaters in the printer.
A primary benefit of HP latex ink is not having to wait 24 hours before it is fully dry, as FLAAR Reports pointed out: “With solvent inks, they may be dry to the touch but are not completely dry until 24 hours. If you roll-up a solvent print for shipping, it will outgas and stink with a wretched odor once you install it even weeks later (since the pent-up smell of the solvents do not dissipate if the material is rolled up tight).”
But HP latex ink are stated to be fully dry once they leave the printer. In theory, prints could be laminated immediately. HP Designjet and HP Scitex Printers with latex inks use internal radiant heaters and forced airflow to cure the inks inside the printer to produce dry, ready-to-use prints.
Reproducing Michelangelo’s “Creation of Adam” with HP Latex
Osmand Signs of Auckland, New Zealand has been in business since 1954, specializing in vehicle wraps and building signage. The company recently completed one of the most unusual jobs in its near 60-year history. Client Samsung challenged the boutique shop to deliver a 19.6 ft. x 44.2 ft. reproduction of Michelangelo’s “Creation of Adam” on a brick wall in the heart of Auckland’s central business district.
“The twist with this job was to paint over the mural with the same color as the bricks to conceal the image,” says Keith Ellis, one of two directors who run the business. “They wanted us to erect the mural and then paint over it so they could do a slow reveal to make it look like someone had actually painted the image directly onto the bricks. That’s how good the quality is with the HP Latex prints. The print really looked like a painting and our client was impressed with the final installation.”
The mural was printed on an HP Designjet L25500 Printer with HP Latex Inks using Arlon 6000XRP vinyl substrate and a matte laminate. Printed in 12 drops, the sign was applied to the brick wall and painted over with washable acrylic paint.
It took Michelangelo four years to paint the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel and the “Creation of Adam” is one of the most recognized images of his masterpiece. Osmand Signs printed the 12 panels over an eight hour shift and installed the following day.