Printers continue to find new and exciting ways to amp up their businesses by adding new and unique products and services. One of these value added items is specialty inks. Some PSPs have delved into the market of the newest brand of specialty inks to increase their bottom lines and to give customers an innovative option to their printing jobs. Some popular products include white, clear, neon, and metallic inks. Our experts weigh in on using non-standard inks in the wide-format industry.
Oftentimes, when PSPs make changes to their repertoire, there are also changes made in their business practices, processes, and equipment.
Reed Hecht, product manager of Professional Imaging at Epson America Inc. addresses this issue.
“With the recently announced Epson SureColor S50670 and S70670, we are offering Metallic Silver (S70670) and High Density White ink (S70670/S50670) options,” says Hecht. “These new inks are different in their formulation from the standard color inks and provide signage and fine art customers with new options for printing on clear materials with the White ink or creating unique signs and fine art with the Metallic Silver ink.“
“New and unique from Epson, the Metallic Silver ink leverages all-new Small Particle Aluminum technology to allow the SureColor S70670 to create a shiny, silver effect and produce true metallic prints in virtually any color.”
Patrick Ryan, general manager at Seiko Instruments USA Inc. discusses specialty inks used for its ColorPainter printers. “Neon yellow and neon pink; that’s a specialty ink. Those inks are not neon like neon shirts, but an ink that can be used under black light. These are often used by night clubs, casinos, amusement parks, laser tag, bowling centers, and more.
When it comes to designing for the use of specialty ink, Ryan says that there are some changes made in the way prepress must prepare for printing with specialty inks although the changes are minimal.
“There’s a slight modification so you can print the neon inks with the CMYK inks. It’s easy and automatic to configure. Designers simply have to create separate channels or spot colors that will be sent to the printer.”
Hecht continues, “Epson’s high density White ink enables smaller sign shops to utilize the color white on clear media at a competitive price point without some of the negative factors previously associated with White ink, such as being slow and cumbersome.”
Mark Greeves, director of sales and marketing at Color-Logic offers his point of view: “Specialty inks differ from standard inks in several important respects. White inks must be very opaque, since they are often used to obscure a colored substrate or to provide an underlying layer on which an image can be printed when a clear substrate is to be used. Metallic inks, because they have a fairly high concentration of aluminum or other metallic material, can cause problems in some inkjet printer mechanisms.”
When changing processes or adding new services, PSPs can expect changes in costing. The experts discuss how adding specialty inks may change the bottom line.
Hecht says, “We recognize that not all customers want or need specialty inks. Customers can choose at the time of installation to install these inks or to run the printer without these inks for a color-only configuration. Whether the printer is installed with or without the specialty inks, the cost of the unit is the same to customers.
Greeves states, “Because of the low volumes of metallic inks and opaque white inks presently sold, plus the different compounding required, these inks are destined to be more expensive in the foreseeable future. Another factor, generally overlooked, is that graphic designers are not trained in school to use metallic inks. This often leads to expensive press trials and prepress rework in production.”