A Little Drop of Ink

Science has always intrigued me. While I’m not a big fan of the “squishy bits” of science—I still get a little grossed out from that frog dissection in ninth grade—I am very fascinated by how things work so that everything all comes together in the end.

So when it comes time to look at some of the more technical aspects of this industry, rather than making my eyes glaze over, it piques my curiosity to see how it all works. For instance, I was recently at the HP Global Leadership Summit at the HP Experience Center outside of Atlanta, and Dr. Ross Allen, senior technology specialist, Imaging and Printing Group, explained some of the ins and outs of the new HP HDR240 Scitex Inks that work hand-in-hand with the new HP Scitex FB10000 Industrial Press. To me, at least, it was interesting to see how the inks are formulated—in a general way—so they can jet reliably and consistently. I find it intriguing to see what goes into the make-up of an ink in order to get it to stick to the media without clogging up the head; bend without cracking; stretch, elongate, and contract on media used for vehicle wraps; and withstand some pretty tough environmental conditions without fading away.

So while this month’s Annual Ink Report (starting on page 11) feature on wide- and grand-format inkjet inks doesn’t get down to the nitty-gritty of the technical science of why inks work, it does focus on some of the trends going on in this important segment of the industry.

Industry experts seem pretty pleased with the current state of the industry—and sales are up, which means PSPs are printing. Ink sales is always a good indicator of how the market is doing. More print jobs mean more ink and consumables are used, which means (hopefully, if PSPs are correctly charging for their services) that PSP sales numbers are increasing. Higher sales volumes make healthier companies, and healthy companies make a strong industry.

So while we might complain about the cost of ink—or even take it for granted at times—we also are well aware that without it, the industry at large would find it difficult, if not impossible, to exist.

And to think, it all starts with a little drop of ink.