Sihl AG has developed new media for HP latex ink is designed to reduce the adverse health and environmental impact of printing with solvent inks.
The Germany-based company has developed new wet-strength poster papers that can be used with eco-friendlier latex inks and the HP Design-Jet Latex printer series ( L65500, L25500, LX 600 and LX800).
The multi-purpose Post-2-Cure Papers (125, 180 and blueback 125) linked to HP's new latex inks and print technology enable digital service providers to produce weather and water resistant prints compatible with results from real solvent inks.
"This new technology is an important development landmark for the digital imaging print market. The challenge has been to deliver an alternative technology alongside UV curing—a system which has some question marks—and solvents, which have also had question marks for a long time," said Stefan Bruch, product manager, Sihl. "This really is 'next generation' technology. Our papers, in conjunction with HP print and latex ink expertise now can produce prints that are less damaging to health and the environment but still guarantee high quality and productivity."
He added: "Solvents can be harmful, especially if you spend all day in a print room with them. And UV curing inks also present challenges with occasional paper cracking.
It is possible to get good print results with solvent ink compatible media but the printed image is not scratch resistant because it is weak on the surface and often not weather resistant. Our established Trisolve range focuses on solvent ink and UV curing inks to provide photo-realistic image quality which is good, but not water resistant. Our latest solution; the Post-2-Cure range, used with the new HP latex film is flexible and far more environmentally friendly.
"The solvent in this formulation doesn't evaporate in the same way as traditional solvent inks—and that means you don't breathe it in. The new latex technology avoids many of the disadvantages of solvent inks; the odor, their accumulation in inhaled air and the poor drying property of inks where there is a lack of ventilation and additional heating.
The high water content substantially reduces the unpleasant odor of latex inks but the resultant prints compare very favorably with those printed with solvent ink systems in terms of picture quality and durability."
Latex printing enables printing on numerous materials and Sihl says its Post-2-Cure papers are optimally suited for both indoor and general outdoor advertising.
Added Bruch: "These wet-strength, bright white poster papers are particularly recommended for the billboard sector. This is a great application for small print studios too. If they use a latex machine they can print water resistant finished products but they can also use water ink compatible media or solvent ink compatible media—this means complete versatility from one printer."