Written by Meredith Terrall

Ever since Encad introduced the Novajet in 1991, the large format printing industry has been decorating our sports complexes, wrapping our high rises, wrapping our delivery vehicles and defining outdoor music festivals. All this has been done by “squirting” little droplets of ink onto papers, canvas, synthetics and textiles…a technology called Inkjet.

Until recently, inkjet technology utilized a variety of ink chemistries:

Aqueous Ink – Water-based ink that’s ideal for fine art and photographic applications, including photo paper, posters, canvas and other indoor materials. This type of ink can also be used for outdoor applications if there is no longevity requirement.

Solvent Ink – This ink type is the industry standard for printing banners, decals and vehicle wraps because of its cost-effectiveness and high quality. Solvent ink creates high-quality print results, but may need proper ventilation when printing to reduce VOCs and fully ‘gas-out’ after printing.

UV-Curable Ink – With instant curing once exposed to ultraviolet light and no ‘gas-out’ time, this ink creates high-quality prints on an extremely wide variety of substrates that are ready to be handled immediately after printing. UV ink is ideal for front/backlit vinyl and fabric, labels, vehicle wraps, soft signage and more.

Latex – Applicable for many indoor and outdoor applications, latex inks require heat and subsequently can be difficult for some substrates to handle.

With each of these technologies having their specific strengths, they also had many limitations.

There has recently been a product developed to combine all the strengths of each of those technologies and eliminate their limitations to serve as a single source solution...UVgel technology.

UInlike the old technologies, UVgel:

  • Dries instantly on contact with the media resulting in precise dot placement and NO dot gain for more consistent high quality images
  • Combines a large color gamut of solvent inks with environmental benefits and safety features of latex inks.
  • Has an ultrathin ink dispersion with almost no discernible physical profile and much lower ink consumption than comparable eco-solvent and latex systems.

These new features have changed the game for all types of production:

Outdoor Banners – Scratch resistant pigments, exceptional wide color gamut , long outdoor durability

Indoor POP – No heat curing for high speed prints on inexpensive heat sensitive media

Wall Coverings – Unsurpassed color consistency across panels with no dot gain

Floor Graphics – Dry instantly for no curing before lamination

Backlit Graphics – No more intermediate curing

The combination of better inks, faster production, and higher quality printing is changing the way the world looks…one ball game, outdoor concert, delivery truck at a time. Be sure to experience UVgel if you get the chance.

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