3M™ Comply™ Adhesive: 3M™ brand name for air egress technology, channels for air removal are slightly visible.
3M™ Comply™ v3 Adhesive: 3M™ brand name for air egress technology, channels for air removal are not visible.
3M™ Controltac™ Graphic Film: 3M™ brand name for films with pressure activated adhesive that is slideable and repositionable.
3M™ Scotchcal™ Graphic Film: 3M™ brand name for films with pressure sensitive adhesive that bonds upon contact.
3M™ Scotchcal™ Overlaminate: 3M™ brand name for a transparent film that can enhance or change the finish of a product and provide resistance to dirt and UV light.
Air Egress Vinyl characteristic that allow air bubbles to escape through channels in the adhesive as the film is being applied.
Bus King/Queen: Used in association with graphic films approved for use on transit vehicles, king/queen refers to various bus sizes and the required graphic dimensions.
- Bus King Trim Size: 30” x 144”, Super King Trim Size: 30” x 240”
- Bus Queen Trim Size: 30” x 88”, Super Queen Trim Size: 30” x 108”
Changeable Adhesive: Can be removed without heat or chemicals, leaves minimal residue.
Compound Curves: Surface with three dimensional curves.
Conformable: Feature in some graphic films that allows it to conform around curves and rivets.
Permanent Adhesive: Not intended to be removed.
Pressure Activated Adhesive: Slideable until firm pressure is applied.
Pressure Sensitive Adhesive: Adheres upon contact to the substrate, does not slide and cannot be repositioned.
Removable Adhesive: Can be removed with heat leaving minimal residue, in some instances chemicals are also required for removal.
Repositionable: Easy to remove and reapply without heat or aid, in some instances firm pressure can eliminate this feature.
Simple Curves: Surface with a double dimensional curve.
Slideable: Film slides easily across a substrate while positioning for an application, adhesive is activated by applying pressure.
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- Solvent Ink
- Eco-Solvent Ink (Mild Solvent)
- HP Latex Inks
- Epson UltraChrome GS Eco-Solvent Inks
- UV Inks
- Aqueous Ink
Inks that use a carrier made of various chemicals that penetrate material, but evaporate quickly. Printers using solvent-based inks emit
Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) and should be ventilated. Can also be referred to as hard, or true solvents.
Solvent ink is considered to be the back bone of the digital inkjet printing industry for outdoor signage.
It is the standard for vehicle warps and banners.
- Fast drying time, does not require use of external heat. 6-24 hour curing time
- Able to print on a wide range of materials
- Scratch/water resistant; long term outdoor durability
- High color gamut
- Due to the high level of emitted VOC, solvent printers must be used in a well ventilated area.
Solvent Printer Examples:
Mimaki JV5 Series, Mimaki JV33 Series, Mimaki JV3 Series, Mimaki CJV3 Series, HP 8000/9000/10000 Printers, Seiko Colorpainter
Eco-Solvent (Mild Solvent)
Inks using less toxic solvent-based carrier. Printers using eco-solvent inks emit less harmful VOCs (volatile organic compounds).
Mild solvent inks combine the durability advantages of true solvent ink with the environmental advantages of water-based ink.
- Less need for special ventilation
- Lesser wear and tear on printer components, such as print heads
- Cost is comparable to solvent-based ink
- Durability is comparable to solvent-based ink
- Due to less aggressive solvent, more drying time is required to adhere to materials
- Does not print on variety of materials as true solvent (like rigid PVC or high gloss materials)
- Often printers have a slower speed
Printers that can utilize mild solvent ink sets are some of the same printers that traditionally run solvent inks.
However the two ink types cannot be interchanged. Once printer is setup to run mild-solvent, it can only run mild-solvent ink, it cannot go both ways.
Eco-Solvent Printer Examples:
Roland Soljet, Roland VersaCAMM, Mutoh Valuejet, Mimaki JV33 Series, Mimaki CJV3 Series
HP Latex Inks
A new type of water-borne inkjet inks developed by HP designed for outdoor wide-format printing applications. The inks contain about 70% water,
30% co-solvents, pigments and latex polymer particles that form a film and bind with substrates with the application of heat.
HP's Latex inks have no odor.
Latex inks use a 6 color printing mode; CMYK plus Light Cyan and Light Magenta.
Water based ink with comparable performance to low-solvent ink.
HP Latex prints achieve up to three years display permanence when left unlaminated,
five years when laminated, and provide scratch, smudge, and water resistance comparable to low-solvent inks.
- Latex printers require no special ventilation whatsoever
- Latex inks have been tested on a wide variety of coated/uncoated materials with success, including vinyl, banner, fabrics, and paper substrates
- Due to quick drying, prints can be handled or laminated immediately after completion, thus producing less turnaround time in a production environment
- Evaporation rate is much slower, and required more heat to cure. This requires more precise profile tuning for specific materials
HP Latex Printer Examples:
HP L25500, HP Lx600, HP LX850
Epson UltraChrome GS Eco-Solvent Inks
High-performance, solvent-based ink technology, developed by Epson with stunning color gamut and accuracy, while having less impact on the environment,
due to low VOCs.
Epson GS Ink is available in 8 colors: Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, Black, Light Cyan, Light Magenta, Orange and Green.
- Prints on virtually any solvent based media, coated or uncoated
- Superior scratch resistance
- Fast dry times eliminate the need for external dryers
- No special ventilation required
- Due to 8 colors; color gamut is very wide
- Zig-zag color pattern reduces banding
Epson UltraChrome GS Eco-Solvent Printer Examples:
Epson Stylus Pro GS6000
UV-curable inks are "cured" once they are exposed to wavelengths of UV light. the ink consists of a photo initiator, and when exposed to the UV light, it
undergoes a chemical process that transforms the ink into a solid film that tightly adheres directly onto the substrate's surface.
Essentially, during the curing process, the ink is transformed into a thin layer of plastic that acts as a top layer to the substrate
it has been applied to.
The flatbed printing industry is dominated by UV Inks.
UV Inks have the distinction from solvent inks based on their capability to print directly onto rigid substrates.
Due to color and hardness, it is ideal for outdoor signage.
- Typically cheaper per ft/squared than solvent
- UV Ink system is environmentally friendly, containing little to no solvents
- Little to no odor
- Faster print speeds reduce production cost
- Due to ink being cured into a film, it is ideal for outdoor durable signage
- Unlike solvent printers, flatbed printers utilize UV Ink technology to print directly to rigid materials
- Instant curing allows for handling of material as soon as it leaves printer; allowing for faster turnaround in production environment
- UV Inks are better for the equipment itself, as it will not harden within the print components, but rather only when cured onto the material it is
being applied to
- Does have capability to print on vinyl and banner, with the appropriate application
- UV Ink does not work with all substrates
- Finish of the ink is considered flat or matte
- UV Ink is not ideal for applications with high level of abrasion
- Lower image resolution than roll-to-roll printers
- UV Ink is less flexible than other ink systems, due to the cured ink being more brittle
UV Ink Printer Examples:
HP FB Flatbed Series, Mimaki JF=1631/10, Mimaki UJV-160 Hybrid
Inks that use water as a carrier. Aqueous inks may contain dyes or pigments as colorants.
Traditional water-based inks are widely used for photographic printing and short-term indoor signage applications.
Aqueous inks can utilize 8 color sets, up to a 12 color ink set; blue, green, magenta, red, yellow, gray, photo black, matte black, light cyan,
light gray, light magenta, gloss enhancer.
Aqueous inks print on a different set of medias, known as coated medias, due to the way the inks dry on the surface of the material.
- Due to high color gamut, aqueous inks can produce photo quality prints
- Ink chemicals pose little to no health risks, in comparison to solvent inks
- Aqueous ink applications typically are not appropriate for durable outdoor signage
- The dye-based colorants have a tendency to fade over time
Aqueous Ink Printer Examples:
HP Designjet Z6100, Z3200, Z2100
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