In large format and graphics printing, you are likely to come across terms like ‘latex’ and ‘eco-solvent’. Knowing the difference can help you choose the right printing method for your projects. Your choice may even impact your long-term printing costs, especially when investing in a new printer and considering the price and quality of eco solvent and HP Latex ink cartridges. Here is a guide to get you started.
Just like a desktop inkjet printer, the latex printer uses print heads to deliver the water-based inks on the media, serving as the carrier for color pigments. Heat will dry the latex as it leaves the printer so the output dries fast and can immediately be applied or rolled after printing. The results are known for their durability, longevity, and environmentally friendly qualities.
Latex ink is particularly versatile and capable of printing across many applications. The printer itself automatically calibrates and performs maintenance on its own, allowing you to print for a wide range of projects, including drawings, backlit graphics, wall murals, banners, stickers, window graphics and promotional materials, trade show signage, and posters.
For the longest time, eco-solvent printing has been used for producing high-quality graphics and signage. The color of eco solvent ink is suspended in mild biodegradable solvent to keep it odor-free and to reduce its amount of volatile organic compounds. The absence of strong smells is found to be advantageous, so you can place your eco solvent printer anywhere, even indoors.
Less VOCs also means that the eco solvent ink cartridges are not as damaging to the components of the printer. As a result, you do not have to clean the system too often. That said, you still need to perform regular maintenance and cleaning occasionally to keep your printer in good shape.
Benefits of Latex Printing
Both latex and eco solvent ink printing will provide excellent color and image quality that is almost photo-realistic. However, in terms of durability and scratch-resistance, Latex ink is more superior, even without treatment. With eco-solvent prints, lamination is usually a step further to complete the production of graphics to prevent the print from getting easily scratched.
We mentioned earlier that eco solvent inks have a minimal amount of VOCs. Despite the small amount, it can still be hazardous when printing in poorly ventilated indoor environments. That’s why their ink cartridges typically carry the ‘dangerous goods’ logo. As for latex inks, they contain many components, but none are hazardous in volumes used to print or in the inks themselves. Moreover, HP has designed their inks to comply with the highest safety regulations.
Benefits of Eco Solvent Inks
That said, you should not completely dismiss eco solvent printing. No matter what ink or printer you choose it is important to check whether they adhere to top environmental and safety standards. Moreover, you might want to consider setting up your printer in a well-ventilated area and make your staff wear protective masks to prevent them from inhaling VOCs.
Eco solvent inks offer cost-effective graphics and large format printing. Just make sure that you are using appropriate media for it, particularly a material that is heat-resistant. Keep in mind that they require heat to dry.
Whether you are considering eco-solvent or Latex ink printing, be sure to get them only from reputable sources. At Bink Inks, you can find a wide selection of replacement eco solvent ink cartridges for Roland, Mutoh and Mimaki Printers. We offer a good selection of American-made high-quality replacement inks at competitive prices, and designed to meet OEM quality standards. We carefully test all cartridges to make sure that they are compatible with your printer, and we check them for quality and performance before they are professionally packed and shipped to you.