Tackling the 3 Most Common Myths Around Eco Solvent Inks

When planning a printing job, your choice of ink is one of the biggest decisions you’ll make. Ink will have an enormous bearing on both the cost and quality of your final output. Eco-solvent ink has seen rapid growth in its use since it emerged in the early 2000s signage work. The inks were a response to the disadvantages of strong solvent inks, especially on the need to have efficient ventilation and fume extraction to protect operators from respiratory harm. 

Eco-solvent inks can be used in office and studio environments with basic, average ventilation systems. The inks don’t emit a strong odor and are suitable for indoor signage and graphics. They don’t corrode inkjet components and nozzles as rapidly as solvent inks so they don’t demand frequent cleaning. For more in-depth info, read about eco-solvent inks on https://www.needham-ink.com/wide-format-inks/eco-solvent-inks/

Nevertheless, there remain plenty of misconceptions around this type of ink, especially when compared to latex ink. Latex ink, thanks in large part to printer behemoth HP, has seen a diverse application that has often been used to support claims on its superiority. However, a closer look at the two ink types reveals that a lot of beliefs around eco-solvent ink are simply not true. 

Here are some of the more widespread myths on eco-solvent ink and why they are inaccurate.

Myth 1: Eco-Solvent Ink Color Quality is Inferior

Eco-solvent inks have a wider color range when compared to latex, thereby delivering an outstanding finish and superior results. This advantage is especially apparent when working with green, cyan, magenta, orange, and bright red hues.

Eco-solvent inks also have a glossier feel because they interact more directly with substrate fibers, thus effectively taking on the substrate’s attributes. The result is a vivid appearance that’s more visually appealing than the dull, matte surface of latex ink. It delivers smoother gradations, a less grainy feel and finer details. You need more latex ink to realize the same color depth as eco-solvent ink. Latex scores especially poorly in the depth of black and reflective characteristics of eco-solvent inks. 

Eco-solvent inks are better suited for the outdoors and, unlike latex inks, don’t require lamination to extend their lifespan, shield them from the elements and reduce fading.

Myth 2: Eco Solvent Inks Take Ages to Cure and Dry

Latex inks are generally fast drying. However, this generic trait masks significant variations in latex ink drying and curing times depending on the saturation, substrate, and application of the ink. On the other hand, the time it takes for eco-solvent ink is significantly shorter than perceived. In any case, even if it is true that latex ink dries somewhat faster, the quality and versatility of output should outweigh drying speed considerations.

In addition, latex ink printers usually experience difficulty curing and drying the ink onto a surface’s edges. Eco-solvent inks are much more consistent in curing properly, even when high ink loads are involved. There’s no wastage in the target surface’s outer margins, which means maximum utilization of the usable area. 

Myth 3: Eco Solvent Inks Are Bad for the Environment

If nothing else, the name ‘eco-solvent’ should suggest that claims these types of inks are harmful to the environment just aren’t true. That being said, this myth has found traction thanks to the legitimate concern on solvent inks releasing volatile organic compounds (VOCs) into the atmosphere. Eco solvents are materially different from solvent inks since they are made from non-aggressive solvents and have a much lower content of VOCs.

Eco solvents are thick and that means less ink is needed on average per print job. On the other hand, latex inks are cured as they pass through the printer which creates a substantial degree of environmental pollution since they require a large amount of curing energy than eco solvents.

Eco-solvent inks won’t be the most appropriate option in every single situation. Relative to strong solvent inks, they have traditionally scored poorly on pricing and scratch resistance. There has been progressive improvement of eco-solvent inks over the last decade though and some of the disadvantages relative to latex and strong solvent inks are narrowing. Still, by knowing the facts around the different inks, you’ll have the correct information you need to make the right decision.

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