Solvent is a term used to describe any ink that is not water-based. "Eco-Solvent" inks usually contain glycol esters or glycol ether esters and are slower drying. The resulting prints are waterproof. May be used to print directly on uncoated vinyl and other media. The solvents soften the base material and allow the ink pigments to mechanically latch on to the chemically etched surface. Certain ink manufacturers have different bite based on what solvent carriers they use. Which is what makes solvent ink prints more durable than aqueous inks. However, solvent inks give off strong odor or fumes when drying, as the carrier fluid dissipates through applied heat from the printer's platen. The are various levels of solvent ink range from "True or Full Solvent" to "Medium/Mild Solvent" all the way down to "Eco-Solvent". The fume and odour levels decrease accordingly, so does the surface etch of the base material. Full to Medium/Mild Solvents require fume extraction to be considered safe in the working environment. Most Eco-Solvents can be used in an office environment with minimal or tolerable odor levels.
A type of radiation-curing ink that dries, or "sets," with the application of ultraviolet light. UV curing ink vehicles are composed of fluid oligomers (small polymers), monomers (light-weight molecules that bind together to form polymers), and initiators that, when exposed to ultraviolet radiation, release free radicals (extremely reactive atoms or molecules that can destabilize other atoms or molecules and start rapid chain reactions) that cause the polymerization of the vehicle, which hardens to a dry ink film containing the pigment. UV curing inks are designed to replace heatset inks whose solvents emit potentially toxic gaseous emissions. However, UV curing inks are as much as three times the cost of regular heatset inks, and are used only in specialty printing, such as liquor cartons, cosmetic packaging, screen printing, flexography, product prototypes and promotional items.
FABRIC SUBLIMATION TRANSFER
Dye-sublimation printing is a digital printing technology using full color artwork that works with polyester and polymer-coated substrates. Also referred to as digital sublimation, the process is commonly used for decorating apparel, signs and banners, as well as novelty items such as cell phone covers, plaques, coffee mugs, and other items with sublimation-friendly surfaces. The process uses the science of sublimation, in which heat and pressure are applied to a solid, turning it into a gas through an endothermic reaction without passing through the liquid phase.
In sublimation printing, unique sublimation dyes are transferred to sheets of “transfer” paper via liquid gel ink through a piezoelectric print head. The ink is deposited on these high-release inkjet papers, which are used for the next step of the sublimation printing process. After the digital design is printed onto sublimation transfer sheets, it is placed on a heat press along with the substrate to be sublimated.
The end result of the sublimation process is a nearly permanent, high resolution, full color print. Because the dyes are infused into the substrate at the molecular level, rather than applied at a topical level (such as with screen printing and direct to garment printing), the prints will not crack, fade or peel from the substrate under normal conditions.