Initially, solvent-based inks were preferred for printing purposes because of several benefits including drying fast, which allows increased press speed as compared to UV inks and water-based inks. But now water-based and UV inks have come a very long way. Moreover, solvent-based inks are inflammable and require proper storage, handling, and disposal. With the advancement in technology water-based and UV inks have become the choice of most printing companies. It is because these inks changeovers are easy and quick moreover advancements have made press speed increased. Moreover, these inks will sit perfectly on the packaging. but nothing is perfect, if something comes up with advantages it also has some drawbacks that cannot be ignored.
Let’s have a look at the pros and cons of both technologies and then you can decide yourself what you want to choose, water-based high-speed ink or UV ink:
Digital Water-based high-speed ink
With water-based ink, no incineration is required to exhaust vapors moreover it has low VOCs. As they are not flammable so there are no special requirements for storage or handling. Water-based high-speed ink is more stable than solvent-based inks on the press. When running, water-based inks need low maintenance as its components are volatile that evaporate quickly. You can easily clean it with soap and water.
With advanced water-based inks, you can enjoy even stronger adhesion qualities. With few modifications, these can also be used on most of the flexo presses. Water-based inks can prove very effective in marketing for brands that are environmentally conscious.
Here are some products that you can print using water-based inks:
• For printing flexible packaging materials
• For pressure-sensitive labels
• Snacks and food packs
• Pouches and wrappers
• Film and foil lidding materials
• Folding cartons and corrugated containers
• Tags, forms and envelopes
• Most types of papers
While choosing water-based inks there are some things you need to consider. These are as follows:
• For maximizing drying, enhanced drying ink systems work best that use impinged air of high velocity.
• Ink wetting is provided by surface plates (textured).
• For full adhesion and durability to develop it requires 24 hours.
• By applying heat you can accelerate ink cure on the press.
• For cleaning up this ink you can use water and soap.
Benefits of Digital Water-based high-speed ink
Digital water-based high-speed ink is beneficial in several ways. Let’s have a look at some of the benefits of water-based inks:
• It is completely safe to use this ink near food; it can be made direct contact with food.
• For making image 2.1 Pico liters is the smaller size of the droplet that requires less ink and creates a higher resolution image.
• It comes up with low maintenance changes. You can have a resolution of new matching by just changing the inkjet heads.
• Water-based ink does not have any odor and can be used wherever you want as it has very low migration.
Drawbacks of water-based inks
Some drawbacks are also associated with water-based inks, which are as follows:
• Sometimes it is difficult to apply this ink on certain substrates.
• For water-based inks, it requires regular cleaning which leads to high cost with time.
The popularity of UV inks has been rising day by day, and there are several reasons behind its popularity. UV inks are used mainly for indoor applications for example signage, posters, POP displays, and window graphics. It is safe to use for printing both rigid and flexible materials. You can print the following products using UV inks:
• Composite or foam-based materials
• Several unconventional substrates
As these products can be printed using UV inks, it has novel application in niche markets and industries. With the help of UV inks, you can print directly on rigid material so there is no need to worry about equipment and labor costs of lamination and mounting. When a drop is placed on printing material, it is hardened instantly by LED/UV light polymerization. By this process, a durable layer is formed on the printing surface.
Benefits of UV inks
UV inks are very beneficial some of its benefits are as follows:
• The curing process requires only one second, which makes it preferable to use.
• With the help of UV inks, you can reduce energy consumption and production time.
• UV inks have low viscosity and do not penetrate the media, so you need less ink and because of this reason, it is very cost-effective.
• Previously fading away was the issue with UV inks, but with strong advancement in technology, it is no more an issue now.
• UV inks are not harmful to the environment and the need for cleaning is reduced.
Disadvantages of UV inks
UV inks have certain benefits but it also has some disadvantages, which are as follows;
• UV inks cannot be dried without curing.
• If you spill UV ink accidentally, removing it will be a challenge.
• UV inks may seem cost-effective but startup costs are very high s it requires curing equipment.
• You need to be careful while using UV inks, as in case of contact with skin it can cause irritation. It can also initiate an allergic reaction in some people.
• For adjusting print color you need a variety of anilox rolls.
• It has an odor so it cannot be used anywhere near food packaging.
What is the right printing ink option for you?
Both UV ink and water-based inks have their benefits and drawbacks. For choosing between Water-based inks and UV inks, you need to consider different factors and most importantly your needs. If you want to print any food-related packaging, a Digital Water-based high-speed printer can be a good option. if you have to print on any material which is hard and not related to food, UV is a good option. other factors are also needed to be considered. If you still cannot decide to take help from experts, they will help you in determining the right ink strategy for getting desired results. So consider all your needs and choose the best option and you are good to go.