The digital color evolution: Shed the limitations of the past
3 factors influencing digital color printing
Time: 4 minute read
It's been said of the great artist J.M.W. Turner — renowned for pounding out his own colors to create seemingly incandescent oil paintings — that he “painted with tinted steam."We haven't reached that point in high-speed production inkjet, but we've come a long way since 2007, when the technology was the realm of transactional printers and used primarily for black-and-white applications. With today's color capabilities, transactional and commercial printers alike have shed the limitations of the past and are embracing new opportunities for color-rich, completely variable, and fully dynamic printing. Much of the progress can be traced to new processes, inks, heads, coatings, substrate options, and process management tools. Let's examine some contributing factors to see where digital color is right now, where it's going and how it can impact your business.
New paper expands print possibilities
Ink, undercoating, and more
Paper isn't the only important factor in this evolution. Inks are evolving as well. Most inkjet vendors are providing — and customers are leveraging — a variety of dyes, pigment, MICR, and other inks to meet the changing and growing demands for new applications. This diversity is enhancing color output and opening up a world of new applications for inkjet. Proactive vendors are creating new inks that, like paper, will grow inkjet applications. These higher-density inks provide more vibrancy. At the same time, their lower water content promotes faster drying. Color applications that dry quickly use less power for applications with higher amounts of ink — no simple task. Extreme care has to be taken when formulating inkjet inks to make sure that energy consumption, operating aspects of the ink, characteristics of the paper, color gamut, and the finishing process are all taken into consideration. Ignoring any of these issues can result in inks that help with a single challenge but create additional challenges elsewhere. Beyond ink, optional features play a role in making the most of color and paper. Undercoating technologies, for example, enable printing on more types of paper. Undercoating exemplifies the flexibility and modularity provided by leading inkjet solutions. Customers can upgrade their systems with new technology and inks right on their premises, a cost-saving advantage.
Color and ink management tools
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