The unpleasant odor and potential health effects associated with airborne compounds of solvent-based inks have historically kept in-house wide-format printing operations from flourishing. This was especially true in hospitals, schools and restaurants.
The solution? Latex ink.
While latex inks have long been praised for their lower levels of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) compared with their solvent counterparts, printers have often cited a slow, costly curing and adhesion procedure as the major barrier to entry. Of course, lower VOC production rates from latex inks are better for overall environmental sustainability (and for enabling operators to spend more time in print environments in compliance with OSHA air safety regulations1
), but the potential increase in cost and decrease in productivity has historically limited widespread their adoption.
However, ink technology and substrate selection have come a long way
. Ink curing and adhesion processes have improved significantly, making latex-based inks just as efficient as solvent inks. If you've previously been forced to decide between sustainability and your bottom line, you can now finally get everything you need.
Beyond the increased efficiencies, latex inks have also continued to gain momentum in the market for their unique composition and ever-improving technologies. These innovations have brought new levels of flexibility to the wide-format space. For example, improved latex ink formulations are now allowing 25% lower curing temperatures when using uncoated, non-pre-treated or specially prepared substrates.