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New inks for soft signage

May 1st, 2010 / By: / Graphics

In the current economic climate, many print service providers (PSPs) are looking to diversify their application offerings in order to acquire new customers and become a one-stop shop for existing clients’ signage and marketing needs. As part of this trend, PSPs are increasingly turning to fast-growing soft-signage applications printed on polyester, cotton, canvas and other fabrics, which provide a more upscale appearance than traditional PVC, vinyl and paper, and are easier to ship and install. This shift is due to four key benefits to soft signage applications:

  • Eye-catching signage, with a more upscale appearance, that helps differentiate stores and businesses from competitors
  • Easier and more cost-effective shipping and storage than with traditional signage media
  • Fast and easy installation and take-down, ideal for test marketing and the dynamic retail environment
  • The opportunity to choose recyclable fabrics, including many kinds of polyester and recyclable materials for lesser environmental impact than traditional signage substrates

With many different solutions available, including dye-sublimation, UV-, solvent- and latex-ink options, PSPs often struggle to make the best selection for their business needs once they begin looking for a digital textile printer.

Introduced in early 2008, HP Latex Printing Technologies offer a simple, high-quality solution for digital printing of soft signage applications with high durability and the versatility to easily switch between soft-signage and traditional-signage applications, including POP displays, banners and vehicle graphics. This technology is currently found in the 104-inch HP Designjet L65500 printer, as well as in the 42-inch and 60-inch HP Designjet L25500 printer.

Latex inks are water-based and combine the best characteristics of low/eco-solvent inks and water-based inks. Customers can obtain the outdoor durability and lower cost per copy traditionally associated with low-solvent and eco-solvent inks, together with the odorless prints, low maintenance and environmental advantages of water-based inks.

With HP Latex inks, customers can print on uncoated polyester fabrics with excellent image sharpness and save up to 30 percent on substrate costs with the ability to print on lower-cost media. Solvent printers require more expensive coated fabrics to achieve the same image quality results. Unlike dye-sublimation printing, with HP Latex inks, customers can print directly onto the fabric in a one-step process. Dye sublimation printing requires additional dye-transfer equipment and a two-step process.

Udi Nachmany leads HP Scitex‘s application development initiatives and its partnership program within the HP Graphics Solutions Business.

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