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Printing Industry Exchange (printindustry.com) is pleased to have Steven Waxman writing and managing the Printing Industry Blog. As a printing consultant, Steven teaches corporations how to save money buying printing, brokers printing services, and teaches prepress techniques. Steven has been in the printing industry for thirty-three years working as a writer, editor, print buyer, photographer, graphic designer, art director, and production manager.

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Custom Printing: New Marabu Inks for Inkjet Printing

When you think about it, an inkjet printer is only as good as the inks it prints.

I just read an article in PackagingEurope (11/18/13, at www.packagingeurope.com, called “Marabu at Viscom 2013”) describing Marabu’s new ink offerings as presented at Viscom 2013, a noted visual communications trade show held in Dusseldorf, Germany, in early November.

The offerings included UV-LED-curable, solvent-based, and water-based inkjet inks as well as liquid coatings and a solvent-based silver ink.

Here are some of the specifics, including the implications of such new developments for inkjet large format printing.

UV-LED-Curable Inks

As you may know, UV light will cure various inks and coatings. The radiation of the light actually changes the chemical composition of the inks rather than drying them. Inks or coatings (such as flood UV coating used for protection) harden instantly upon exposure to the UV light. UV inks are particularly useful for large format inkjet printing on acrylics, PVC, polycarbonates, and polypropylene, since these substrates are not porous.

That said, UV lights are hot, and the lamps burn out. In contrast, UV-LED-curable inks benefit from much longer-life UV lamps that expose the custom printing substrates to less heat. Marabu’s offerings in this arena include UltraJet DLE ink.

Traditional UV-Curable Inks

The PackagingEurope article also highlighted traditional UV-curable inks (UltraJet DUV) from Marabu that work well on rigid materials (UltraJet DUV-R) such as PVC, polystyrene, polycarbonate, and cardboard, as well as on flexible materials (UltraJet DUV-F) such as self-adhesive film and PVC banner material.

What makes this noteworthy is that flexible substrates printed with this Marabu inkjet ink retain their flexibility (i.e., the substrates are still soft after being printed).

Multi-Use Silver Solvent-Based Ink

At Viscom, Marabu also showcased its MaraJet DI-MS 191 Silver ink. What makes this noteworthy is that in conjunction with other solvent inks, this silver ink can produce “hundreds of different metallic shades.” (“Marabu at Viscom 2013”) This opens up a multitude of design options for large format printing on appropriate papers, uncoated fabrics, and PVC films.

A Coating Alternative to Film Lamination

Marabu displayed both a UV-curable and water based coating technology (Marashield UV and Marashield WA, respectively) that will offer lower application and materials costs than traditional film lamination while maintaining a high gloss surface and consistent surface quality.

In addition, the water-based option (Marashield WA-FXG) can be applied over metallics, improving rub resistance without dulling down the metallic sheen of the inks.

Water-Based and Textile Inks

At Viscom, Marabu also displayed their water-based options (such as MaquaJet DA-E for printing on thin and sensitive materials) and textile sublimation ink such as TexaJet DX-SHE for both direct printing and transfer printing on pretreated polyester materials containing more than 60 percent polyester.

Why You Should Care

A quick perusal of Marabu’s new inkjet inks will yield invaluable information to designers, providing a snapshot of current trends in packaging design, large format printing, and textile custom printing. This is what I gleaned from the article:

  1. Digital custom printing is expanding at a remarkable rate.
  2. Packaging and textile printing are big, as evidenced by Marabu’s newly formulated inks for these printing arenas. While books, newspapers, and magazines may struggle, packaging and textile custom printing are growing.
  3. The shift from traditional UV curing to UV-LED curing of inkjet inks will most certainly reduce energy consumption and lengthen inkjet printing materials’ lifespan going forward, due to the reduced heat given off by the UV-LED lamps. This is technology to watch closely.
  4. The comment in the PackagingEurope article referencing the “flexibility of substrates” printed with Marabu traditional UV-curable inks highlights the fact that inkjet printing does not need to make a soft substrate hard and inflexible. I’m thinking about the future of printed textiles, in which a “soft hand” is desirable (i.e., textile custom printing that doesn’t feel like it has a film of ink on it).

2 Responses to “Custom Printing: New Marabu Inks for Inkjet Printing”

  1. Interesting piece about this new kind of ink for inkjet printing. It’ll be good to see how this changes the game for digital custom printing.

    • admin says:

      Thank you for your comment. I agree completely. This is a particularly exciting time for digital printing. It’s also great to see printing extending beyond ink and toner on paper to include various industrial printing applications like wall coverings and textiles.

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