Introduced in the 1980s, the inkjet printer has grown in popularity and performance. A printer is considered inkjet if it drops ink droplets into a paper to form an image. The dots will be as low as 60 microns in diameter. They will be precisely positioned to work at resolutions of 1440*720 dpi and will have different color combinations to create quality images.
We are all on the lookout for the latest printers with the best printing technology. Ink is the main component we should consider. Have you ever wondered what types of printer ink are used? In this article, we’ll dive into the different types of ink in printers and discuss their various properties. From dye-based to pigment-based inks, you’ll learn everything you need to know about the various types of inks available on the market today.
Inkjet printers have cartridges and will often need small adjustments to allow their large-format laminator to produce a variety of results. Note that different ink combinations will determine factors, like outdoor durability, fade resistance, production costs, and environmental concerns.
So, get ready for a crash course on printer inks – let’s get started!
If you’re looking to get the best print quality and performance out of your printer, it pays to know which type of ink you should use. Different types of ink are designed for different printing needs, so before making a purchase, make sure you pick the right kind! Here’s a look at the most common types of ink used in printers:
1) Water-based ink
Here, tiny molecules of dye are mixed with water to form this ink, which soaks in the paper. The result is a brilliant combination of saturated colors. These dye molecules will not cause light to scatter. However, the ink will fade fast if exposed to UV light. A microporous paper will result in UV-filtering. Dye ink is not waterproof, so a print can run, smudge, or smear. Even after it has dried, one will need to protect their signboard from moisture and humidity. Since dye inks will flow smoothly through the nozzle, they are cheap and used in printing photos that belong in an album.
2) Eco-solvent ink
Solvent ink will have color pigments mixed with a chemical solvent. They are often used for uncoated applications and outdoor graphics. Solvents will typically have VOCs, making them a safety concern. Printing shops will often need specialized ventilation if they use this type of ink. A newer alternative of the solvent ink has the solvents suspended in mineral oil to make the ink eco-friendly. Such solvents are not toxic, but they will have trouble sticking to vinyl. Using eco-friendly solvent inks will need one to have air scrubbers.
3) UV-cure inks
UV ink is a specially designed ink that enables printers to print on surfaces that would otherwise be difficult or impossible. It works by using ultraviolet radiation, making it possible to print on materials such as glass, metal, and plastic.
UV ink has many advantages compared to other types of printing inks, such as:
- Better adhesion
- Faster drying time
- Higher resolution prints
- Vibrant color reproduction
Additionally, it offers improved durability since the prints last longer because they are resistant to fading caused by exposure to sunlight and other environmental elements.
On the downside, UV inks can be expensive due to their specialized components and require special equipment for printing. Despite these issues, UV inks remain popular among professional printers who need high-quality results quickly.
4) Latex ink
This kind of ink will use wetting agents like water, humectants, and other additives to attach to the printing media. It creates a polymer that is resistant to heat. If prints are un-laminated, latex ink will last up to five years and longer indoors. Latex inks are not combustible, toxic or flammable. They do not need labels or special handling conditions.
5) Ribbon Ink
Ribbon ink is a type of ink used in dot matrix printers. It consists of a ribbon made of nylon or other materials that are coated with ink. When the printer prints, the ribbon moves over the paper, and the ink is transferred to the paper through a series of pins that strike the ribbon. This printing method is known as impact printing and is used for printing documents such as invoices, receipts, and other forms.
The use of ribbon ink in dot matrix printers has several advantages:
- Produces high-quality prints that are clear and long-lasting
- Ideal for documents that need to be kept for an extended period
- Relatively inexpensive compared to other types of ink
- An affordable option for small businesses and individuals
However, there are also some disadvantages to using ribbon ink:
- The pins in the printer can sometimes become worn or misaligned, causing the print quality to degrade over time.
- The impact printing process can be noisy and slow compared to other printing methods, making it less suitable for high-volume printing.
6) 3D Printing Ink
3D printing ink, also known as thermoplastic filament or 3D printer filament, is a material used in additive manufacturing that consists of a heated plastic substance that is extruded through the nozzle of a 3D printer. This printer ink type is melted and laid down in successive layers to form complex shapes and objects.
This method has revolutionized the way products can be produced and customized. It allows anyone with access to a 3D printer to manufacture items quickly and conveniently right from their own home.
The advantages of using this type of ink include:
- Increased speed production time (layer-by-layer construction process)
- Lower costs associated with not needing support structures (scaffolding for additional materials)
- Ability to use different colors and creative patterns to make unique prints that stand out from the crowd
On the other hand, 3D printing ink does have its disadvantages, such as:
- Limited strength and stability compared to more traditional manufacturing methods
- Tendency for some materials not to adhere properly when used with certain printers
7) Solid Ink
Solid ink is a printing technology that uses solid sticks of wax- or oil-based ink to create images on paper. It has been used in Xerox printers since the 90s and is renowned for its superior color accuracy and vibrancy.
Solid ink printers are reliable and efficient, with minimal maintenance or mess. Additionally, the cost of solid ink printing is often lower than other forms of printing due to reduced waste. The downside is that it can take longer than other types of printing, and requires specialized equipment to use.
Nevertheless, it remains one of the most popular options for businesses that need a high-quality printer with vivid colors and an economical price tag. In short, if you’re looking for a dependable printer with superior results, solid ink might be for you!
8) Pigment Inks
Pigment inks are a popular choice for inkjet printing, especially for photo printing. Unlike dye inks, these ink types use solid color particles suspended with a liquid carrier which binds to the paper’s surface when printed.
Pigment inks offer:
- Better lightfastness
- Improved print longevity
- More vibrant colors than dye-based inks
Additionally, since the particles are larger and heavier than those used in dye-based inks, they tend to produce sharper lines and better details in documents and photos. However, that same weight means pigment ink can cause some clogging of printer heads if not regularly maintained or used correctly due to their thicker viscosity.
9) Dye-Based Inks
Dye-based inks are types of ink in printers that use dyes as coloring agents. Unlike pigment inks, which use pigments suspended in a liquid carrier, these inks contain actual dyes dissolved into the solution. Dye-based inks can be used on various surfaces, such as paper, fabric, and plastic, to produce vibrant colors.
The advantages of using dye-based inks include the following:
- They produce more vibrant colors than other types of inks
- They dry quickly
- Have good water resistance properties
However, the disadvantage of using dye-based inks is that they tend to smudge or run if exposed to moisture and don’t last very long when exposed to light or heat.
As such, it’s important to take into account the environment the printed material will be exposed to before using a dye-based ink. Generally speaking, for best results when printing with dye-based inks, use them on surfaces such as paper or fabric that have been pre-treated with a protective coating to maximize the lifespan of your prints.
10) Sublimation Inks
Sublimation inks are a special type of ink used for printing on fabrics and other surfaces. Sublimation is a process whereby the solid form of an ink turns directly into a gas, allowing it to penetrate the fibers of materials such as polyester and nylon. This means that prints made with sublimation inks won’t crack or peel over time like those from other types of inks.
Using sublimation inks for printers has several advantages, such as:
- Providing vibrant colors and virtually unlimited color options
- Maintaining sharp details even when printed in small sizes
- Offering durable prints that will not fade easily even when exposed to light and washing multiple times
On the downside, these inks can be quite costly compared to traditional inks, and they can be tricky to use for beginners.
Printers work with two leading technologies. Impact technologies touch the paper to create images. Non-impact technologies will not need to contact the paper, and inkjet printers fall under this category.