Large aka 'Wide' Format Printers (LFP / WFP), as opposed to Vector-Rendering Plotters, are generally accepted to be any printer with a print width span of between 17" (43.2cm) and 100" (254cm). Printers with a print width span of over 100" (254cm) are also called Super-Wide or Grand Format Printers. Wide format printers typically utilize inkjet technology to print on a variety of output media, including premium glossy-coated paper for printing banners, posters and general signage. Wide format printers generally use a roll of print material rather than individual sheets and may incorporate hot-air dryers to prevent prints from sticking to themselves as they are produced, and in some instances, wide format printers may be more economical than short-run methods such as screenprinting.
Large / Wide Format Printers Classified According To The Type Of Ink Used:
Aqueous [a.k.a. Water-Based] Inks: The term 'water-based' is a generally accepted industry misnomer... The ink's colour pigment is held in a non-reactive carrier solution that may be water, or a substitute liquid, such as the 'soy-based' liquid used by Kodak. Aqueous inks are generally one of two common types: Dye or UV (a.k.a. Pigment). Dye based inks are more vibrant, and offer the widest colour gamut, but are low UV-resistant. UV inks are typically less vibrant, but are able to withstand fading from UV rays. Consequently, prints using dye-based inks must first be laminated to protect them if they are to be used outdoors, whilst prints using UV inks can be used outdoors non-laminated for a limited time. Aqueous inks may be used with a variety of media, including canvases, banners, metabolized plastic and cloth. However, Aqueous technology requires that all materials be properly coated to accept and hold the ink... hence the term 'inkjet-coated'. Aqueous inks are suitable for printers that have either a 'Thermal' or 'Piezo Electric Vibrating' printhead. In addition, the principles for large / wide format printers using Aqueous inks outlined above, are comparable to those for desktop inkjet printers.
Solvent Inks: The term 'solvent' is used to describe any ink that is non-water-based. Solvent inks use petroleum or a petroleum by-product such as acetone as the carrier liquid holding the colour pigment, and are suitable for printers with a 'Piezo Electric Vibrating' printhead... 'Eco-Solvent' inks usually contain 'Glycol Esters' or 'Glycol Ether Esters'. Eco-Solvent inks are slower drying, but are able to be used to print directly onto uncoated materials such as vinyl, and other media, along with ridged substrates such as Foam Board and PVC, with resultant waterproof prints.
Dye Sublimation [a.k.a. Direct Transfer] Inks: This category of inks are suitable for printers with 'Piezo Electric Vibrating' printheads, and are designed to be diffused into specially coated print media to produce 'continuous-tone' prints that are of photographic quality.
UV-Curable Inks: This category of inks are suitable for printers with 'Piezo Electric Vibrating' printheads, and are designed to be dried by exposure to a UV light source. The resultant prints are vibrant, embossed, and waterproof. UV-curable inks are suitable for media made of any material, including ceramics, glass, metal, and timber fibres, with media made of polymer-based materials providing the best results.
Pen Inks: Plotter Pens are used to draw directly onto the print substrate, primarily for producing Computer-Aided-Design [CAD] drawings. This technollogy has essentially been superseded by digital technologies such as Solvent, Aqueous, and UV based printing.
InkTec Large / Wide Format Printer Consumables General Information:
InkTec Product Data Sheet - InkTec ESU Eco Solvent Based Pigment Ink For Roland Soljet Large Format Printers:
InkTec ESU ink boosts the performance of Roland Soljet and Versa Camm inkjet printers with improved scratch resistance, faster drying time, higher density, wider color gamut and broader media support. ESU ink is virtually odourless and durable for up to two years outdoors without lamination, and is available in Black, Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, Light Cyan & Light Magenta.
...click on the Roland Soljet Pro image for more information.
InkTec Technical Data - InkTec Dye Ink For HP Designjet 5000 Series Large Format Printers:
Making statements regarding ink quality is a delicate matter... InkTec continuously aims to develop and supply superior quality verified ink via it's philosophy of concentrating on the key critical factors of ink: DURABILITY, COLOUR REPRODUCTION & LIGHTFASTNESS. The following data is intended to summarize the results of InkTec's testing.
...click on the HP Designjet 5000 image for more information.
InkTec Technical Data - InkTec PowerChrome Ink for Epson Stylus Pro 4000/ 7600/ 7800/ 9600/ 9800/ 10600/ 10800 Large Format Printers and Plotters:>
InkTec is very specialized in Pigment Ink nano technology, so it is readily able to expand it's business range up to more specialist markets, such as Epson's wide-format photo printers. InkTec inks are tested under stringent varied field conditions for a minimum of 6 months, resulting in verified inks that are already widely acknowledged in the world market.
...click on the Epson Stylus Pro 4000 image for more information.
InkTec Technical Data - InkTec Ink Change-Over Instruction Guide For The Roland Soljet SJ-745EX Large Format Printer:>
Before you change over your inks to InkTec's quality range of Eco Solvent inks, it is recommended that you use InkTec's print-head cleaning solution in order to flush out the system. Whilst this is not mandatory, you will achieve better printing results if you do, especially if you are currently using non OEM inks.
...click on the Roland Soljet SJ-745EX image for more information.