With the advancement of technology in the current day and age, the print industry has come a long way to be able to use inks that have different characteristics that can be used on a wide range of materials such as paper and textiles.
In today’s article, we will want to look at the more common inks used in the printing industry such as solvent inks, eco-solvent inks, and as well as latex inks.
You might be wondering, what is the difference between solvent and eco-solvent inks?
The main difference between the two is its smell. With solvent inks, you have to be cautious when using it indoors because of the strong pungent smell that comes from the ink of the printing. On the other hand, eco-solvent inks are able to be used indoors since they emit no smell and is biodegradable.
Both the solvent and eco-solvent inks are considered to be cheap and readily available, making them the pioneers of the print industry even until today. They are also similar to paint thinners in their consistency and distasteful smell.
However, one should note that the eco in eco-solvent ink stands for economic (cheap) rather than being environmentally friendly. Though they are biodegradable, they definitely should not be used especially when printing food products or things that are near a child’s reach.
With solvent and eco-solvent inks, some of these inks may contain harmful chemicals such as melamine that is not FDA-approved. Should these chemicals linger and stay near the packaging of the printed onto products, they are able to seep through the food, making it unhealthy for consumption.
Do check with your print providers if they are using solvent/ eco-solvent inks to print and get the necessary verifications such like MSDS (Material Safety Data Sheet) that will assure you that the inks are safe for the environments that you want to install the printing in. These places will include but are not limited to places such as supermarkets, preschools, hospitals, and even at home. With the wrong use of these printing to these environments, it may cause harmful effects to the vulnerable groups of people and one should be aware of the toxic VOC (Volatile Organic Compound) that it can emit.
There was an incident in 2008, about how China diary products may contain melamine and how it led to making 16 babies in Gansu Province having kidney stones. This news inspired us to change and be better, since solvent inks may have melamine in it or may permeate toxic components that can transmit to food products even through the packaging. Shown below are 2 videos that may help you understand the difference between solvent, eco-solvent and latex ink.
HP Latex Inks vs. Solvent Inks (Using Gloves)
HP Latex Inks vs. Solvent Inks (Using Porex)
This is why at Botak Sign Pte Ltd, we have switched out any solvent / eco-solvent inks and have permanently replaced them with latex ink and other inks such as UV ink and Hybrid inks that are guaranteed to be safe for the environment. Do see our machine ink specification’s here
Although its prices aren’t as lucrative as the other inks, they are guaranteed with a warranty by our suppliers to be environmentally safe and approved to be good for print and installation. These inks safe to smell and able to be used over long periods of time, even longer than those printed with solvent ink. The color accuracy of its ink is also more vibrant and more align with the “what you see what you get”.
It is great that most vendors we have worked with advocate printing with non-solvent inks, with the mind to help others be aware of the harmful effects that solvent inks may bring to our loved ones.
Let us do our part into letting everyone know that we should not compromise our standards of getting printing products at a low cost with the risks of printing with solvent ink may be harmful to combat these COVID-19 times.
At the end of the day, we want to be a business that fights for our consumer’s welfare at heart.