Inkjet printing systems have become popular in the past decades because of the constant development of new printing methods as well as techniques that adapt to different materials.
In the early 2000 emerged the eco-solvent ink for inkjet printers. This eco-solvent ink was to replace lite-solvent (also called mild-solvent). The eco-solvent inks were developed in response to an industry demand for more operator and customer-friendly inks than the original “strong”, “full” or “aggressive” solvent inks.
“Strong solvents” or “full solvents” ink refers to the oil-based solution that holds the pigment and resin. Have a high content of VOCs (volatile organic compounds), which require ventilation and extraction to protect the printer operators, and many of them retain a distinctive lingering smell on the PVC or other substrate, which makes the images unsuited to indoor use where people will be near enough the signs to notice the smell.
“Eco-solvent” inks come from ether extracts taken from refined mineral oil, by contrast have a relatively low VOC content and are even usable in studio and office environments as long as there is adequate ventilation. They have little odour so they can normally be used with indoor graphics and signage. They chemicals don’t attack the inkjet nozzles and components as aggressively as strong solvents, so they don’t need such constant cleaning (though some printhead brands have issues with almost any and all ink).
Eco-solvent ink allows printing in enclosed spaces without the print technician running the risk of inhaling fumes as dangerous as those of full-strength traditional solvent ink; but don’t get confused thinking this is eco-friendly ink because of the title. Sometimes low- or light-solvent terms are used to describe this ink type.