When it comes to debates over Eco-Solvent versus Latex Printers, this discussion is no different than others.  Everyone has their favorites.  Let’s explore their pros and cons and you can decide for yourself.

 

Eco-Solvent vs. Latex Printers

(Pixabay / tookapic)

 

Eco-solvent printer

An eco-solvent printer uses special technology print heads and inks that is not water-based. Eco-solvent inks contain glycol esters or glycol ether and are slow drying.

An eco-solvent printer runs fast, loads fast, and will start printing right away, producing output with impressive detail.

Remember the following when working with an eco-solvent printer:

Pros:

  • When it comes to reliability, eco-solvent printers tend to have less maintenance than a latex printer, due to their stronger parts.
  • Cleaning supplies are cheap.

Cons:

  • Manufacturers recommend to allow at least 24 hours to allow the print to “out-gas” before laminating. Otherwise, the gases released by the solvent ink as it drys may become trapped between the vinyl and the laminate and increase the likelihood of material failure.
  • Colors are vibrant, but you must be careful with printers with more than eight colors. Additional specialty colors can fade quickly.
  • The print head is an “all-in-one” head. Damaging the head will mean a large repair bill.
  • Cleaning of the machine takes about 30 minutes and should be done once a week.

Latex printer

A latex printer can print on a wide variety of coated and uncoated materials, ranging from paper to vinyl and from backlit film to textiles. The top applications for latex printers include banners, vehicle graphics, soft signage, and many other indoor and outdoor applications.

A latex printer uses thermal ink technology and has image quality that is on the level of the latest and greatest printers.  Here are some of a latex printer’s pros and cons.

Pros:

  • There is not much cleaning time required on this machine, and its print is not nearly as vulnerable to temperature or humidity as the print of other machines.
  • Prints faster than most Eco-Solvent printers.
  • Less ink waste.
  • While the printheads may need to be replaced more frequently than with Eco-Solvent printers, they are often substantially less expensive the Eco-Solvent print heads.
  • Latex ink is often non-toxic making it more compliant for hospitals and schools.
  • Most latex printer manufacturers say “out-gassing” is not necessary before laminating. Also, some materials are not necessary to laminate to protect the print.

Cons:

  • Proofs may need to be printed in order to stimulate ideal printing behavior.
  • A good profile should be created for each of the latex printers using the same spectrophotometer.
  • The latex printer should be calibrated periodically or whenever you see any significant deviation in color preproduction.
  • The proofer gamut should encompass the target gamut. You can accomplish this by comparing the profile and the profile viewer.
  • For every print media and print mode combination, the same process should be followed.