By Olivia Cahoon
Part 2 of 2
Polystyrene is a thermoplastic polymer that is often used in digital printing due to an array of available colors and sizes. Typical applications include point of purchase (POP) displays, trade show graphics, retail fixtures, and product tags and labels.
For digital printing, high-impact polystyrene (HIPS) is a popular polystyrene for its impact resistance and low cost. It is also compatible with a variety of finishing methods and is FDA compliant for food applications. Additional polystyrene printable products include polystyrene sheets and HIPS foam core.
Available Polystyrene Products
The Agfa Graphics Duratex Polystyrene features a white matte finish and is available in sizes from 48×96 to 60×120 inches with thicknesses ranging from 0.015 to 0.060 inches. It is a medium opacity product, which means thickness produces a higher opacity—0.020 inches has show through and 0.060 inches is more blockout.
Duratex Polystyrene is corona treated and compatible with digital and screen UV inks. It is currently only available in white and is used for POP, retail signage, and display applications. Tony Lampariello, national rigid media manager, Agfa Graphics, says a consistent white point, uniformed thickness, and smooth surface quality makes Duratex Polystyrene stand out from the competition.
GOEX offers several HIPS materials, including STYREX 500 for digital and screen printing with the ability to die cut, form, and fabricate. It is designed for POP signage, in-store decoration, shelf danglers, and tags. Custom dyne level ranges are available for optimal ink adhesion results.
The Mosaica Group supplies Achieva HIPS, released in 2014. Available in white and a matte/matte finish, Achieva is compatible with digital UV and latex inks. It’s offered in 50×100 and 60×120 inches, including thicknesses ranging from 0.020 to 0.060 inches.
According to Mark Six, technical product manager, wide format, The Mosaica Group, Achieva features superior printability due to a high demand that ensures new and fresh material. “We sell a dead white or blockout styrene, typically for less than others selling a double opaque product.”
Achieva is used for retail POP displays, trade show panels, product tags and labels, kiosks and retail fixtures, and packaging and thermoformed graphics. Price varies.
Distributed by Piedmont Plastics, PolyOne DigiMax is specifically formulated for sheet-fed and roll-stock digital printing presses. It features a lay flat square sheet with resin and color consistency. DigiMax is designed for superior ink adhesion, embossing, and tolerance control to ensure high-quality print consistency, maximum press speeds, and minimum setup.
DigiMax can also be made to comply with FDA regulation 1CFR177.1740 for food packaging products. It’s often used for retail and promotional signage, non-promotional signage, lenticular promotional products, horticultural plant stakes and tags, gift and loyalty cards, and printed packaging components.
Primex Plastics Corporation offers PRIME DIGITAL HIPS and PRIME DIGI-HIPS for UV digital printing. PRIME DIGITAL HIPS is designed for standard UV digital printing and is available with or without corona treating. PRIME DIGI-HIPS is engineered to meet digital printing demands for processes that require a higher dyne level material, UV inhibiting characteristics, and improved impact levels. It is available in widths up to 65 inches.
Both HIPS products are available in sheets and rolls in natural, white, and custom colors. A variety of opacities and controlled textures such as matte/matte, matte/polish, and matte/gloss are available in thicknesses from 0.010 to 0.1875 inches.
PRIME DIGITAL HIPS and PRIME DIGI-HIPS are compatible with die cutting, heat bending, laminating, foil stamping, gluing, laser cutting, and thermoforming. They are best used in digital applications like indoor and temporary outdoor signage, posters and signs, aisle markers, POP displays, backlit signs, pump toppers, and horticultural tags.
Released in Summer 2018, UltraBoard Lite is an extruded HIPS foam core with lightweight styrene facers. It’s available in 48×96-inch sheets at a 3/16-inch thickness. UltraBoard Lite finishes provide a receptive surface ideal for screenprinting, painting, photo mounting, vinyl applications, and digital printing—including UV and latex inks.
The product features a consistent white point that ensures ongoing color consistency and aids in the elimination of constant color profile recalibration needed for batch inconsistencies that may be found with other brands, says Wade Sisco, director of marketing, United Industries UltraBoard. “It features superior color retention and is aggressively priced when compared to competitors.”
UltraBoard Lite foam core sheets are designed for digitally printed applications, including POP, interior signage, cutouts, and retail signage. According to Sisco, the HIPS surface is smooth and consistent providing sharp, crisp graphics and a consistent white point that offers accurate color reproduction job after job.
Strength & Style
Polystyrene is specifically formulated for use in digitally printed applications with a variety of colors, thicknesses, and sizes to choose from. Before selecting a product, print providers should ensure it’s compliant with their digital technology and finishing methods.
Dec2018, Digital Output