By Cassandra Balentine
Part 2 of 2
The digital print space continues to evolve. Digital dye-sublimation (dye-sub) is a growing solution for textile printing. As print service providers (PSPs) perfect this service for apparel, signage, and décor applications, printer and ink manufacturers and distributors help them stand out from the competition with solutions like fluorescent ink sets.
In the first part of this series we discussed advantages and challenges of working with fluorescent ink. Here, we highlight vendors that offer these types of inks for digital print environments.
On the Market
While the digital dye-sub market is popular and growing, the availability of fluorescent inks is minimal. Here, we highlight a few vendors offering fluorescent and neon ink options.
Day-Glo Color Corp. is a manufacturer of daylight fluorescent pigments. The company develops technologies designed to improve and enhance any color. It helps brand managers and designers get products noticed and build lasting brand identities. According to the company, Day-Glo’s color solutions can be reproduced for any printing application—including magazine advertisements, marketing brochures, and in-store displays—in the exact color shades used in products and packaging so that colors are consistent no matter where consumers interact with them.
Kornit Digital offers NeoPigment Intenso NEON Inks, including neon yellow and pink, to expand the range of digital color. The NeoPigment Intenso NEON inks enable the Kornit Allegro 3 new printing modes, including Neon Spot, Neon Process, and CMYK GeoNeon. Neon spot colors are used only in designated areas and without interference of other inks for a CMYKR Process. With Neon Process, users maximize the color gamut in order to reproduce the widest color space with every ink in the system—all inks are used for process print. With CMYK GoNeon users produce realistic images with brighter pink and yellow colors—Magenta/Yellow is replaced by Neon Yellow/Neon Pink.
Mimaki USA, Inc. offers its Sb54, Sb410, and Sb610 inks, which include fluorescent yellow and pink. They are used for dye-sub applications in sports apparel, fashion, home décor, and soft signage. David Lopez, textile solutions specialist, Mimaki, says these inks feature good nozzle stability, which helps stand apart from the competition. Additionally, Mimaki’s color library helps customers integrate fluorescent colors seamlessly.
Roland DGA Corporation offers its Texart SBL3 fluorescent dye-sub inks. They are ideal for a number of dye-sub applications including fashion apparel, athletic wear, soft signage, sets/backdrops for amusement parks, gaming operations—including paintball and laser tag, theaters, and concert venues. Lily Hunter, product manager, textiles and consumable supplies, Roland, says the pricing per ink is $119 for a one liter pouch. Texart SBL3 allow for a wider color gamut when mixed with Roland SBL3 Fluorescent Pink (Fp) and Fluorescent Yellow (Fy) inks to create hundreds of vivid fluorescent hues. Texart SBL3 inks are specially formulated for dye-sub printing with Roland’s Texart RT-640 or XT-640 eight-color configurations with CMYK, Light Cyan, Light Magenta, Orange, Violet, Fluorescent Pink, and Yellow inks.
Sawgrass Inc. offers SubliJet-HD, a specially formulated sublimation ink optimized for use with Sawgrass’ Virtuoso HD Product Decorating Systems. The eight-color Virtuoso VJ 628 from Sawgrass is a fully integrated, 25-inch solution targeting photography, fine art, signs, and high-volume customization and personalization.
To create this product decorating system, Sawgrass partnered with Mutoh, where the focus is quality, precision, and craftsmanship. The Virtuoso VJ 628 uses a DX7 printhead, which the company says is proven industrial grade technology that allows for extended life and performance.
The eight-color configuration of the Sawgrass Virtuoso VJ 628 printer goes beyond traditional CYMK to include orange, blue, and fluorescent inks. It offers a pre-configured palette of 64 true fluorescent and expanded gamut colors that can be loaded directly into Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator by Adobe Systems Incorporated or Corel’s CorelDRAW.
As with any product, fluorescent inks are continually evolving. Challenges like dry time and fade are addressed with the latest iterations.
Hunter points out that today’s fluorescent inks are more vibrant and faster drying than they were in the past. They also allow for wider color gamut.
For example, Roland’s Texart SBL3 Fp and Fy sublimation inks can be combined with Roland’s standard CMYKOrVi colors to create hundreds of eye-catching fluorescent hues and add vibrancy to conventional colors.
Hunter admits that there is still room for improvement when it comes to the durability of all fluorescent dye-sub inks. “At present, they tend to fade faster than standard, non-fluorescent inks,” she adds.
Mimaki strives to advance its ink technology by ensuring the ink features consistent nozzle ejection out of printheads and producing the brightest fluorescent colors to give added value to printers, says Lopez.
As more PSPs bring digital dye-sub printing into their operations, taking on unique options like neon and fluorescent inks helps them remain competitive. It is important PSPs consider the benefits and advantages of these ink sets to determine if it makes sense to add them into their service portfolios.
Jul2019, Digital Output