Digital Inks: Top Picks - EFI's graphic inkjet inks

Specially formulated to offer a wide colour gamut and deliver consistent, repeatable results, with the ability to print on thinner, heat-sensitive and speciality substrates formore applications and lower cost material options.

22 Mar 2022 | By PrintWeek Team

One quote by a customer who uses this product:
“It increases our capacity with higher speeds and at the same time lowering the printing cost per square foot.” Vyankatesh Mandke, director, VGA Digital Printers in Pune, talking about the print capabilities of his EFI Pro 32r+ printer, which uses EFI’s UV LED inks.

Where is it manufactured?
EFI manufactures UV LED inks at its plants in Ypsilanti, Michigan, in the USA, and in Bradford, United Kingdom.

What’s the function?
The inks are particularly versatile, as they perform exceptionally well in a broad range of rigid- and flexible-media applications for display graphics signage, décor production and other markets. The inks’ wide substrate compatibility has enabled use on everything from tissue paper to wood, glass, metal and beyond.

One big brand that has deployed it and how?
European furniture company Borne Turelemente uses EFI UV LED printers and inks to produce cabinet doors used in IKEA’s popular Pax wardrobe products. EFI’s white UV LED ink is especially useful, as it is highly opaque. As a result, printing companies can use the white ink as a base layer to print vibrant colour on coloured, metallic or clear surfaces.

This overall high quality and durability is a key reason that the inks are also preferred outside of the traditional signage space in the fashion market. Manufacturers of women’s luxury footwear and accessories use EFI UV LED inks to print directly onto leather, faux leather and other materials.

How green is the ink?
The inks contain virtually no VOCs, and they cure at a lower temperature, compared to traditional mercury arc lamps, with a quick on-off exposure to an LED lamp. EFI calls this process – cool cure LED printing. The big benefit to requiring less lamp exposure or drying time is that businesses end up using significantly less energy – up to 82% less – in running their printers. EFI UV LED inks carry UL Greenguard Gold certification, which means the inks are scientifically proven to meet rigorous, third-party chemical emissions standards, helping to reduce indoor air pollution and the risk of chemical exposure.

What makes it unique?
EFI’s UV LED technology was the first UV LED inkjet offering capable of being used in wide- and superwide-format printers at true production-volume speeds.

Who should choose it?
Any print business seeking to enter into or expand itspresence in production-volume printing would benefit from EFI LED printers and inks to produce a broad range of POP, out-of-home or décor printing applications. 

How do you rank it in terms of the ‘aha’ factor?
Cost per square metre is always a key factor in terms of the yield users get from their printers, and with EFI’s latest wide- and superwide-format printers it is often an important part of the profit equation for customers. 

Where do you source pigments, resins, oils, organic chemicals, solvents and additives for this product?
Our ink components are sourced globally and we work with multiple suppliers to mitigate supply chain issues currently affecting the printing ink industry. In 2016, EFI acquired Rialco, a leading supplier of dye powders for digital inks. That operation, which includes ourink making facility in the UK, has very strong supplier relationships to obtain the best dye powders available, adding even greater strength in inkjet ink manufacturing. 

What other grades are offered by your company?
EFI offers co-branded EFI - 3M SuperRange and SuperFlexUV LED inks, which, when used with select 3M flexible media, allows for the production ofgraphics backed by the 3M MCS warranty.

ProGraphics inks in our UV LED portfolio are sold for use with EFI’s wide-format line of printers, offering formulations specifically developed for various outdoor and high-adhesion requirements.

Is it expensive?
EFI’s UV LED inks have remained cost-competitive with premium-quality inks in the market, a class of inks that is often less expensive than latex inks on a cost-per-litre basis. Recent printing enhancements have substantially increased the value users gain. EFI’s VUTEk h3 and h5 UV LED hybrid printers, for example, generate significantly greater ink yield compared with previous models of EFI hybrid printers.

Drying mechanism: UV LED lamps.