All digital printing inks are transparent. The base on which the inks are printed, lends the print, its opacity. For example, when an image is printed on a white sheet of paper, the opacity of the paper ensures that you cannot see through it.
On the other hand, if you print the same image on a transparent plastic film, you can see through the image, onto the other side.
In both the above cases, the printing inks are transparent. But the media that these inks are printed upon, decides the job’s final opacity.
While all digital printers come equipped with four colors CMYK, there is a newer breed of machine that prints in a 5th color, that is…
White Ink for an inkjet printer.
And white ink printing technology makes some pretty interesting printing applications possible. Let us have a look at the inkjet printer that prints white ink.
The CMYK set of colors in a standard printer are transparent. They have to be so because these four colors mix up with each other to produce all the visible colors in the spectrum. White inks, on the other hand, are opaque. They do not allow light to pass through.
So, using white inkjet inks, in combination with a specialised technique called layering, we can create prints which are partially opaque and partially transparent.
When we print an image on a transparent film with regular CMYK inks, we end up two distinct areas:
If you remember, from our previous example, the entire print (including the areas where the images were printed) became transparent. This happens because, in addition to the base media being transparent, the inks on top allow light to pass as well.
Now, because you can see through the printed area as well, the image on a transparent film looks slightly dull. Please look at the first column of the second row in the image below and you’ll see what I mean. The light passing through the transparent inks results in a reduction of the vibrancy of the image.
But by using a layer of white inkjet inks, we can solve this problem.
Here is what we do…
Look at the examples in the above image.
In addition to helping create prints with dual effects of transparency, white ink prints also have other applications. Here are the reasons people get white ink printing service:
The images of the office partition (below) are of a project executed for Ms. Shubham of Acuiti Consultants, Baner. She needed white ink printing service. She had two office partitions and she wanted to brand the same with white inks for glass film prints.
This client wanted to display a flow chart of her business processes on the partition. There was a workroom on the other side and she wanted to be able to see on the other side as well.
Moreover, the film had to be pasted from behind the sheet of glass, because she wanted to make notations with a whiteboard marker on the partition, from the front. We used white ink UV white inks for the printing to give her a satisfying solution.
White ink printing technology is relatively nascent in the print industry. In its initial avatar, machine sellers used to retrofit 4 color eco-solvent machines to run white inks as an additional fifth color. But there were a lot of technical problems and white ink eco-solvents failed to really take off.
Of late, UV white ink printing machines come preinstalled with a white ink option. These machines are pretty stable and have gained wider acceptance in the print community. For running white inks on your machine you need to be aware of the following:
If you are a print vendor looking to buy a printing machine, we have two blogs that can help you get started. Do have a look at the same when free…
While white ink prints are a very premium option for branding glass partitions, we do have a whole lot of other options to do the same. So you might want to have a look at:
White inks when used judiciously have the potential to enhance the offerings of a print service provider. Also, such a unique solution will help in generating extra revenue. All you need is a little bit of specialised knowledge and equipment to make it work.
Finally, Dear Reader, I would love to hear what you think about this write-up on white inks. So be sure to let us know, in the comments section below. Cheers.