Published: 22 Jun 2022

What is Eco Solvent Printing?

Eco-solvent printing uses non-toxic chemicals when printing, resulting in lower VOC emissions than other printing forms, such as plastisol or water-based.

Eco-solvent is a green, water-based ink that can be printed on eco-solvent paper or any other substrate. Eco-solvent printing allows you to use your press like a pro for standard sheet-fed printing and direct-to-garment (DTG) applications without changing out inks. Unlike some water-based technologies in large format printers, you do not need to worry about getting spattered with ink when you use the eco-solvent printer. This versatility has made the printer an increasingly popular choice for printers who want to add direct-to-garment printing capability to their shop.

Eco-solvent, unlike other technologies, has virtually no learning curve. Its water-based formula allows you to print without any significant training, so you can immediately start making money with your direct-to-garment plotter.

If you have ever printed on paper before, you already know how to use an eco-solvent inkjet printer! And since there are dozens of pre-mixed colors and no custom inks or blanks required, ordering and storing ink bottles is much simpler than other DTG systems.

Detailed patterns created using an eco solvent printer, with ink bottles on display.
A printer using eco ink is the right choice for many printing jobs.

Let Us Clarify for You: What Is Eco-Solvent Ink?

Composed of specialized ink and solvents, eco-solvent inks are manufactured to different industry standards. They can be made specifically for use with screen printing equipment or formulated to work within an existing line of printing products.

These inks come in two major forms: UV curing and thermal curing, whether it’s an eco-solvent product or a water-based solvent product.

UV curing products are printed using ultraviolet light through silkscreen or other stencils. Thermal curing products are applied using heat, which activates them and causes them to harden onto a substrate. Some benefits of eco-solvent ink include:

Biodegradability

Eco-solvent inks are biodegradable, and thus free of hazardous chemicals such as odorants, VOCs, and heavy metals. Using eco-solvent inks is a win-win for everyone because they help preserve our planet while delivering rich colors on every type of substrate.

They are also water-based and have low viscosity allowing them to print on almost any substrate without compromising image quality.

Non-Toxicity

Eco-solvent inks are non-toxic and do not give off VOCs (volatile organic compounds) as they dry. VOCs are chemicals like formaldehyde, which can cause respiratory problems and other health issues.

This makes them an important part of environmental sustainability efforts. The two major types of solvent inks are water-based and alcohol-based

Water-based inks come from water with a solvent blend, while alcohol-based ones use mostly alcohol with an emulsifier added to make it sticky when applied to the fabric.

High Scratch Resistance

Unlike plastisol and water-based inks, eco-solvent ink has high scratch resistance. This makes them perfect for printing outdoors on large format banners. The inks used for these prints are made with extremely fine pigments that provide rich colors and excellent scratch resistance.

Scratch resistance allows you to print on fabric substrates like vinyl because vinyl tends to be less resistant than other substrates like Tyvek or Tufflite. This makes for the best eco-solvent printer for vinyl.

When it comes to outdoor print applications, it’s best to always use ink with a high scratch resistance—even if you plan to hang your banner indoors. Scratch Resistance will ensure your design stays beautiful for years to come!

What You Need to Know about Solvent and Eco-Solvent Printers

There are two major categories of UV printers on today’s market: solvent and eco-solvent printers.

The differences between these two printing styles will vary from machine to machine. Still, generally speaking, solvent inks tend to be thicker than eco-solvent inks—making them less desirable for smaller jobs and more ideal for graphics printing on canvas or other larger materials.

In general, eco solvents work better with smaller substrates like apparel and plastics (think keychains).

Because solvents are flammable, cheaper in price, and a little harder to manage in an enclosed work area, they may not be as ideal for very large print shops or factories looking to maximize efficiency.

Eco solvent inks in an eight-color ink tank ready for loading in the printing machine.
Display of eco-friendly ink, now very popular in the printing world.

These Are the Best Eco-Solvent Printers

Although some printers have tried to make eco-solvent printing a focal point of their marketing, it boils down to that eco-solvent printing is just better than waterless printing in nearly every way. Whether you’re going for speed, quality, or cost-effectiveness, you’ll want an eco-solvent printer.

The three best eco-solvent printers on today’s market are:

  • Canon ImageRunner C7000VP
  • Xerox DocuPrint C2020
  • HP OfficeJet 3830

All three can be found on company sites and shopping sites like Amazon and other retailers, and all offer a range of benefits that will help your business grow.

They allow businesses to print color documents without worrying about running out of ink, and they produce excellent output while using less energy than many alternative methods.

We Have Complete Solutions for Eco-Solvent Printing!

While eco-solvent printing and digital printing both have benefits and drawbacks, each has its place in printing. There are many applications for a wide format eco-solvent printer, from businesses to artists.

If you’re ready to invest in a printer and want something reliable and environmentally friendly that won’t cost you a lot of money per print job, an eco-solvent printer may be right for you. Take some time to research and compare printers before making your purchase.

Whether you decide on an eco-solvent large format printer or a more traditional digital one, knowing all of your options will make finding what works best for your needs easier. Contact us at (888) 484-9292 if you have any questions about printers and printing.