News Views & How-To's

Top 5 Reasons to Buy a Resin/Latex Ink Printer

These days it seems everyone is talking about the benefits of resin ink printing - and for good reason.  Today’s resin/latex inks and printers offer bold, rich colour options, an ability to handle a wide range of media, environmentally friendly low-VOC output, and fast-drying prints.

This versatile technology provides fast production power for a wide range of applications, including wallpaper and fabrics, fleet graphics, canvas printing, interior and exterior signage, and many others.

To get more detail on what resin ink printing can do for your production, we tapped into the expertise of Daniel Valade, Roland DG’s product manager for digital print in America because the principles are the same in Australia and internationally.

First of all, are resin and latex ink the same?

Daniel Valade: Resin ink and latex ink are actually two names for similar, water-based, multi-purpose ink technologies. There isn’t any actual latex or resin in the inks. Although the various latex and resin ink technologies are similar, the specific ink formulations vary substantially from manufacturer to manufacturer, so you’ll want to research your options carefully.

How does resin ink print?

Resin ink printing works by preheating the material, after which the printer deposits a droplet of optimiser on the substrate. The ink then lands inside the dot of optimizer, yielding just the right amount of dot gain. Using a high-quality optimiser is critical for controlling the level of dot gain, and therefore for controlling output quality.

Roland DG TrueVIS AP-640 inkset as installed in printer

Why do you recommend resin ink technology?

There are many reasons to consider adding resin ink printing capability to your operation. Here are the top five:

Image of pantone color swatches in rows

1. Wide Colour Gamut

In the past, resin ink colours have had a reputation for not being quite as deep and rich as those printed using eco-solvent ink, however, with today’s advanced equipment and ink formulations, some resin inks are able to achieve deep and rich colours that match the performance of eco-solvent inks. 

In fact, the Roland DG TrueVIS AP-640 was recently recognised for its wide colour gamut and outstanding print quality, winning the 2024 BLI Pick Award. The TrueVIS AP-640 uses advanced technology like variable dot control to fire different types of ink droplets, yielding unparalleled image quality.

Hospital hallway with printed graphics on walls.

2. Versatile print technology

Today’s resin/latex ink printers can produce a wide range of permanent and temporary signage, including wall, window, and floor graphics, fleet graphics, retail and office graphics, posters, banners, stickers, and labels. 

In addition, resin ink’s water-based print technology meets the requirements for print products used in certain environments such as schools, healthcare facilities, and hospitals. This sustainability aspect of resin inks is also more in demand market-wide, especially for interior graphics. Roland DG’s TrueVIS Resin Inks have even achieved GREENGUARD Gold Certification, providing assurance that they meet the most stringent standards for low VOC emissions into indoor air.

Repeated image of panel van with vehicle graphics

3. High-volume production

Many resin/latex ink printers are designed to be high-volume production machines and some offer users lower running costs compared to other technologies. Many people appreciate the time savings from resin ink production, which does not require additional post-production steps like outgassing. Depending on the printer manufacturer, prints produced on eco-solvent or solvent printers require anywhere from 6-48 hours of outgassing time before the prints are ready for installation or finishing. Resin ink prints are ready to laminate, install or ship much more quickly. 

In addition, since resin ink prints do not require any post-production steps, the printer can be loaded up with one material and left to run for hours. This makes resin ink printers ideal for printing on fabrics for walls or furniture, signage for interiors, window graphics, floor graphics, or fleet vehicle graphics.

4. Expanded media options

Over the past few years, resin/latex ink technology has evolved significantly and the range of media these inks adhere to has expanded. These days, resin ink printer manufacturers are focused on helping providers make use of a wider range of materials. Roland DG TrueVIS AP-640 users, for example, have access to over 200 ICC media profiles.

Although there are specialty materials designed for resin/latex printers, resin ink is also compatible with a wide variety of media types including traditional signage materials as well as fabrics, wallpapers, and uncoated papers.

Classroom with student desks facing a wall with graphics of outer space on a deep blue background.

5. Durable, sustainable prints 

Due to their eco-friendly composition, resin ink prints are in demand for indoor signage and décor, particularly at schools and medical facilities. Since these prints are designed to be viewed at close range, they also tend to be higher-margin products for print businesses.

In addition, the durability of resin/latex inks has improved to the point where resin prints are competitive for outdoor graphic applications, such as vehicle and fleet graphics. Some manufacturer’s latex or resin ink formulations are best used for wraps on box trucks and trailers where less conformability is required. However, some of the newest resin inks, such as Roland DG’s TrueVIS Resin Inks, are far less prone to cracking, which makes them an outstanding choice for wrapping vehicles with their many curves and edges.

Are there other considerations potential buyers should keep in mind?

To ensure the printer you select continues to produce consistent, vibrant, detailed output, be sure to inquire about the printhead technology. Some manufacturers use a thermal printhead, which can degrade over time, resulting in colour variation when you need to repeat a print. Roland DG uses a piezoelectric printhead, which is a type of industrial printhead that consistently delivers vivid prints with accuracy year after year without replacing the head.

Since printing devices are often one of the largest investments signage and print business owners make, it’s important to consider the printer manufacturer’s reputation for reliability and support. Roland DG backs the AP-640 with a two-year ‘Heads n All’ warranty that includes on-site service and repair.

What do you see for the future of resin ink printing?

Industry leaders are predicting that in the years ahead the printed graphics market will continue its current pattern of strong growth. To keep up with increasing demand, print providers need to consider options that will allow them to efficiently produce their output while maintaining quality and colour standards.

Resin and latex inks, with their fast-drying, durable, and sustainable formulations, are making resin ink production more popular than ever with print providers and their clients. 

For more information on resin ink production, contact a Roland DG expert, here.