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Inkware, a division of EFI, has produced inks from a renewable resource”?corn. The company reports that its new BioWare inks are a traditional solvent ink that will print onto untreated/uncoated substrates, can be used in high-production environments, produce high print quality, and resist mechanical wear as well as UV light. The inks produce no hazardous materials, generate safer VOCs, have a reduced odor; and no ventilation/burning systems are required, says the company.

The inks use ethyl lactate as a solvent, versus cyclohexanone, ethylene glycol ethers, NMP, aromatic hydrocarbons, or vinyl esters”?all of which are typically used in true solvent inks. Unlike the above-mentioned chemicals, “The solvent is 100% biodegradable, not listed as ODP, HAP, or SARA 313, non-ozone depleting, no hazardous air pollution, and non-carcinogenic,”? says Steve Mills, Inkware ink engineering manager.

But importantly, says Inkware, the corn-based inks produce like comparable regular solvent inks. “BioWare ink performance is equal to traditional solvent inks, in print speed, resolution and drying time,”? says Steve Emery, Inkware OEM sales and marketing manager. The inks have been tested successfully on a wide range of media, including coated and uncoated pressure-sensitive vinyls; coated paper such as photo paper, blueback and poster paper; banner and backlit materials; fabrics; and styrene. Inkware reports that BioWare offers a comparable color gamut to existing inksets such as Vutek”?s UltraVu 5 and Mutoh”?sToucan inkset, but are stronger in the greens and blues. The inks offer 2-year outdoor durability, which can be extended through the application of a laminate.

BioWare has been developed under in conjunction with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Design for the Environment (DfE) initiative. The initiative asks its partner companies to reduce pollution through the development of products that reduce the release of toxic chemicals. Inkware reports that BioWare is the first ink product recognized by the EPA DfE.

Inkware”?s BioWare inks have been adopted by Vutek (which is part of EFI) and Mutoh:

“? Vutek BioVu inks are currently compatible with the UltraVu II 3360, and the company plans to expand BioVu to its other solvent models later this year. Boasting a high print quality, BioVu inks are available in CMYKcmyk. When compared to traditional solvent inks, Vutek expects these inks will offer a lower running cost. The BioVu inks are currently in beta testing; Vutek anticipates shipping the inks in the second half of 2006.


“? MutohBio Inks are compatible with the company”?s new PJ series printers (currently available in Europe) and soon-to-debut Mutoh BioJet. Mutoh reports it has concentrated on printing with MutohBio inks onto rigid substrates, and has developed a system that allows for faster drying and aids in the bonding of the MutohBio Ink to the substrate, says Mutoh”?s Ikuya Atsuchi. MutohBio inks will be released in late 2006 or early 2007, pending completion of Mutoh's ISO qualification tests.




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