- About Absolute Black and Clear inks
About Absolute Black and Clear inks
Absolute Black inks for making Screen positives
Using an Epson inkjet printer as an image setter to print onto clear film has become the standard method of making screen positives in the screen printing industry. The small dot size that these machines produce, and the ability to print at high resolution provides an ideal way to make high quality color separations at a low cost compared to traditional photo chemistry or thermal print methods. However, the original pigment inks provided by Epson are not ideally suited to the screen positive process, providing poor light blocking performance and easily scratch off during the screen exposure process. This has now all changed with the introduction of the i2i Absolute Black ink.
Absolute Black provides several advantages over the original Epson inks:-
- Superior light blocking characteristics – no pin holes in solid color areas.
- Faster print speeds compared to pigment inks.
- Increased film scratch resistance – re-use films several times.
- Better polymer curing – means longer lasting screens.
- Cost effective – Absolute Black cartridges are 30% less then originals.
- Bulk ink feed systems available to further reduce costs by as much as 70%.
- Use in black only cartridge, or all cartridges for increased coverage and print speed.
Using specially developed, high density UV absorbing dyes, the i2i Absolute Black ink provides superior light blocking performance. As mentioned above, pigment inkjet inks are not ideally suited to blocking light. The reason for this is that they don’t easily ‘film form’ to provide complete coverage of the printed area. The magnified images on the right show this effect. The pigment black ink has not completely covered the film and holes are visible that can cause ‘pin holes’ in the cured polymer during the screen exposure process. The i2i Absolute Black ink has completely covered the film with no holes present. This means that screens can be exposed for longer during the exposure process to provide better polymer curing. Another drawback of the original pigment inks is that they are easily scratched when the film is removed from the screen after exposure, and so the film can often be used only once – frustrating if a job need to be re-printed in the future. The i2i Absolute Black ink bonds well to screen positive films and is far more scratch resistant, so films can be kept for re-use later – a big cost saving plus for repeat order print jobs. Print speeds are also limited when using the original pigment inks as the printer has to print at high resolution (and therefore a slow speed) to lay down a high enough ink coverage for the screen positive making process. The superior film forming and light blocking characteristics of the i2i Absolute Black ink means the printer can now be set to print at a higher speed to increase productivity.
For Epson pro wide format printer models, the i2i Absolute Black inks are supplied in ready to use cartridges that install just like original cartridges, or in bulk bottles for use with our range of refillable bulk ink cartridges for increased savings. For 13’’ wide Epson desk top printer models, the inks are supplied in bulk bottles only for use in our refillable cartridge kits. Absolute Black can be used in the black channel only or in multiple or all channels on a printer dependent on the software used to drive the printer. The ink can also be used alongside regular color pigment inks or with our Absolute clear inks for non-active channels. Installation of Absolute Black is simple. The ink can be used directly on top of the original Epson black inks but we recommend purging the ink through to the print head before use. This is done using the ‘initial fill’ feature built in to most printer models or by running cleaning cycles, and we provide full installation guides for all popular printer models that explains this process (see our support pages). For first time users of Absolute Black, we recommend reading our ‘Ordering guide for Absolute Black inks’ PDF for guidance and advice on the best combination of Absolute Black, and color or clear inks for your application. For users of other dye based black inks for making screen positives, Absolute Black can normally be installed directly on top of the existing inks without purging or cleaning. A popular way of using Absolute Black inks is to install them in every channel on the printer (all black printing) and just print through the regular Epson driver software. In this case, we strongly recommend flushing the print before installing Absolute Black - black inks do not mix well with color inks and head clogging can result. We supply cleaning cartridge for this purpose and instructions on their use on our support pages. If you are planning to install Absolute Black on a brand new machine that has never had ink installed before, then Asbolute Black can be installed in every channel without flushing first.
Absolute Clear inks for non-active channels in Epson screen positive printer applications
Many Epson printers used in screen positive applications are dedicated to black only screen separation production, and are never used for printing full color images. These machines normally print using the black cartridge only or multiple black cartridges when used with dedicated screen separation RIP software. The other non-active ink channels on the printer are never used and are essentially redundant. Unfortunately, Epson printers require that these non-active ink channels have cartridges installed and ink flowing through them to prevent print head damage during cleaning cycles. Using regular color pigment inks in these non-active cartridges is both expensive and wasteful, and can cause jet blockages should the printer ever be needed for full color printing in the future. Using the i2i Absolute Clear ink provides a cost effective and ideal solution for keeping print heads clear and fully functioning while enjoying significant cost savings at the same time. Absolute Clear is essentially an ink without any colorant, and is manufactured at the correct viscosity and using the same humectants that are used in regular color inks to preserve print head life. Costing over 50% less than regular color inks, Absolute clear is fully mixable with the original Epson pigment inks and can simply be installed one channel at a time as regular cartridges run empty. Should the printer ever be needed for full color printing in the future, then simply install regular color ink cartridges in place of the absolute clear inks, and a quick purge through using the machines initial fill feature or cleaning cycles will return the machine to full color mode.
Absolute Clear inks are supplied in ready to use cartridges for Epson Pro wide format printer models or in bulk bottles for use with our refillable bulk ink cartridges. For 13’’ wide Epson desk top printer models, the inks are supplied in bulk bottles only for use in our refillable cartridge kits.
If you are using an Epson printer for screen positive printing only, then the i2i Absolute Clear inks will not only provide considerable cost savings but also increase the usable life of your printer. Absolute Clear can happily be used alongside the Epson original black inks so, even if you don’t use our specialist black inks for screen positives, you can still enjoy considerable cost savings from using our products in the non-active channels on your printer and preserve the life of the machine.
To find products for your printer, click on the product heading in the menu to the left. Each heading will expand and list the printer models that we support. Clicking on your printer model will show the options available.