Sophisticated ink for diverse range of materials: a new ink: Jetbest Magic Ink Print

Sophisticated ink for diverse range of materials: a new ink: Jetbest Magic Ink

UV-cured ink has been a billion-dollar breakthrough that began in the last 1990’s, reached significant capability by 2004, and has been a mainstay of signage printing as well as décor applications since 2008. But today in 2012 some printshops are asking for more innovative inks that do not require a furnace as required by latex ink, or expensive UV-curing system as required by UV-cured ink.

Recently it was possible to visit Jetbest headquarters and learn of alternatives. Jetbest distinguishes itself from other companies in Asia: Jetbest develops their own inks and creates lots more than just after-market third-party eco-solvent inks (these they also brew, but Jetbest specialists in inks for ceramics and other materials).

I began studying Jetbest ink in 2010, after having several people in the industry suggest I visit their booth. Their I met Alex, Lionel, and Amy, and began to learn about the features of this ink.

Then I visited the world headquarters of Jetbest.

Then I visited an end-user in Shanghai who uses their eco-solvent ink. Very interesting that a Chinese print shop would use an ink from Taiwan rather than an ink from mainland China.

Jetbest logo lobby
Jetbest logo at Lobby in Jetbest company, Taiwan 2011.

 

Jetbest ink in South Africa

The TwinJet hybrid printer from Nashakele uses the new Jetbest ink. I saw this at Sign Africa 2010. During 2011 I noticed Jetbest ink being used in printers made in Europe, usually flatbed printers for specialized materials.

Jetbest ink on hybrid printers made in China

At the D-PES 2011 sign expo in Dongguan earlier last year, Phaeton was using ink from Jetbest in a hybrid printer (hybrid means pinch rollers atop grit rollers). I did not study the heating (curing) system but will be taking notes on this at Shanghai APPPEXPO in early July.

 

Dr. Alex Lu President with Nicholas showing samples of Magic ink
Dr. Alex Lu President with Nicholas showing samples of Magic ink

 

Sample of Jetbest glass Phoenix Taiwan 2011.

Gradual development of dedicated flatbeds for using this Jetbest ink

I first saw the new flatbed in the Jetbest demo room in Taiwan. Then the next day it was exhibited at a Tapei sign expo. During 2012 we will be looking at the newer generations of flatbed printers which use the newer generation of Jetbest inks.

Sample of Jetbest Magic ink printing on glass
Sample of Jetbest Magic ink printing on glass Taiwan 2011.

Jetbest ink in America

Jetbest has a direct outlet in USA. Their most recent exhibit was at ISA 2011. So you can see Jetbest again at ISA sign expo in 2012.

Another ink is also named Magic Ink but is not the same

My comments on this page apply only to the current ink made by Jetbest. There is an earlier ink, named also named Magic Ink since about four or five years. Originally that other, earlier Magic Ink had an address in Japan associated with a company in Taiwan. The Taiwan company was not the manufactuer; only the distributor. It is a general estimate that this original Magic Ink is a dye-based solvent-ink, and is not the same as the newer ink of Jetbest.

I have tested the other ink in Thailand about four years ago. It was a third-generation ink and thus improved over early generations but d id not adhere to smooth surfaces that had no primer. The ink from Jetbest is more sophisticated and is available worldwide.

Jetbest ink storeroom
Jetbest ink storeroom Taiwan 2011.

 

Jetbest ink cartridges flatbed
Jetbest ink cartridges flatbed Taiwan 2011.

Advangages of Jetbest rigid inks over UV-cured inks

The Jetbest ink is new but we can mention a few comparative points. Jetbest and Sepiax each have many advantages over UV-cured inks. But UV-cured inks have other advantages: print faster on PVC; Sepiax is slow on PVC. Indeed the ink company itsef is stating clearly that AquaRes is not idea for PVC. Unfortunately several distributors are still incorrectly claiming this ink prints on absolutely everything.

Each ink tends to have two or three substances that they simply don’t print well on. Ignore advertising claims of any ink that claims they “print on everything.” This is because printing-on-everything does not mean ‘sticking on everything’. So you may have poor adhesion and poor abrasion resistance on some materials. Often it is the brand of material as much as the material itself (so cheap Coroplast-like fluted material may not print as well as a high-grade original Coroplast).

 

UV-Cured Jetbest HP latex ink
Flatbed Yes or No Yes Yes Not at all
Color gamut Quirky yellow, green, often reds are dry Great color Color ok but not as much pop as other inks
Cost of printer Very high Reasonable Not cheap
Cost of electricity Very high Reasonable Very very high electrical costs
Cost of printheads Very high Low cost Constant replacement results in high costs
Cost of inks Price per liter varies from very high to reasonable, depending on brand Ink is the lowest cost of any special ink in the worls Not cheap but not outrageous

 

HP latex ink is the most limited yet the commercially most sold of all the new inks since 2008: high high curing temperature is both an environmental issue, a cost issue, and means that many thin or heat-sensitive materials can’t be used. But the advantage of HP latex ink is that HP Scitex has engineered printers from the ground up to handle latex ink. There is no printer for any other ink (other than for UV-cured) to handle the new inks in a full-scale production manner. All the present printers for exotic inks are still first-generation.

UV-cured ink is the most mature, the best known, and does a good job on lots of materials. But LED-cured UV-printers are slow and don’t always cure fully. Mercury arc printers generate searing heat (and thus high costs).

More studies of Jetbest ink are being prepared

We will need to visit end-users who use Magic Ink. As soon as these visits can be prepared we will update our reports.

 

Most recently updated January 6, 2012.

First posted May 2011. Updated November 2011.