FLAAR looks at the new bio-solvent BioVu ink from Vutek that may replace eco-solvent inks Print

InkWare (Vutek) has achieved a major breakthrough in solvent inks with BioVu ink, now available on the Mutoh Biojet flatbed printer and on Vutek UltraVu II 3360 solvent ink printers.

Not only might bio-solvent inks replace eco-solvent inks currently used by Roland and others, but bio-solvent may potentially be used in grand format printers as well, such as Vutek UltraVu II 3360 printers.

The bio-solvent inks were introduced by Vutek for their UltraVu II 3360 and simultaneously by Mutoh in their BioJet modification of a flatbed version of a Mutoh Osprey printer. What I do not yet understand is why Lyson lactate solvent ink never became popular while BioVu lactate ink is out only a few weeks and makes international headlines on FLAAR websites and in two articles in major industry trade magazines (again by FLAAR). Lyson lactate inks were used in the ill-fated Tiara solvent ink printers.

Keep in mind that the new corn-based lactate ink is still an experimental chemistry and is still being tested.

VUTEk BioVu printer reviews
VUTEk BioVu printer at Graph Expo 2007.

Lumocolor, a universal water-based ink from Staedler (Mars): an additional unusual and innovative ink

We are also checking on the exciting Lumocolor inks from Staedtler. These are water-based and work exclusively in piezo printheads. They print on uncoated paper, metal, canvas, vinyl, aluminum foil (from the grocery store), and anything else you can run through a printer. But the printer needs to be retro-fitted with a heater and abrasion aspects are still being worked on. But Staedtler has German chemists and is a solid company for R&D in these aspects.

Other environmentally friendly inks: HP’s new latex ink

The interesting muBIO ink has been shown at a few US trade shows, but less often in Europe . And this was after an absence for over a year (in other words the bio-solvent ink was first shown in 2005 then it disappeared a few months later, and only reappeared in late 2007, on the Mutoh VJ 1608 Hybrid flatbed printer).

FLAAR is offering personalized consulting at each trade show. You can walk-the-floor with the Senior Editor of FLAAR and get his comments on any and all printers, inks, RIP software, color management, substrates, applications, etc.

So if you wish to learn about the difference between combo, hybrid, and dedicated UV printers, how latex ink compares, about textile printers, etc. contact FLAAR to obtain consulting.

You can also get consulting before ISA or FESPA anywhere in the world: Dubai, India, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, China, Korea, London and more.

During these same years there was so much new technology in UV-cured flatbed printers that the bio-solvent ink sort of did not make much impact. FLAAR has over 83 reports on UV ink but not a single report on bio-solvent ink. So our over 270,000 readers of this large format web site don’t yet have a chance to learn about bio-solvent ink because all our current resources are dedicated to UV-cured ink because this is where the research funding from industry is available.

And now there is another competing ink, HP’s new latex ink, with enormous marketing muscle behind it. This ink is sufficiently interesting that I have already spent three days at HP Scitex in Israel being trained on this latex ink. Several more training sessions are planned at other HP research centers in coming weeks. This is the best way to really learn about an ink: 1-to-1 with the chemists and product managers. That’s why we have a report on Staedtler’s Lumocolor ink for several years and why there will be FLAAR Reports on the HP latex ink in a few weeks.

If this level of access for training was available for the VUTEk or the Mutoh version of the ink and printer, there would/will be a FLAAR Report on this. The reason is that we are not a trade magazine, so we don’t reproduce mindless PR releases. Our readers expect more realistic comments than merely parroting what the manufacturer wants people to hear. Our readers prefer to know the facts, not the fiction.

Magic Ink, from Eastech, still another water-based ink, that can print on flat, thick, and rigid materials

The HP latex ink, first generation, is for roll-to-roll signage materials. The Lumocolor ink will print on some flat rigid materials (if the printer can physically move it through the system). Although Lumocolor is made primarily for roll-to-roll, if a printer could be designed to handle rigid material, the ink can handle some rigid materials too.

VUTEk uses their bio-solvent for roll-to-roll materials and lets Mutoh use the same or related ink for flat rigid materials.

The other unusual ink is “Magic Ink” from Eastech. It is for all kinds of material, flat or roll-fed.

OrmoJet Airbrush ink for glass

ORMOjet is currently an ink for airbrush printers for printing on glass that Prof. Dr.-Ing Trier is preparing for inkjet applications. I thank Uwe Heinisch, editor of SIP magazine, for letting me know about this unusual ink, which is effectively “unknown” to the traditional inkjet world.

We will report back our findings on Lumocolor, OrmoJet and bio-solvent BioVu after we recuperate from FESPA Digital in Geneva , a major European trade show in early April 2008.

BioWare and BioVu are trademarked by Inkware. The Mutoh version is now called muBIO.


Most recently updated March 18, 2008.
First posted June 23, 2005. Updated June 1, 2006.