Printing VinylEfx Films with First Generation Latex Printers

Harry Truman said that if you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen. That’s good advice if you are a politician. On the other hand, if you are a printer and the media can’t stand the heat, just turn it down. When printing on heat sensitive materials with an earlier generation of latex printer, that may be the only viable solution.

Printing on the RTape VinylEfx films with some latex printers can be problematic. The high heat required to cure these inks can distort the microembossed patterns on the second surface of the film. The results can be pretty funky. And in most cases, the customer will be displeased.

For example, typical printing temperature of 100° C (212° F) can turn the glossy finish of Smooth Silver into a matte finish. The high heat can also result in tunneling of the film on the release liner. Temperature control in some earlier generations of latex printers can exceed 104°C  (220°F).

Correcting these heat related issues requires adjustments to a standard profile. Typically, you can print on the VinylEfx films using a profile for a gloss calendered vinyl film.  When printing with latex printers, such as the HP 25500 or 26500 models, try the following settings:

  • Printing temperature: 88° C  (190°F)
  • Drying temperature: 55° C (131°)
  • Increase the blower to 30% (this increases the air flow to facilitate drying)
  • Pass rate: 12 pass

The amount of ink that you are printing and your shop environment may necessitate adjustments to the above recommendations.

Be aware that by lowering the printing temperature, the ink will not be completely cured after printing. This means that once out of the printer, the ink will smear. For this reason, you must wait for the ink to thoroughly dry, before stacking prints or laminating.

Some colors will take longer than others to dry. Black and blue, for example, will take longer to dry than yellow. Shop humidity also affects how long it takes for the inks to fully dry. In humid conditions, it will take longer for the water in the latex inks to evaporate. In some cases, a print may not be completely dry for as long as two days.

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