We have had tons of questions, concerns and problems concerning the new Kodak ESP printer. However, to explain and answer these questions we must look deep into the types of inks that are used by this printer and explain the difference between all other printers.
What is the difference between pigmented ink and dye based inks ?
All ink jet printer inks used in home and most businesses use similar formulation of inks. The basic make-up of ink jet inks is de-ionized water as the solvent, isopropyl alcohol or glycol as the drying agent, and dye base to provide the color. These materials as well as proprietary ingredients are mixed in various proportions to form ink jet inks. Depending on the page speed, print head design and color capabilities, the actual proportion of ingredients will vary. All dye-based ink jet ink formations have the same problem, they lack water resistance.
Then there is the Kodak ESP Printers
The introduction of the Kodak pigmented inks changed this, instead of using water soluble dye to provide color, pigmented inks use small particles suspended in the base solution to provide the color. To keep the particles from setting out of the solution the pigment particles are coated with a polymer material to generate a static charge around the particle, there by keeping the particles from clumping. The main advantage of pigmented inks: Once they set up fully on the print media they are virtually water proof The ink is less susceptible to bleeding and wicking on the paper fibers. The disadvantages: Pigmented ink in black tend to have a charcoal appearance and so far color inks are very expensive to produce, costing 2 to 4 times the cost of dye based inks.
How the rules change when printing on fabric.
For all accounts pigment inks appear to be 100% permanent when printing on fabric with no post treatment. However, many of you have found that this is not totally true. The truth of the matter is the inks are simply water resistance. Which mean if you splash water on the fabric or quickly submerge the fabric into water it will have no immediate color lost.
However, if you wash the fabric in any type of detergent (mild or regular) the results will be terrible and will leave your image spotty, dull and very faded. The problem is simple. Pigment inks cannot take abrasion very well (crocking problem). As a result, when you rub up against fabric that was printed with the Kodak ESP Printers it would come off very easily. The pigment particles are clinging to each other as well as the fabric. So it is simple to rub against the fabric and transfer these particles unto another piece of fabric.
The Basic Understanding.
A dye based ink jet printer may give some better results.This depends on your projects and items you are printing. But remember if you are looking to achieve a true permanency and this item will be washed or is a wearable item. Then a dye based printer is what you want (such as HP printers).
However, if you are making a wall hanging and it will never be washed. Then the Kodak ESP Printer with pigment inks will give you a better performance. It will be splash resistance and light fastness. Although they claim up to eighty years on the light fastness, the results will vary with different fabrics. Even if you loose 20 years, 60 years would still be a good buy.