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Dye vs. Pigment Ink – Comparison

Some inkjet printers use dye based ink, some use pigment based ink and some has both as option, like the well-known Primera label printers LX910e and LX500e. Using a label printer with both options you have the opportunity to choose between dye-based and pigment-based ink.

Which ink type is best for the print?

Dye ink uses colour substances that are dissolved in a liquid while pigment ink uses small colour particles that are held in a suspension. The water soluble dye can be seen as sugar that dissolves in water and the pigments as sand mixed in water.

Supplies-Label

Dye based inks are able to provide a wider colour space for more vibrant and colourful prints, but will come off when getting in contact with water unless printed on special coated label material. The print is water-resistant as long as the label does not rub against any-thing disturbing.

Initial print quality between dye and pigment ink is virtually the same. Both the vibrancy and colour reproduction look very similar. It is hard to tell the difference between dye and pigment ink when comparing quality not looking side by side.

All inks, whether dye or pigment, will begin to fade over time. Dye ink, generally, is recommended for indoor use on products that will be consumed in less than a year. If exposed daily to direct sunlight or bright indoor lights, dye inks may start to fade quickly.

Pigment ink has a superior UV resistance and therefore is selected when many years of indoor use or up to two years of outdoor life is required with little fading.

Advantages of dye ink

Dye inks are able to provide softer colours which look more vivid and brilliant than the pigment ink. They may come off when get-ting in contact with water unless printed on special coated label material. The print is water-resistant as long as the label does not rub against anything disturbing. When it comes to quality generally spoken dye ink wins.

Advantages of pigment ink

Pigment inks tend to be lighter in colour than dye they are more water-resistant while producing a truer solid black than dye. Es-pecially when the label is exposed to UV light for many months, the pigment ink holds its colour, quality and vibrancy better than dye. Speaking of water resistance and long life durability plus colour consistency the winner is pigment ink.

Dye ink vs. Pigment ink

Which ink should I choose?

Most customers did choose DTM Print’s colour label printers because of the outstanding colour label they get with dye ink and take the small restrictions regarding water-resistance and fading into account.

In more industrial applications, where the need for lasting labels beats the wish for nice labels, the use of pigment ink is preferred.

Label printers such as Primera’s LX500e or LX910e work either with dye-based or pigment ink using the same machine by simply switching the all-in-one ink cartridge.

Does it affect the label stock?

DTM Genuine certified label material is designed to give best results either with dye-based or with pigment ink. Check our Label Material Sample Book for further details and samples.

Storing the ink

If you are switching to pigment ink you might want to store the dye ink that it doesn’t dry. The best way to prevent the print head of drying is to close it airtight in an usual kitchen plastic container.

ATTENTION: If you are switching to pigment ink you must must use a new printhead. You cannot mix inks in the same print head as this will cause chemical reactions, causing poor print quality, reduced water and scratch resistance and potentially clogged or burned print nozzles.

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