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Erasable Ink Jet Printed Signage for Media Reuse

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000129243D
Publication Date: 2005-Oct-03
Document File: 4 page(s) / 71K

Publishing Venue

The IP.com Prior Art Database

Abstract

This disclosure proposes a process and materials for digitally printing signage and posters by ink jet printing wide format media that can then be physically erased for reuse. In a preferred embodiment, the printing is obtained with piezoelectric ink jet printing solvent or hydrocarbon inks containing colored pigments and polymeric binders. Alternatively, solid (phase-change) ink jet printing systems could be utilized. The media is either flexible or rigid (flat) with a white, non-absorbing surface coating of surface energy that enables ink spreading. To reuse the media, the inked substrate is physically erased by either hand or mechanical cleaning with an eraser or roll, or washing the surface with water/detergent provided the media substrate is water compatible.

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Erasable Ink Jet Printed Signage for Media Reuse

Digital wide-format ink jet printing now dominates the short-run market for signage and posters.  When signage needs to be updated or replaced, a new image must be printed on new media.  Thus, the outdated signage (media) is discarded or recycled.  Electronic signs enable erasable images and consequently cost savings since new media is not required to create a new sign.  However, the cost of electronic signage is high compared to a wide-format printing.  Thus, there is a need for signage that is erasable, low-cost, and environmentally friendly.

This disclosure proposes a process and materials for digitally printing signage and posters by ink jet printing wide format media that can then be physically erased for reuse.  In a preferred embodiment, the printing is obtained with piezoelectric ink jet printing solvent or hydrocarbon inks containing colored pigments and polymeric binders.  Alternatively, solid (phase-change) ink jet printing systems could be utilized.  The media is either flexible or rigid (flat) with a white, non-absorbing surface coating of surface energy that enables ink spreading.  To reuse the media, the inked substrate is physically erased by either hand or mechanical cleaning with an eraser or roll, or washing the surface with water/detergent provided the media substrate is water compatible.

Wide-format ink jet imaging is one of the most rapidly growing new segments in the printing industry.  Like narrow-format ink jet printers, wide-format ink jet printers use thermal and piezoelectric technologies.  The media widths range from 24 inches to 72 inches.  The thermal printers use water-based dye or pigmented process colors (cyan, magenta, yellow, and black), but they also may include as many as eight additional colors to expand the color range of the printer.  Piezoelectric printers use pigmented solvent or hydrocarbon-based inks to produce durable images on a variety of media that is either flexible or rigid.  UV-cured inks are now also being offered.  Manufacturers of wide-format, drop-on-demand ink jet printers include Canon, ENCAD, Epson, HP, Mimaki, Mutoh, Raster Graphics, Roland and Xerox.  Recently many additional Asian companies have entered the market with low cost equipment for signage that are aggressively competing with the established competitors.  Korean companies include DGI , Dream Printing Technology, and Kwangko Systems Co.  Chinese companies are Eastsign International ltd (DING),

Flora

,

Zhejiang

Gongzhen Tech. 

Co.

, and Rasign.  Finally, from Taiwan Eastech has a printing offering.  Flatbed inkjet printing can print directly onto a rigid substrate in short runs, enabling new applications such as point-of-purchase signage and outdoor posters.  Many companies are now marketing flatbed ink jet printers including Zünd, Inca, Ciantec, NUR, Scitex Vision, Mimaki, Mutoh, Roland, DGI, Hypernics, etc.  The vast majority of the printers use UV-cur...