Centre for Fine Print Research University of the West of England Centre for Fine Print Research

The Development of Novel Inkjet Inks

Awarding body: Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC)
Awarded to: Parraman, Carinna
Researcher participants: O’Dowd, Paul
INDUSTRIAL partnerS: Pulse Roll Label Products Ltd
Project duration: 31/07/2014 – 31/07/2015
Project details:
In 2004, Dr Carinna Parraman undertook an AHRC funded project entitled "Screenprinted colour as a theoretical model for the development of inkjet technology". The Development of Novel Inkjet Inks sought to build upon and extend the methods by exploiting recent developments in inkjet technology to develop innovative UV cure ink products for commercial print applications.

The collaboration used the results of the 2004 research by exploiting recent developments in inkjet technology to enable Pulse to develop innovative UV cure ink products for commercial print applications, thus giving them an advantage in the field.
Today, the field of colour printing is becoming increasingly more technical and remote from traditional methods of the application of colour in the physical world. The way an artist mixes and applies colour is fundamentally different to the digital reproduction of colour and coloured images. An artist's approach to colour printing is concerned with the physical mixing of pigments that are then applied as layers of colour, whereas the digital reproduction of colour is reliant on computational colour modelling to provide accurate numerical data for reproduction. Artists using digital colour are now becoming cognisant in an increasingly technical environment that demands more understanding of different colour spaces, characterisation of printer hardware and paper and an array of file formats. The research by Parraman demonstrated that a more practical knowledge and perceptual understanding of colour can be formulated from the perspective of traditional methods by physically mixing colour pigments and over layering colour.
In 2004, the technological capabilities and colour science were not ready for exploitation, in part because of limitations in the capability of inkjet print heads. Inkjet printing technology and knowledge has matured, and recent improvements in print head technology and software have increased the potential to inkjet print a wider range of inks onto a wider variety of materials. The previous research will now allow the use of a range of colorants that expand the current process colour set (bespoke colour palettes that match artists colours) spot colours (Pantone) pigments and decorative inks (metallic, mica, gloss) and novel colorants (fluorescent and colour changing) onto materials including leather, wallpaper, metallic card, plastic.
As demonstrated at industrial print expos, the shift from the traditional screenprint and lithography market to high-speed inkjet printing is partially due to developments in UV curable inks, which have better adhesion to a range of materials, resulting in a diversity of novel print applications, including: decorative printing for packaging, textiles and labelling. This development in UV curing creates greater potential for layering in relation to the findings of the 2004 research. Additionally it creates further potential for commercial exploitation for printer and ink manufacturers to develop UV curing inks.
This project moved beyond halftoning and process colours - CMYK (Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black) towards the development of custom pigments and decorative inks to obtain new colour mixtures. The results should lead to new methods for printing from a practitioner perspective aligned more closely to the creative arts and creative industries.



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Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC)

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Research Councils UK (RCUK)

Newby Trust