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(March 2014) posted on Mon Mar 10, 2014

Six shops exploring the expanding universe of white-ink applications.

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By Mike Antoniak

In one recent project, the Arizona printer was used to transform the look of four clear panels. The client specializes in sales environments promoting area real estate development; the sales center required an interactive display to explain key features and allow buyers to customize their homes.

The design called for four Arkema p95 frosted acrylic panels, 96-inches high and in various widths, from 33 to 42 inches. Each had to be printed in a different color to convey its focus on a particular aspect of the development. The colors were printed on the reverse side, then backed with 100-percent white.

An adhesive promoter was applied around the edges on the back of each panel. “Ink adhesion with white can be a problem, especially when printing on a surface like glass,” Cook notes. “We get around that issue by applying the adhesion promoter – just around the edges; otherwise sometimes there are streaks.”

Text and logos were printed on the front of each panel, in white or, alternately, with a white base applied first, and color printed on top of it. Photos used were printed with the company’s LightJet, then mounted onto 3A Composites Sintra panels. Like the touch-screens, they were mounted to the panels with spacers for a 3D effect.

“If we didn’t have the white ink, the panels would be transparent and look like stained glass,” Cook says.
Artisan Colour continues to find other applications for white-ink capabilities as well, including some large projects on a small scale. “We do custom printings of as many as 500 poker chips for area casinos,” Cook reports. “We precut disks from blue, black, green Sintra, spray a keyline file on the table, and manually place and flip them. It’s not the most efficient process, he admits, “but it’s better registration for things with a thin white border.”

Helping brands express their technology
Originally a design firm that specialized in brand building, 54blue ( in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, initially expanded into print work to take control of its workflow.

“We had to eliminate the back-and-forth and proofing stages to meet the timelines of our clients,” says 54blue owner and founder Jamie Calon. “We’re a little company that does marquee work. We don’t print a lot but what we do print gets seen.”