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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

“White is a primary color in the branding of these companies, it’s part of their DNA,” Calon says. “We were able to use it here to help these brands express their technology.” In fact, the project has been so well received, 54blue is already working on The Impact Lab II, which is slated for installation later this year.

Exploiting white
Woody Molinaro, owner of Invisible Light Manufacturing ( in Elk Grove, Illinois, considers Mutoh’s ValueJet 1617H an investment helping broaden his horizons, both commercially and creatively. He’s not using its white ink option every day – not yet anyway – but he is continually exploring and finding new ways to exploit it.

“White ink is something I first ran across when there was a print project I couldn’t do,” because he lacked that capability, he says. Already an owner of Mutoh’s ValueJet 1617, Molinaro upgraded to the newer hybrid flatbed/rollfed printer and its white-ink capabilities last year. “It gives me more flexibility in what I do for my customers and the products I can offer,” he says.

Photographers were among the early adopters of Invisible Light’s new capabilities, tapping this option for reverse printing of color photos on clear acrylic. Backed with 100-percent white, these panels are then cut to size for use as photo album covers. “Each measures about 12 x 12 inches and we typically produce anywhere from 12 to 16 to as many as 30 at a time,” he says. This low-volume work can command a premium price, he notes.

For another client, white proved critical for a more limited run of prototype packaging for distribution to its clients. “They wanted to give their customer samples which look exactly like the final packaging,” he explains. The client provided the rolled film which he spot printed with white, then over printed in specified colors.

Molinaro has also used white in floor graphics for trade shows, reverse printing colors on textured 5 x 10-foot panels of 75-mil clear floor vinyl. The color graphics were backed with 100-percent white, then a foam board backing applied before panels were installed.