Developers talk about the development of the new Epson Pro WT7900
Rich, translucent prints and fast drying times
Epson introduces a newly developed film ― Epson ClearProof™ Film.
LFP Planning & Design Department
Kenichi Seguchi, Product Manager
Why did you develop Epson ClearProof™ Film? Also, what did you especially focus on to make it successful?
We received many requests from people in packaging who wanted an alternative to DDCP as well as solvent and UV inks. What a lot of them desired was an affordable inkjet printer that was easy to operate and maintain. In order to achieve this, we had to develop an aqueous white ink and a clear film that could quickly absorb both white ink and color ink. Moreover, research into typical usage revealed that the drying times of current systems was unacceptably long. So, we began development of a new clear film, focusing on absorbability and transparency in addition to faster drying times.
That's how Epson ClearProof Film was born.
What makes it unique is that even if twice as much ink is printed on media, white and color inks never mix or smudge. In addition, Epson ClearProof Film has a higher absorption rate and faster drying time compared to ordinary inkjet film, resulting in increased productivity. Also, it is very easy to handle after printing.
Why did you use P.E.T for the media base? And what makes the absorption layer so special?
We used P.E.T because it is transparent, very easy to handle, and highly stable. It is specially treated to make the ink absorption layer more stable. Also, since the layer must be made of polymer for high transparency, we developed a new process of producing multi-layer polymer that is both highly absorbent and very transparent.
You'll find that other brands of clear media crack and wrinkle if too much ink is applied because the absorption layer cannot adequately handle a large amount of ink.
What is the difference between Glossy Film and new Epson ClearProof Film? And can we use Epson ClearProof Film with the other Stylus Pro printers?
The base material of the two media is P.E.T, but the composition is completely different. The ink absorbing layer of Glossy Film is a "void" structure, which means light scatters within the ink absorption layer resulting in milky whites that are not quite white. Also, this structure does not have a high enough absorption rate to handle both white and color ink. Furthermore, print quality between the two media is different.
Epson ClearProof Film, however, can be used with other Stylus Pro printers, but is really best suited for the Epson Stylus Pro WT7900.
Are there any precautions when using Epson ClearProof Film?
Yes. Temperature and humidity are important to achieve optimal print quality. Room temperature should be between 20 and 25 Cº and relative humidity between 40 and 60%. And note that the media tends to become soft when humid. Also, the printed surface is very fragile and easily scratched. That's why it's packaged with backing sheets, which help prevent scratches when printing and loading. To further prevent damage, the film stacker that comes with Epson Stylus Pro WT7900 prevents the corners and edges of media from scratching the printed surface.
The weight of Epson ClearProof Film is 156 gsm. Are you planning to launch other package-proofing media in the future?
Yes. We've already done the most difficult part, which was developing an ink absorption layer for the new aqueous white ink. Now we are ready to develop new media based on this in order to meet further customer demands. Currently, we are considering a thinner film and a metallic type.