What’s in a name?

Written by Peter Davidson on 15 September 2016.

peter davidson name resized

I am still quite amazed how many people are not aware what the “eco” bit of Eco Solvent ink stands for. Many users believe that it stands for Eco as in “green” and when they are told the real meaning - economy, not ecological - they are surprised and almost feel cheated that they weren’t told this in the first place.

To most people, "eco" means ecological. Full or True Solvent inks nearly always have a strong odour. Generally an eco solvent ink has little or no odour and doesn’t contain any harmful ingredients. The solvents within eco solvent inks are usually biodegradable and able to be broken down within the human body. However, just because an ink has no odour it does not automatically mean that it can be used in a normal indoor environment without extraction systems in place. You should always check the manufacturers product description sheets or with the manufacturer regarding ventilation requirements when using any kind of eco solvent ink. 

I don’t think the suppliers can’t be held totally to blame for this as it is the purchaser who should have researched it more thoroughly before they bought their printer. 

There have been and still are many descriptions of inkjet inks that aren’t totally accurate and I recall one supplier a few years ago who made some outstanding claims about the wholesome contents of their citrus based inks, but from what I was told at the time the only wholesome element was the smell, if you happen to like that type of thing?

Today, apart from Eco Solvent, there are several new inks or new versions of existing inks that tend to confuse users with their names or marketing descriptions. “Hybrid” UV inkjet inks seem to be a quite popular description at the moment and from what I can gather this means that they are a combination of UV and solvent chemistry, therefore when compared to the previous versions these ‘hybrid’ inks seem to have more UV and less solvent in their make up.

The ever evolving REACH regulations are probably to blame for some of these changes together with the learning curve that the manufacturers are going through with the challenges of adhesion to the substrates.

Latex inks are another good example of where customers can get confused about what they are buying. The great story around Latex is that it is a water based ink, which is absolutely true. The base chemistry is water and latex is  derived from trees. However, I am still surprised by how green they are claimed to be when you consider how many people are allergic to latex, and on closer inspection of the material safety data documentation there are a few other additives that could be considered, and probably are, non water-based chemistry.

I’m sure there are much more qualified scientific people who can justify all of these ink properties but it would be great if the true description was printed on the tin so that everyone is absolutely clear on what they are using. In defence of the manufacturers and sellers of the inks, the documentation is usually supplied, or at the least made readily available for customers to examine. That said, I would expect that most customers are like me and the chemical formulas appear to be in a very different language from what we use every day, so not exactly a good bed time read. It is probably true to say that customers (during the exciting purchasing process) hardly ever take enough time to pay attention to what it is that is printed on the proverbial tin to take much notice, so there is also an element of blame on everyone’s part.

“What’s in a name” certainly rings true in the fast changing world on inkjet ink.  Just keep in mind that not being able to smell something doesn't necessarily take the devil out of it, and the devil here is clearly in the detail.

Want to get to know us better? Follow us on Twitter @GDWtweets Check out our Facebook Fan Page or join our group on Linkedin We'd love to get to know you and learn more about your business! Got any news or PR? Email us at

Choose Your Language

Editors World

How can you win more customers for your printing business

How can you win more customers for your printing business

Anybody who has run a printing business for any time will at some stage ask themselves the question “How do I get more customers?” The trouble with this is it’s a perennial question that has no right or wrong answer. You could always start by learning to think differently and...

#wideformat tweets

30 Years of Sign & Digital UK
Sign & Digital UK 2018 Opens In...
2 2
7 7
7 7
1 1
8 8
2 2
0 0

Tel: +44 (0) 7907 057861

Email the Editor
Click the image to email the editor
Follow us on Twitter
Join our Group on Linkedin
Join us on Google Plus
Follow us on Pinterest
RSS Feed

Latest on GDW TV

Subscribe to GDW TV

Like our Facebook Page

Facebook Fan Page

Upcoming Events


26th July, 2017 - 30th July, 2017


3rd August, 2017 - 6th August, 2017


7th September, 2017 - 9th September, 2017


10th September, 2017 - 14th September, 2017

View our full Calendar of Industry Events

Our Partners

Roland Logo GDW Sponsor

Mimaki Logo GDW Sponsor



R A Smart Logo 200px