This year, DuPont celebrates the 35th anniversary of DuPont™ Artistri® Digital Inks. In 1989, DuPont introduced Cromalin, the first pigment dispersions, that were sampled to desktop printers. Since then, the Artistri® Digital Inks portfolio has evolved significantly, offering solutions to multiple printing segments: home & office, textile, commercial, and packaging.
“This is an extraordinary moment for DuPont and the entire Artistri® team. Throughout this journey, we have brought countless innovations to the market and have focused on developing them in collaboration with our OEM partners,” commented Tucker Norton, Global Business Director for DuPont™ Artistri® Digital Inks.
After the first dispersion was launched in 1989, DuPont manufactured the GTP (Group Transfer Polymerization) resins, a controlled polymer technology used to make the first black pigment dispersion, replacing the dye base in desktop printers. This was a remarkable innovation as it replaced the dye with a stable pigment dispersion, and as a result, the inks had better performance and color.
In 1996, DuPont launched its first pigmented color dispersions and the first carbon black SDP (Self Disperse Pigment). This proprietary technology became such a differentiator in its segment that years later, DuPont invested in a second manufacturing line to fulfill the SDP demand.
In 1998, the Fort Madison plant in Iowa received its first ISO9001 Certification and continues to be certified with the most recent standards.
The first Artistri® water-based pigment inks in the digital textile segment for the wide format were introduced in 2000 and was followed by the launch of two textile printers: the DuPont Ink Jet 3210 and the Artistri® 2020. The Artistri® 2020, became a very successful printer, achieving 50 installations during the first years after its launch. The use of water-based pigment inks in textiles marked a significant sustainability improvement in the printing process. As pigment inks eliminates the post-processing step, printers consume less water and energy in their process.
The digital textile segment was growing when DuPont launched the first acid, reactive and direct disperse textile ink sets for Roll-to-Roll (RTR) in 2004. In the following year, the first Direct-to-Garment (DTG) ink set was introduced, allowing apparel printers to print not only on white t-shirts, but also on black, with the Artistri® white DTG inks.
In 2010, the Ivory technology, a proprietary crosslinking technology, was launched. This marked another important innovation in dispersions as it provided greater stability for a wide range of inks vehicles.
A new ink set dedicated to Commercial Paper was launched after a few years, addressing the demand of this segment, as digital printing started growing. On the textile side, DuPont launched its first dye sublimation inks for textile printing in 2015.
Following the growth trend of the digital printing for packaging and the need for food compliant products, Artistri® introduced the first dispersions for packaging printing applications in 2018. And as the packaging industry seeks for safer inks in food packaging, the use of water-based inks become more popular in this segment.
By 2020, a new white dispersion mill processing line was launched, delivering a new generation of white pigment inks for DTG. This second generation of inks was game changing technology as it delivered better opacity, stability and less settling, which are key for white inks.
In 2022, DuPont proudly announced the expansion of its production capacity at the Fort Madison plant, a response to the continuous growth of the Artistri® Digital Inks business. The expansion allowed the business to increase the manufacturing of water-based pigment inkjet inks and dispersions and respond faster to demand.
The latest Artistri® launch was introduced in 2023, the first Direct-to-Film (DTF) digital ink set offering. Demonstrating the extensive know-how of our scientists and formulators, DuPont brought a differentiated technology that addressed the need of printers looking for consistency, bright colors, and productivity in DTF printing.
“For more than 35 years, our team of passionate digital inks experts has worked tirelessly to bring technological advances to the digital printing industry, offering inks that deliver consistency, high quality as well as reliability. On top of that, DuPont water-based pigment inks also deliver a lower environmental footprint, addressing the need for more sustainable solutions in printing. This is the reason why we continue to heavily invest in the water-based pigment inkjet offerings, as we believe that this is the future for printing,” said Norton.
With shorter runs, more customization, and the need for faster time to market, more companies are adopting digital printing to complement their current technologies. And the advances in the latest digital printing developments are enabling this technology to gain more share. With this exciting future ahead, DuPont™ Artistri® reaffirms its commitment to this industry bringing new innovations in digital inkjet inks in textile, commercial and packaging printing applications to address printers’ challenges.