Digital wallpaper printing: inkjet versus electrophotography

Inkjet versus electrophotography

Personalized wallpaper is on a roll (no pun intended) and so are web-to-print and print-on-demand strategies in general. It’s no wonder, then, that more and more wallpaper businesses are turning to digital solutions which allow them to cost-effectively produce short runs. If you’re a wallpaper printer considering going digital, your main dilemma basically comes down to inkjet versus electrophotography.

Digital wallpaper printing with inkjet

Large format inkjet technology can be divided into four categories based on the type of ink used:

  • Water-based inkjet is at the cheaper end of the inkjet market, but less interesting for wallpaper printers due to its low production speed. 
  • Solvent inkjet (as well as its improved variant eco solvent) is not suited for printing indoor applications due to its odor, and for health and sustainability reasons. Solvent ink is not environmentally friendly and produces prints that, even when dry, smell of chemicals and emit VOCs. 
  • Latex inkjet technology uses water-based ink, emitting only a low level of VOCs. A wide range of latex inkjet equipment is available from entry level to production level but the production speed to produce high-quality indoor prints always remains modest.
  • Available on different investment and productivity levels as well, UV inkjet printing systems cure the printed image by means of UV light, produced by a metal-doped (e.g. iron or gallium iodide) mercury lamp or UV-LED. One of the main challenges, however, lies in the emitted odor of the printed product which makes it unsuitable for living rooms, bedrooms, hospitals, restaurants and other types of indoor use.

Electrophotographic wallpaper printing

Xeikon’s digital printing technology is electrophotographic, fusing dry toner onto the substrate which results in top quality prints on a wide array of substrates – which don’t even require pretreatment. Even textured substrates are no problem thanks to Xeikon’s Alpine Fuser Drum. As Xeikon’s patented dry toner is safe to dispose of, EN 15102 compliant and even FDA approved, wallpaper produced with a Xeikon wall decoration suite is eco-friendly and odorless, completely recyclable and emitting no VOCs whatsoever. 

While electrophotographic presses initially require a considerable inves tment, their continuous feed and high production speed of up to 900 m² per hour guarantee a quick ROI. Especially when they’re paired with a coreless wallpaper rewinder, allowing manufacturers to print and finish all in one go.

Time to print digital? Time to compare!

Deciding on a digital wall decoration suite is not something you do overnight. What kind of wallpaper will you be producing? On which substrates? Who’s your target audience? Will the solution match your business model, not to mention budget? No matter your situation, don’t hesitate to contact us for more information. Xeikon is always happy to help you compare your digital options and answer any question you may have.