There are several wide format printer technologies that are available. The type of printer you should choose is based on the needs of your business and on what you would specifically want to print on.
Water-based printers do not necessarily use water. They instead use a special solution that might include a substitute liquid other than water. The ink is considered to be more environmentally friendly. Water-based inks are softer and more breathable. When printing on textiles, it can be effective at reproducing art effectively and with great beauty.
Solvent-based printers are any printers that do not use water. For example, the ink might use petroleum. There are also vegetable and soy-based inks, which are much better for the environment. Petroleum-based inks have become popular because of their fast-drying nature. However, they are also harmful to the environment. Vegetable and soy-based inks use volatile organic compounds. They are easier to recycle. Also, they are not as expensive.
Dye sublimation is when the inks are diffused into a print media that creates a continuous tone for better photographic quality. It used heat to transfer ink onto an object. This is used for photographic prints and ID cards. It is also used for decorating apparel, plaques and coffee mugs. Sublimation dyes are transferred onto a surface that is appropriate for such a print job using sublimation ink, heat and pressure. For some surfaces, a special coating is needed to accept the ink.
UV inks are those that are UV-curable. This creates waterproof, embossed and vibrant prints. With UV printers, the ink has not evaporated and is cured by an ultraviolet light. Because it does not require a coated media, it can lead to cost savings. The UV ink does not dry flat on the media. The UV ink dries quickly. However, it does not conform to media that stretches as well.
Pen/Plotter involves the use of pens to draw onto print substrate. This type of printer is mostly used for CAD drawings. These are drawings that are created with the assistance of a computer. The plotter consists of a printer head assembly that has a horizontal bar and a head that holds the pen that is in use. The pen can also be placed in a horizontal position by moving the pen along the bar. Vertical positioning is achieved by moving the bar or the paper.