Knowledge Bank

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Ink Types

A common way to categorize ink is for the surface (substrate) they are intended, usually after the absorbent material

As the name suggests,these colors are perfect for porous surfaces such as paper, cardboard, paper, gypsum board, masonite(backside) and similar. An important property of these inks are that they have avery good functionality in the print heads.

The nozzles starts up very easy after idle. This is because the ink dries very slowly or maybe not at all.
Examples of porous ink is oil-based inks and most water-based inks.

Ink designed for coated paper, glossy paper, masonite (front side), plywood, particle board and similar. These inks do dry, but not so fast. They are generally made ​​of solvents which are "pretty nice" for human exposure such as ethanol.
Examples of common solvents in the semi-porous ink are propanol and ethanol.

These inks are made for substrates such as plastic, glass, metal, cellophane, hard coated board, high gloss paper and grease proof paper.
These inks usually contain very evaporative solvents and there fore dries very fast. In some cases the solvents are strong (because the molecules are so small and chemically alike the surface) so an"etching" of the surface occur. This fixt he dye very well into the substrate surface.
Examples of common solvents are ethyl acetate, methyl ethyl ketone (MEK) and acetone. Methanol is also an occurring solvent but due to its toxicological property we do not use this in our ink range.

 Another way to categorize inks is based on how they are built up.

These consist mainly of water but also of some solvents to achieve good performance. Usuallythey are designed for porous substrates. A major advantage of water-based inksis that they have alow or non-existent fire hazard. Besides, it is easy to wipe up ink spills. Just because they are wate-based one have to add some biocideor solvents to prevent the growth of microorganisms.

They consist of organic solvents which can have a very high volatility, such as acetone, ethyl acetate, methyl ethyl ketone (MEK).
Examples of solvents with high volatility is methyl isobutyl ketone (MIBK), isopropanol, ethanol and n-propanol. Examples of moderate volatiles are propylene glycol mono methyl ether (PM), n-butanol and some ethers.
Low volatiles are such as propylene glycol mono-propyl ether (PnP) or ethylene glycol propyl ether (EP). Even lower volatiles are usually regarded as belonging to the category of oil-based ink, even if they do not actually consists of "oil".

Ink based of organic solvents with a very low evaporation rate. The solvents can be a fraction of oil or have a completely different origin.

The substrates are usually the same as for non-porous ink. These inks have a very high resistance to chemicals, abrasion and weather conditions. The ink dries (reacts) immediately when exposed to UV-light. The UV energy source is dangerous due to its high energy and ozone generation and must be shielded and properly ventilated. This is a type of ink that is sometimes selected because it contains no solvents but some of the vapors may still be very unhealthy. The handling (skin ) with these colors are often hazardous because they contain monomers and initiators ( " polymerisation starters " ) that often cause allergies .

These colors suitable for large printing stations where these investments can be justified and safety can be managed

Hot melt inks are solid at room temperature and a liquid at the operating temperature of the print head . They are made of wax and dyes. The solid ink is melted inside the printer and ejected by the hot print head. The ink solidifies immediately upon landing on the substrate.

The majority of all inks are made of dye colorants. The color spectra is very large and the colors can be very vivid but white is generally not possible.
Dye inks is not suitable for dark substrates due to its transparency.

Pigment inks generally have very high thermal-, chemical- and light resistance.
Further it has a very high contrast (opaque). A pigment ink has also a very small migration on and into the substrate. If one need to print on dark substrates one often need to use pigment inks due to the ability to make bright hues like yellow and white. The downside is that the ink stability is not as good as for a dye based ink.

The ink can also be categorized according to the application for which they are intended or for the special characteristics of the ink;

The best way to categorize inks are not always for their suitability on various substrates or its structure but rather by what application they are intended for. Examples are pharmaceutical ink, alkaline soluble inks, thermochromic inks (change color after heating), food inks (FDA / USDA), ink that can withstand a high temperature, ultraviolet ink (can only be seen in ultraviolet light), magnetic ink (MICR, Magnetic Ink Character Recognition), electronic ink, "wet process inks" (one can write on the surface, although they are covered by a thin film of water).

Opaque is the opposite of transparent. These, usually pigmented inks, have high contrast (high optical density). Examples of ink is white, and yellow inks as they have excellent contrast and readability of black or other dark material.

The best way to categorize inks are not always for their suitability on various substrates or its structure but rather by what application they are intended for. Examples are pharmaceutical ink, alkaline soluble inks, thermochromic inks (change color after heating), food inks (FDA / USDA), ink that can withstand a high temperature, ultraviolet ink (can only be seen in ultraviolet light), magnetic ink (MICR, Magnetic Ink Character Recognition), electronic ink, "wet process inks" (one can write on the surface, although they are covered by a thin film of water).

There are many types of ink for industrial inkjet printers, many more than to the supply of office printers. The reason for this is that there are so many more types of surfaces in industry than at an office that consists mostly of white paper.
Industrial inks may also have to withstand rain, sunlight or internal process steps such as sterilization. Moreover, the many printer types demands their specific inks.