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  • Printing Ink Raw Materials

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  • Resins

  • These are commonly referred to as binders or carriers. Their prime function is to carry the pigment to the substrate and anchor it there. The choice of binder can also impart physical properties to the final ink film e.g. hardness, gloss, water resistance, chemical resistance, resins are normally either dissolved in or dispersed in a solvent to give a fluid product. This fluid product is usually referred to as a varnish.

 

Pigments

these are the colorant of the ink and are chosen to give the correct color (or hue). Pigments are primarily insoluble and need to be dispersed into the carrying medium (varnish). Pigments impart a large number of physical properties to the finished ink film. These properties are typically light fastness, water resistance, soap resistance, butter resistance, wax resistance. Generally speaking the greater the resistance of the pigment the more expensive the pigment is.

  • DyesDyes are different to pigments in that they are soluble in a solvent (usually alcohol or water). Dyes have high color brilliance and strength but lack fastness properties. Dyes usually high poor lightfastness. Some dyes can be lacked to form a type of pigment. This process enhances the fastness properties of the dyes.

 

Solvents 

are used to dissolve resins to form varnishes. Solvents can be chosen to alter the drying speed of an ink but must be accurately balanced to provide a stable ink formulation. Common solvents are alcohols, esters, ketones. Some solvents are flammable so their use needs to be well controlled in ventilated flameproof environments. Water is also a solvent. Most resins are soluble in a range of solvents.

 

  • Slip agents  

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  • are used to imparting slip and scuff resistance to an ink film. Differing printing and production process require differing levels of slip from the ink.e.g a form fill & seal machine must use an ink with highest slip level so the forming bag can slide over turning bars easily. A tray for cans of drinks must have a low slip ink so that pallets loaded with goods don’t slide out of control. The ink maker can tailor make an ink to have the required slip level for the end use of the product concerned.
  • Additives – includes antifoams, surfactants, viscosity modifiers and other ink components. These additives can be essential to some formulations but are only added where a particular property is required. The quantities of additives usually found in an ink formulation are usually  0 – 5 %.