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FLEXO Magazine : September 2014
Optimizing Metallic Are You Confident You’re Getting The Optimum Effect? How Do You Know? Scott Schultz D o you know the particle size of the metal- lic pigment in your metallic ink? Is this important? And let’s say you do know the particle size—Did you know that metallic pigments of the same size can come in different shapes? Today, “metallic ink” can range from standard 877 to mirror effect and every level of brilliance and opacity in between. The size, shape and type of the pigment have everything to do with creating these effects and each has a specific use in the flexo printing process. A METALLIC CRYSTAL BALL Taking these four easy steps will increase your confidence in guaran- teeing the outcome of your next metallic printing project: • Know the particle size and shape of the metallic pigment • Identify the substrate to be used • Understand the influence of the design to be printed • Conduct tests and take measurements PARTICLE SIZE & SHAPE When it comes to metallic pigments, size and shape do matter. In general, the coarser the particle size, the more brilliant the effect. A more coarse particle size will also require a higher volume anilox roll for printing. The finer the particle size, the more opacity achieved; these can be applied with lower volume anilox rolls. Knowing this is important but probably not enough information to make an opti- mized choice for a future print job (see Figure 1). IDENTIFY THE SUBSTRATE Is the substrate surface uneven and absorbent? Maybe it’s highly cal- endared and smooth? Knowing the surface of a substrate is important to understanding what to expect for a metallic effect and the choices to optimize it. A rough, absorbent surfaced substrate creates poor pig- ment orientation when printing a metallic ink. This poor orientation has undirected reflection and a scattering of the light—not the most brilliant effect. Figure 1 FORUM FLASHBACK 54 FLEXO | SEPTEMBER 2014 TECHNOLOGY & TECHNIQUES