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FLEXO Magazine : May 2012
Differences the human eye cannot detect can substantially impact the cost. Differences between 52 and 53 are not dis- cernible to most people, but as much as 9 percent more ink will be required at the higher opacity. CONCLUSION TiO2 cost is having a significant impact on the cost of white ink. There are no alternative pigments that can be used to replace TiO2 and few formulation techniques that can have any material impact. Therefore, the following actions become more critical to mitigating the cost impact. • Measure the opacity. Regular measurement will allow better control and optimize the value delivered • Run to the low end of opacity specification. Opacity equals ink usage. By controlling opacity to the lower end of the specification ink usage can be reduced • Re-examine opacity requirements. Re-examine the tar- get opacity for jobs. The opacity specification was likely set at a time when the cost of white ink was not consid- ered to have much impact. Any reduction of opacity can offset a portion of the cost increases of white ink • Don’t waste ink. The mindset in the pressroom has been that white ink was always the lowest cost ink on the press. This is still the case, but white ink has an increas- ingly larger cost impact. Therefore, the same conserva- tion measures should be taken with white ink as is taken with the other colors. • Check ink mileage. White inks are not all the same. Lower priced white ink may have a higher applied cost than higher priced white ink, due to the higher TiO2 con- tent and better application efficiencies. Make sure white inks are being evaluated on a total cost basis. This will require documented pressruns. • Willingness to look at alternative products. Most print- ers do not like to make changes to the products they have successfully used. A new product can bring risk, but there has been a great deal of focus on reducing the cost of white inks over the last couple of years. It is impera- tive to evaluate new products to ensure the best product available is being utilized. n About the Author: Michael Impastato is vice president of strategic marketing for Flint Group. He is the immediate past chairman of the Foundation of Flexographic Technical Asso- ciation’s Board of Trustees and sits on Flexographic Technical Association’s Board of Directors. www.flexography.org may 2012 FLEXO 35 Americas_teaser_2012_M_Flexo_mag_Layout 1 22/03/2012 14:39 Page 1