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FLEXO Magazine : May 2012
Working out with FIRST 4.0 Technologies & Techniques Fluid Fitness: Fit For use By James Ford Fluid Fitness” conjures up images of the next AbMaster machine. Here, however, we are not discussing the latest physical fitness craze, but rather the fitness of inks to a particular substrate. How does a printer, or even an ink supplier for that matter, determine whether a particular ink or ink system is suitable for a given substrate or range of substrates? There are a number of pertinent considerations, and none of them involve days in the gym or the purchase of a Richard Simmons video. What is involved is the number of op- tions available in the formulation of the ink; whether you are considering water-based, solvent-based, or even radiation curable (UV & EB) inks. To begin with, inks are comprised of resins, solvents or fluidizers, defoamers, surface control additives, and, except for some primers and overprint varnishes, colorants. The INDELIBLE INK INFO • The nature of the substrate plays a vital role in deter- mining any ink formula’s fitness for an application • Ink transfer and drying mechanics can often affect the performance of proofs printed off-line • Suppliers often establish internal standards for both ink and substrates to judge alternatives against us- ing the same methodology • Regardless of what type of ink is being used, cover- age is also impacted by the surface energies of the inks and substrates • Adhesion is arguably the most important criteria for any ink system and substrate combination “ 44 FLeXO may 2012 www.flexography.org