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FLEXO Magazine : May 2012
• ASTM D5264-98 (2011) Standard Practice for Abrasion Resistance of Printed Materials by the Sutherland Rub Tester • ASTM D5181-09 Standard Test Method for Abrasion Resistance of Printed Matter by the GA-CAT Comprehensive Abrasion Tester • ASTM F2250-03 (2008) Many customers will have their own tests to consider as well. PRINTIBILITY & RESOLUBILITY The best ink in the world is only good if you can print it. When it comes to per- formance properties, be sure to keep practicality in mind. Some consider- ations need to be made with how well the inks can be printed. If you will need to stop the press every five minutes to clean the plates, can you really say that you have a valid solution? Every ink maker understands the importance of achieving properties on press. However, to expect to achieve extreme chemical resistance on thin films with a water-based ink right off the press, while maintaining fine detail line screens, may be a bit unrealistic. A lot can be done with an ink formulation in terms of resistance and resolubility, if you can give the ink a little time to cure before testing. Often, the distribution chain involves days between production of the printed product and the actual use of the printed product. Some amount of post-printing cure time could be allowed. Even UV curable inks, especially cationic UV inks, can often benefit with a small amount of post-cure time, known in the UV curable world as “dark cure.” The risk of losing materials and press time is always a consideration. But, there is often a bal- ance that can be achieved to allow bet- ter printability, while maintaining quality and performance of the final print and/ or package. The resolubility can be judged in a number of ways by checking how the ink performs on a Geiger press, or on an anilox roll over time; or by checking the dry rate of ink in relation to another. Ink setting on an anilox for a period of time is subjected to fresh ink. The amount of time taken to rewet the ink can be recorded. Performinmg this test with inks side-by-side, is often a good way in which to determine how the ink will print versus another. PRICING & PLANNING Pricing is often a touchy subject for everyone involved. Of course the ink consumer would like to spend less, while the ink supplier would like to see better margins. The reality is that it is better to know what pricing limitations will be involved before embarking on a new project. Many ink formulators have spent time working on projects only to find out later that there is a definite cost limitation. This results in a complete reformulation and unnecessary duplication of effort. It is better for everyone involved if cost limitations are discussed early on. In this article we have discussed some of the options available to determine if a particular ink is suited for a given ap- plication. As with any project, communi- cation is crucial for success. The ink sup- plier has many tools available to adjust the formula of an ink to meet the printer’s requirements for adhesion, resistance, printability and cost. Everyone involved must understand the expectations for the ink-substrate combination. n About the Author: James Ford is the se- nior chemist and special projects tech- nical manager for Color Resolutions International (CRI) in Fairfield, OH. Ford has worked at CRI for 11 years and has worked in the field of color for more than 20 years. He has a BS in Chemistry from Ohio Univer- sity, a Masters in Chemistry from University of Cincinnati and an MBA from Xavier University. www.flexography.org may 2012 FLEXO 47 What if there Were no more innovators? Since 1971 we have challenged our industry standard. We are Harper. The people that introduced the Ceramic Anilox Roll, the 60o Hex, and the SHARPER System TM . We think things like fidelity, reproduction quality and consistency, matter. We may not be trendy, but we’ll be here tomorrow just like our Anilox Rolls and other products. Which makes them worth every penny. You dig? Find out what’s new today at www.harperimage.com Americas 800.438.3111 firstname.lastname@example.org Europe +49(0) 5221.777.300 email@example.com Asia 662.138.6122 firstname.lastname@example.org