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FLEXO Magazine : June 2014
Printing “Pop” A Guide to Preparing, Proofing & Using Specialty Inks Alexander James P rinters continue to strive for ways to get both the print buyer’s and the consum- er’s attention. As a printer, have you been looking for something that makes your printed product stand out among the rest? Are you vying for an edge in obtaining market share in the label business? You should consider the expanding field of flexographic specialty applications. Specialty applications that provide the “pop” in your print cover a wide range of visual stimulations that differentiate a product from the rest. Some of these include: • Glitter • Metallic • Fluorescent • Pearlescent • Holographic The hard part is getting these inks from plate to substrate. A lot of that has to do with testing, proofing, proper anilox selection and an under- standing of the inks themselves. PICKING “POP” Before starting on any print project, it is impera- tive to define the goal. What is the effect you are trying to create? Are you trying to match a print sample or simply wanting to create a dynamic effect? Let’s look at a couple of applica- tions as examples. Specialty inks are special for a reason. They are unique not only in effects but also in setup, handling and testing. Make sure you understand the requirements to print and plan to run testing before committing product to a customer. We often find that rushing to com- pletion on a specialty ink project has about the same low success rate as a poorly planned fingerprint. You might start with a popular recent admission to flexography: The realm of tactile coatings. Tactile effects create an interesting interac- tion between the consumer and the product. Raised bubble areas or dew drops and raised grid patterns on your graphics can create that surprise “wow” factor that helps differentiate your product from the competition by capturing the consumer’s attention as he/she explores the feel of the packaging or label. You might also consider a specialty effect like a color shift of the graphic image using thermochromatic inks, whose color shift is triggered by temperature change from physical touch or a change in the temperature of the substrate or content of the package. While these are exciting developments for flexo, consider a word to the 46 FLEXO | JUNE 2014 TECHNOLOGY & TECHNIQUES Anilox Roll, Doctor Blade, Ink Selection Guide