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PRINTING INKS -- The Missing Ink

September 2002
Looking for alternatives to the inks you're currently using on-press?
Then check out what other commercial printing inks are now on the market.

BASF Printing Systems offers a diverse range of K+E printing inks for sheetfed offset printing and narrow web offset printing, including a new line of Ultraking UV-curable and Novabryte hybrid inks. Novabryte inks are fast curing to allow for in-line UV coatings and high-gloss finishing in sheetfed offset with only one coating unit. Specially formulated to run on high-speed and perfecting presses, K+E printing inks provide outstanding rub resistance and high gloss for publication, commercial and specialty printing applications. K+E printing inks are available in cans, plastic cartridges or drums.

The Centra series of sheetfed printing inks from Central Ink deliver high density, while still maintaining the sharpest dot. This is achieved by optimizing ink/water balance, translating into faster startups, less paper waste and consistent color control. Well-balanced strengths give the customer the latitude to achieve maximum color reproduction. The result is excellent trapping capability and high gloss. The Centra series of sheetfed printing inks feature: laser compatibility; UV coatable; aqueous acceptable; foil stampable; heat sealable; performance on a wide variety of substrates; and fast setting and drying times.

Flint Ink's MATRIXCURE UV ink systems are designed for faster cure, improved gray balance, faster makereadies and easier runnability. The improved performance comes from refinements to the ink's resin and photoinitiator chemistry, and to the use of advanced colorimetric data. The inks virtually eliminate the common problems of density fluctuations and scumming, while providing improved color strength, hue and dot integrity, particularly in the mid-tones. The inks come in two formulations: MATRIXCURE-S inks are designed for high-speed UV web printing. MATRIXCURE-HQ inks are designed for high-end sheetfed applications. MATRIXCURE inks are available in process and PANTONE colors.

INX International will showcase its EcoPure HP high-performance Quickset ink at Graph Expo. EcoPure allows for fast set times, good press stability, sharp printing characteristics and excellent print quality on all sheetfed presses, including high-speed presses. EcoPure HP ink helps minimize waste by allowing the press operator to achieve optimum color quickly on-press. Because of its increased flexibility and expanded operating window, printers can run on a variety of substrates with improved total production efficiency.

Gans Ink & Supply's latest development, Q/S four-color process inks, have been formulated to meet the market-driven requirements for very quick turnaround times and on-demand production schedules. With the advent and utilization of customized and proprietary vehicle technology, the exceptional set speeds of the Q/S process series make work-and-turn/tumble jobs easy. Gans' Q/S series exhibit very quick setting with reduced drying times for post-printing processing, exceptional trapping, good gloss and extremely low misting at high speeds.

Midwest Ink offers its new line of offset lithographic inks called H2O, which run with straight tap water as the fountain solution. This eliminates the cost of purchasing chemicals and the time associated with monitoring pH problems. It is also said to extend roller train life and to reduce paper decalcification. On heatset presses, the product can lower the oven temperature by 10 to 20 percent. H2O prints sharp and comes back up to color quickly.

The Premier Quickset series of inks from Micro Inks is the company's "workhorse" set of products. The inks are suitable for most commercial and folding carton applications. The series has excellent gloss and drying properties across a wide range of paper stocks. The Premier series of inks are formulated to have proper balance between rheology and tack.

Monarch Color's Royalprint ink line is formulated for coated or uncoated paper. It offers high gloss, excellent transparency and low foam. Other features of Royalprint include low viscosity, low maintenance and computer balancing. It is available in lightfast and non-lightfast colors or custom matches.

Titan, an oil-based ink, is available from premium printing ink supplier Spinks Ink. Titan is formulated to meet the needs of the mid-size printer. It is a laser-safe, high-quality ink that sets and dries fast.

NaturalGlo QS from Sun Chemical is a sheetfed offset ink with low VOCs. With less solvent, it dries fast and is ready for UV off-line coating within 24 hours after being printed. With the use of NaturalGlo QS, there will always be at least 50 percent plant-derived material on the press, depending on what colors are being printed. It gives outstanding press performance in terms of dot gain and high gloss.

Super Tech, from Superior Printing Ink, is a line of waterless process inks that is currently available in six standard formulations. These inks deliver a wide optimal print performance temperature range. As part of the larger Super Tech Aqua-Not process system, Superior Printing Ink can intermix them to customize a set for almost every application. Super Tech Aqua-Not GL is only recommended for presses with efficient cooling systems. Super Tech Aqua-Not 2000 is popular with Heidelberg Quickmaster QM-46 presses. Super Tech Aqua-Not B is for experienced waterless printers, with better transfer and lay down properties.

Van Son Holland Ink's QuickMix System and Quickson Series inks are designed for printers looking for a fast, economical and reliable way to mix PANTONE colors in-house. The accuracy of the QuickMix System ensures rich, vibrant, precise color with virtually no waste, reducing ink usage and eliminating mixing charges and press downtime due to ink-related issues. Van Son's Quickson Series inks are specially formulated for use with the QuickMix System. The Quickson Series provides maximum color strength and mileage for all medium to large commercial sheetfed presses.

For more information on ink manufacturers, refer to our July Master Specifier issue,

Single Fluid Ink Update

The lure of single fluid inks is the elimination of the need for water or even a dampener system on the press, thus eliminating problems usually associated with ink/water balancing—such as chalking, dot gain and tinting. Also, makeready times, paper waste and wastewater are said to be reduced or eliminated all together.

Available from Sun Chemical, DriLith W2 is a waterless offset ink system that can totally eliminate all solvent-based clean-up products from the pressroom. Without clean-up solvents and without any fountain solution, virtually all VOC contaminants are eliminated. This single fluid ink boasts virtually no dot gain, higher color intensity, fast startups and fast drying properties.

Meanwhile, Flint Ink's SFI Single Fluid Ink, first introduced at DRUPA 2000, remains in the testing phase, reports Rita Conrad, director of corporate communications. She says the company continues to test SFI in order to ensure that it is as robust as possible. No launch date has been set as of press time.

SFI single fluid ink technology, when perfected, should allow printers to achieve stable, dependable offset printing performance by removing the need to balance ink and water. Because there is no need for fountain solution, the inks eliminate ink/water problems, which the company reports account for nearly 70 percent of all printing problems. In testing, SFI ink has accepted an overprint of conventional custom color inks or finishing applications like UV and aqueous coatings and lamination.


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