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Colors present an enduring philosophical problem that generates lofty debates about subjectivism and consciousness. Meanwhile, ink manufacturing equipment turns colors into physical objects. Perhaps paradoxically, digitalization keeps fueling the use of printing ink. From custom clothing to secondary packaging to aircraft livery, inks are everywhere. Indeed, philosophical discussions are also primarily conducted in ink on paper.

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Disperse the pigment particles with ink grinding equipment

One of the main challenges in the ink manufacturing process is the agglomeration of pigment solids. Once the pigment is mixed with the solvent, its particles tend to deteriorate the ink’s color properties.

Mill the formula to disperse the particles uniformly in the vehicle. A ball mill using steel beads distributes the solids evenly, developing colors to their maximum. High-shear ink manufacturing equipment like the three-roller grinder enhances gloss by breaking down agglomerates and reducing the surface area of particles.

Blend pigment particles in a solvent-based varnish

The defining ingredient in inks is pigment. These particulate solids selectively absorb or reflect light to produce a color. But as insoluble materials, pigments do not automatically lend their tinge to other objects.

These colors are made transferrable by mixing pigments with a vehicle substance. Unlike dyes, pigment crystals do not alter their shape or characteristics when blended. But the vehicle’s composition affects the ink product’s properties – luminosity, viscosity, abrasiveness, and tackiness.

Select the base for solvent inks depending on their boiling point

The primary function of a solvent in an ink manufacturing line is to keep the final product in liquid form. Volatile solvents such as ethyl acetate have a low boiling point, are ideal for inks designed to evaporate quickly, and are often used in flexographic and gravure printing processes.

On the other end of the scale, inks made for screen-printing are based on solvents with high boiling points like butyrolactone and butoxyethanol. Solvents with moderate boiling points develop inks suitable for lithography.

Add a resin to improve the adherence of printing ink

The viscosity of the final product is critical, but ultimately, inks are produced to stick to surfaces. Inks need binders to grip to the medium, whether they visualize a serial number of a box of tablets or a pattern on a roll of wallpaper.

Formulate your vehicle with resins to turn the solution into a film when it is pressed in place. Cellulose derivates, acrylics, and rubber resins add gloss and resistance to the ink.

Treat oily media with high temperatures when formulating vehicles

Dissolve the solvent and binders in a mixer to formulate the base. Oleoresinous media like alkyds need to be heated at temperatures between 120°C and 260°C to reach complete dissolution.

When the primary formula is mixed, combine additives to modify the physical properties of the vehicle. Among these, plasticizers improve flexibility; chelating agents increase the viscosity, and waxes add rub resistance to the manufactured ink.

Processing steps involved in ink making

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