In our latest blog post, our experts have put together a guide on choosing the right ink for your continuous inkjet printer. Before we look at the different types of ink available, let’s take a quick look at why it’s important.
When you buy any perishable product, you probably automatically read the best before date. This information is a vital part of the packing and it includes traceability information. This means that the code has to be clear and legible and stay that way for the lifetime of the product. Manufacturers also need to be able to trace their products and batch codes allow them to do this.
Continuous inkjet printers are a popular way to add batch codes to products because not only are they quick, there is no contact and there are a huge range of ink types to choose from. New inks are being developed all the time too.
Continuous Inkjet Printer Ink Types
There are numerous types of ink for CIJ printers and these include edible inks that are used for codes on eggs and pharmaceuticals. There are robust inks that are used to withstand UV exposure. All the inks have different performance characteristics and these need to be taken into consideration when choosing the ink that will work for you. Below are some of the different types:
- General purpose inks offer excellent adhesion and contrast on a wide range of porous and non-porous substances such as paper, metal, card, plastic, and glass.
- Pigmented inks have a higher level of opacity and are great when printing on dark surfaces. These inks don’t bleed on PVC or other flexible plastics. They also have a higher level of resistance to heat and light. This makes them perfect for items that are used outdoors. They also offer good chemical resistance and are suitable for use with perfumes or aerosol products.
- Specialist inks are available for particularly challenging conditions. These can include UV-readable inks, colour-changing inks, removable inks, and food grade inks.
How To Choose A Continuous Inkjet Printer Ink for Coding
When deciding on your ink for coding purposes there are a number of areas that you need to take into consideration. These include:
- What does your application require?: To answer this question you will need to look at the drying time required. Some inks dry faster than others so if the speed of your production line is high you might need quick drying ink. You also need to make sure the ink will stick to the material you are printing on and make sure it won’t smudge or smear. Some materials can be harder to print on.
- Is the ink designed for your printer?: You should always use inks that have been produced for your continuous inkjet printer. These have been tested by the manufacturers and using alternative inks can produce inferior results. CIJ manufacturers carry out a number of ink tests on their printers including making sure the viscosity is correct, the ink performs consistently in a range of operating environments, and that the ingredients are stable and maintain ink adhesion.
- What quality assurance does the ink have?: Quality assurance is important and you should always check that your supplier holds the relevant certifications. Quality inks will have their properties tested and certified. Proper certified inks will also conform to health and safety requirements.
- Printer Type: The model of continuous inkjet printer you have will impact on your choice of ink. Heavily pigmented inks will require dedicated printers.
For more information on continuous inkjet printers and the inks available be sure to check out our industrial continuous inkjet printers page.