Introduction:

Inks can be formulated in an infinite number of ways to meet specific application requirements. The inks we carry are standard formulations which are intended to cover most marking applications. Although the application recommendations made on our website are based on tests conducted by our supplier, the customer should conduct performance tests for their specific application to ensure that the inks selected meet their specific application requirements. In all cases, Universal Inks are formulated for industrial use only.

We carry two basic solvent types in the manufacture of inks, alcohol and petroleum solvents. There are various grades of solvent within each type, which generally relate to the speed at which the solvents evaporate. In addition to solvent variations, some inks are pigmented, which contain ground solids to impart color to the ink and some are dye type which contain liquid color. It is important to thoroughly understand the characteristics of the various inks prior to making a selection for a particular application. 

The ink type you select must be compatible with both the material/surface being marked on, and the applicator roller used to apply the ink. Inks designed for non-porous use can be used on porous surfaces, but this is generally not recommended since it is more costly, and the higher resin content of the non-porous inks may cause unnecessary problems for the consumer.

Drying Characteristics:

Stenciling and marking inks dry in one of two ways. Porous surface inks dry through absorption into the material being marked, leaving the pigment or dye color in the material fibers. Corrugated cartons (cardboard boxes) and Kraft paper are good examples of porous surfaced materials.

Non-porous inks dry through evaporation of the ink solvents, leaving the dye or pigment on the surface of the material. Metal or plastic are a good example of non-porous surfaces. Some amount of resin or “binder” is added to the formulation to bind the pigment or dye to the surface once the solvents have dissipated. The amount and type of resin used in the formulation determines the ability of the ink to resist chipping, peeling, weathering and subsequent solvent resistance. It is also important to note that the ambient temperature and humidity in the area where non-porous inks are applied can have a dramatic affect on the drying characteristics of the ink. Generally speaking, the warmer the ambient temperature and the lower the humidity, the faster the inks will dry.

Fade Resistance:

In applications where resistance to fading is required, pigmented inks generally perform better dye inks. Most dye type inks will fade rapidly when exposed to direct sunlight for prolonged periods. Pigmented inks contain layers of finely ground solids. When applied, they are much more resistant to fading, and will perform somewhat like an exterior paint. For fade and weather resistance, it is generally recommended to use a non-porous pigmented ink even on porous surface materials. The additional amount of resin in these ink formulations help to hold the pigments in place under exposure to water spray and abrasion.

Applications Methods:

There are many types of inks available from our suppliers, and it is important to understand the effect different ink solvents have on the materials used in the ink applicator. There are far too many factors to consider to list them all within the context of this article but we strongly recommend that you consult with our Customer Service Department for specific recommendations if you have any doubt about applicator/ink compatibility.

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