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Know your application before choosing inks

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Don’t pick your ink before your application. We asked ink experts what print shop owners should consider first and they sang in harmony.

Mark Trimble, Sawgrass Technologies: “What am I making and how many do I want to make? Then start to look at what it is made of: What fibers am I using? Look for ink that provides the vibrancy, color gamut and runability. Every cleaning cycle [to unclog print heads] throws away ink, and that has to go into your cost.”

Robert Ozankan, HP: “They have to be concerned about how to handle the ink. How well does it last? What range of media does it work on?”

Marco Torri, DuPont: “Ask yourself if the product you are going to use for your application is the right one in terms of speed and costs and ensuring the quality of the ink. You know what your customer needs in terms of fastness properties. Ensure the ink meets that requirement.”

Richard Severance, 3M Commercial Graphics: “What a shop owner needs to do is be very clear on what they need to accomplish: what their business is and how they are going to use the machine, what they’re hoping to do that will help their business. At trade shows, get people to actually print what you would want to do and see if the machine can do it. You really need to make sure it’s working on what you need to print at a productivity that’s realistic for you.”

Ken Myers, Huntsman Textile Effects: “A shop owner needs to be informed first on how simple or complex the process is going to be in order to successfully print textiles. If a small company wants to start printing textiles with reactive dyes, it must be aware that additional equipment, like a padding machine, steamer and washers and dryers, will be necessary in order to get the required results. A small company needs to identify the market it wants to play in. Speak with the machine suppliers, and cross-check information with the ink suppliers, who can also give advice on the application details that are sometimes missed by machine manufacturers.”

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