Tech Tip Tuesday: Ink Mixing – A Pad Printing Best Practice
Ink mixing for pad printing is a fairly simple task. However, when done incorrectly it can adversely affect the whole printing process. This can result in subpar results that leave you not only having to remix your ink, but disrupting production and costing time and money.
Below are a few tips to help you get it right the first time:
- Always be sure to use an ‘ink friendly’ mixing cup to maintain ink integrity. See our blog Choosing A Mixing Cup For Pad Printing for tips on this.
- Always thoroughly mix the in the source (bulk) container prior to scooping or pouring into the mixing container – this will ensure consistency from the start to finish of the bulk container.
- Always ensure that your measuring scale is accurate, set to zero and on a flat surface.
- Use sufficient ink based upon the cup depth and size that is used on your printer to ensure that the ‘etch’ on the cliché is well inked by the cup/cliché motion.
- Use the correct amount of hardener and ALWAYS mix ink and hardener prior to adding thinners or additives. Instructions for mixing of additives is written on the bulk liter can and are dependent on the series ink. A helpful tip – pour ink from can away from markings in order that they remain legible.
- Pad printing inks are diluted with 10-20% thinner. Ideal viscosity is predicated on the machine speed ambient conditions (humidity and temp.), the hardness of the pad and the porousness of the substrate being printed on.
- If needed, continue to add thinner by the drop in small increments until you have achieved desired thickness. This technique always minimizes the chance of over-thinning your ink. (refer to our viscospatula for instructions)