Quality equipment must be identified and paired with high-performance consumables to achieve consistent, high-quality pad print product decoration. Choosing the best pad printing ink for each specific substrate, product shape, manufacturing, and usage requirements is a critical first step.
Let’s go through what pad printing ink is, how ink fits into the pad printing process, how to choose the right ink for each application, and many more.
What is Ink Pad in Printer?
Ink pads are a series of porous pads in the printer that gather, distribute, and, most crucially, contain ink that is not utilized on printed pages. These pads collect ink during the product’s initial setup, cleaning cycles, and while printing borderless images.
Ink Pad Printing Process
At its most basic level, the printer uses a pad printer to transfer the image from the cliche onto the substrate. However, it is not as easy as selecting ink from a limited supply and filling the ink cup. Inks should be created particularly for the thing being decorated.
Just as you would consider how a pad printer fits into your process, you should consider picking an ink that meets all of your production goals and obstacles. The first step in this line of thought is to understand the wide varieties of ink on the market today and the numerous components that make them up.
The number of components included in pad printing inks varies. The two most common types of ink are one-component and two-component inks. This label indicates the number of components used in the composition of the ink. The powdered pigment is blended with only one other element in 1-component inks: a solvent. In general, these inks require a weight percentage of about 15%. This product is liquid ink, which can be added to the ink cups of a printer.
2-component inks operate similarly to one-component inks, but they also allow for the inclusion of a hardener. Solvents and hardeners are additives that can be used to make ink that meets the needs of each application.
Pad Printing Ink Components
Each component of the Pad Printing Ink combination serves a particular role in the finished output. These components are precisely constructed to generate a range of effects, resulting in customized solutions for pad printing procedures.
The process of creating the ideal ink begins with establishing the appropriate hue for your print. The Custom Color Mixing Team at a manufacturing company uses spectrophotometers in order to fine-tune their color mix to a market-leading DE color variance of 2.0 or lower to achieve the right amount of contrast with the substrate and maintain aesthetic quality.
Having pad printing ink suppliers with your ink color profile on file is critical. This ensures your supply chain does not get disrupted as you continue to receive the same ink.
As already stated. Solvents are responsible for the initial viscosity of the ink’s color mix. Solvents, however, are still helpful after the first mixing procedure. The solvent part of the mixture begins to evaporate when the ink is employed. While this does not damage the ink, it does modify its texture, making it more likely to clump and cling in unexpected places.
The ink’s lifespan can be extended by adding solvent regularly. Keep in mind that not all solvents are the same chemically. Solvents are therefore combined with certain lines of ink to function together. These bespoke ink and solvent combinations will be created precisely for your exact product decorating requirements.
While solvents are good for diluting ink, hardeners are the best option for adding resistance to the combination. A Hardener can assist in guaranteeing that once the solvent has gone, the print retains a higher level of abrasion tolerance. This increases the ink’s resistance, which allows it to withstand wear better than just using a solvent.
Some Pad Printing Inks may not be compatible with hardeners. The 2-component ink series can be used to add a hardener (also called a catalyst), as long as the chemicals are compatible. When you choose a bespoke ink for your production needs, your demand for a hardener will be taken into account.
Pairing Pad Printing Ink with Substrates
We’ve previously covered a wide range of factors to consider while picking out your ink. We haven’t yet examined how these inks interact with the product surface or substrate for which they are designed.
As you might expect, you can’t just pair any ink series with any substrate. The chemical nature of each substance will make it perfect for some ink kinds and entirely incompatible with others. Trans Tech has over 8 different main ink series, each with its unique characteristics and suitable substrates. These inks are suitable for thermoplastics, duroplastics, metals, coated surfaces, glass, wood, and paper, to mention a few materials.
Supporting Ink Technologies
Considering the many technologies available to assist the process while using Industrial Pad Printers is critical. Ink cup technology is the finest illustration of this for Pad Printing Inks.
Ink cups are crucial for transferring ink down the Pad Printing Plate and filling the cliché. Traditional ink cups are typically mechanically or magnetically linked to the plate, but new technologies promise to enhance the process.
The design incorporates a disposable liner with an improved reservoir, resulting in material cost savings and simplicity of use for inexperienced operators. When compared to standard ink cup systems, this strategy can save over 25% on costs and over 85% on time.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do I clean ink pads?
You got another color on an ink pad in a reckless moment of foolishness. Panic? No! You should first clean the ink pad. Soak one paper towel in water and set the other aside. Lay it on top of the ink pad. Gently press down to remove any unwanted color. Next, use a dry paper towel to repeat the process. You can panic if it does not work.
How long does an ink pad last?
The shelf life of the pad is two years from the date of production, which means that if you do not use it for two years, it should remain thoroughly saturated. If you use the pad regularly, it may need to be re-inked before the two-year period is over.
Why is the ink pad at the end of service life?
Because of component deterioration during typical usage, many consumer inkjet devices have a limited life expectancy. The product will eventually lose its print quality or the components (e.g. the ink pad) will have outlived their useful lives. This is the average product life cycle of highly mechanical products like printers. This notice tells you that certain parts have reached their end of useful life and your printer will cease to function unless it’s serviced.
We recommend that you service your printer at an Authorized Customer Care Center. Additional printer components could also be approaching the end of their useful lives and it is not possible to maintain adequate print quality. Most users will replace their printer with a cheaper model when they get an end-of-service notice.
What should I do when the ink pad is at the end of its life and requires service?
The Maintenance Reset Utility has been used on your product. The Maintenance Reset Utility can’t be used again to verify that the gadgets are operating properly to minimize the risk of personal injury or property damage. Most users who have outworn their warranty decide to replace their printer. Replacing ink pads is not an affordable investment for printers with lower costs. Most printers are nearing the end of their useful lives. If you want to continue using your printer, a repair at an Authorized Customer Care Center is the best choice.
When should you expect to see the 'end of service life' message?
The printer’s model and the pages printed will determine how long the warning takes to appear. Most users won’t hear the notification until their printer is replaced. This notification may be displayed to high-volume users or individuals who have used the printer for a while.
How can I temporarily keep using my printer?
The Maintenance Reset Utility can be used to temporarily erase this maintenance notification. The Maintenance Set Utility cannot be used more than once. It will only allow you to print for a short time.
If you get the following message on your PC, you should download the Maintenance Reset Utility: A component within your printer has reached the end of its life.
Can I replace the ink pad on an Epson printer?
A clean pad may be purchased from a computer parts store, although they can be difficult to find and pricey. You may alternatively replace it with a fresh dish sponge cut to the right size. You might also try soaking the old pad in a large bowl of hot water and straining it out.