Getting your pad printing ink colours just right can be a fairly trick process. It’s all about finding the right balance, which will involve considering the type of application, speed of the machine and the drying time of the ink. It’s important to remember that every application is different, meaning that the colour mixing of ink can vary from one job to the next. Here we’ll explain the correlation between colour and ink to help you achieve better quality results with your pad printing system.
What’s pad printing ink made up of?
Before we go on to talk about colour and it’s correlation to ink, let’s first examine the components that make up pad printing ink.
Ink – First up we have the actual ink. The type of ink used in pad printing will depend on the specification of a particular printing project, as well as the type of pad printing machine you are using. Refer to an ink manufacturer chart for guidance or seek the help of one of our pad printing experts for more information.
Hardener – This component is used with some types of ink to increase its resistance to abrasion and chemical attacks.
Thinners – Thinners are not only mixed into pad printing ink to adjust its viscosity but also to control the drying speed of the ink. The amount you add will depend on the machine type, as well as the results you are hoping to achieve. Again, it’s a good idea to speak to an ink supplier, like Tampo Print Canada to find out the best thinners for your coloured ink.
A number of factors can affect the final colour results, including the press speed of the pad printing machine and environmental influences. For example, in a hot or humid environment you will need to ensure you use slower drying solvents, whereas in cool, dry weather, you may require faster drying ink that has been mixed with a thinner.
In order to make sure the ink you are using is the right colour, you will need to go through a colour matching process. This is something we can help you with.
Colour matching may sound simple but it requires a number of processes to be carried out in order to achieve a precise colour match. For pad printing, you tend to have to use highly pigmented inks in order to improve their opacity. This is because only a small amount of the ink is transferred onto the print surface area.
The amount of pigments in your ink will not only affect the colour quality but also the durability of the print too. This is why opaque inks are often used for printing on dark or textured surfaces. Even if the colour looks right on the pad, if does not have the right opacity, it will look completely different on the dark or textured surface.
How to colour match inks
Whereas in the past, colour matching would be done by eye, today devices such as spectrophotometers are used to eliminate any variances that may affect the colour accuracy of pad printing inks. Spectrophotometers are designed to measure the light reflectance at many points on a visual spectrum and create what is known as a colour curve. You can create a curve for each colour you use, featuring three elements – their huge, value and chroma. The hue is how the human eye perceives the colour, the value is the degree of lightness and the chroma is the vividness of the colour. By utilising these attributes, the correct colour can be accurately identified and properly matched, allowing for a higher quality finish.
Ink colour matching technology
Thanks to advancements in technology and innovations like the spectrophotometer, it is now easier than ever for people to understand the science of colour matching and it’s correlation to ink. By using the numerical values as guidelines, people are now able to control the consistency of their ink colours and ensure they achieve the same great quality colour pay off from one print job to the next.
However, if you want to ensure that you end up with the exact coloured ink you require for your pad printing job, it is still highly recommended that you work with experts like Tampo Print Canada. We will ensure you receive a quality pad printing ink that is perfectly tailored for the job.