It is fairly well-known, especially to ‘white ink’ or pigmented ink jet printer users, that pigmented inks often have greater daily challenges and are not as easy to work with than standard dye-based ink printers. They often require more frequent servicing, daily cleaning, and often result in more downtime.
Pigment isn’t naturally soluble in the solvent, which means, often there is:
- a drop in contrast
- blocked filters
- blocked pipes
- blocked nozzles
- broken pumps and valves
The pigment also tends to settle, and clump, giving poor print.
Although there are challenges with using pigmented ink, let’s see the benefits:
Dyes filter light, they make the ink darker. Pigments reflect light and make the ink lighter. This makes pigmented inks perfect for dark substrates like cables, pipes, bottles, electronic chips and automotive parts, which often tend to be black or darker in colour.
Pigmented inks also provide extremely high colour-fastness that ensures the colour is retained for a long period of time. They also offer very high adhesion.
How can pigmented ink printer design minimise these challenges, and what should you look for when choosing the right coder?
One of the key areas to consider in printer design is limited pigment settling to ensure high print quality.
Emptying and flushing of pipes and filters
A key element in printer design that should be considered is how the printer flushes and empties its pipes.If the pipes are properly cleared when not in use, it eliminates the risk of ink and sediment settling in the pipes and causing a blockage.
Look for a printer that empties feed lines and pipes on shutdown, and flushes the gutter pipes during starts and stops, but also that are tolerant to settling. Emptying the filter on shutdown also means sedimentation into the filter cannot occur when the printer isn’t in use.
Adaptive solvent usage
Choosing a printer that has advanced adaptive solvent usage would ensure the ink is always at the correct thickness for maximum opacity but also ensuring the ink isn’t too thick which could result in clogging. Look for a machine that automatically adds more solvent if the ink is thick and adds less if the ink is thin.
The quality of filtration is also a key aspect, to ensure any particles are picked up and filtered out before reaching the printhead. The better the filtration technology, the lower the risk of blockages. Look for a printer with enhanced filter technology.
Sediment mixing and holiday shutdowns
With pigmented ink, the pigment is heavier, tending to settle. When choosing a pigmented ink printer, ensure that the printer has been designed to address this with the ability of the machine to withstand holiday shutdown periods, to ensure that the settled pigment is easily re-dispersed on startup without the printer needing to be flushed. Look for a coder where the sediment is continuously mixed within the ink, so that the ink opacity stays strong and no sedimentation occurs.
Ease of use
Other important considerations are the ease of use of the machine, the ease and speed of message creation, and the message options to suit your individual coding need. Look for a printer with easy user interface, intuitive touch screen, and a range of different message options.
The revolutionary new Linx 8940 Spectrum pigmented ink printer has been innovatively designed with patent-pending technology to ensure it carries all the above critical features for maximum reliability when marking with white inks, resulting in longer service intervals, less cleaning and more uptime.
The Linx 8940 Spectrum makes traditionally cumbersome hard-pigmented marking to be simpler and more reliable. The problems typically faced with pigmented inks from alternative printer suppliers or from our previous generation have been tackled and addressed with the revolutionary and market-leading Linx 8940 Spectrum printer.
With the Linx 8940 Spectrum, printing highly visible codes for wires, cables, and extruded products with reliability and without daily maintenance has never been more achievable.