When most of us think of ink, we rarely get further than the ballpoint pen or the printer, though the truth is that the ink world has become far more hi-tech and sophisticated than we might think, with many specialised applications, using completely different products from the ones we use in our homes. Basic ink is a liquid that contains dyes or pigments, though may also contain solvents, resins, surfactants, lubricants and fluorescents, just to mention a few. The inks components serve many purposes, which will affect its flow and thickness and its appearance when dry. Inks using pigment are more frequently used than those with pigments, as they tend to be more colour fast, though they do not have the same range of colours that dyes can offer, and are normally more expensive. Inks made with dyes are generally much stronger and can produce more colour density per unit of mass. To circumvent the problem of inks soaking into the paper, or bleeding at the edges of an image, they are made with solvents, to help them dry very quickly.
New Technology Inks
Have a closer look at your car next time you have a chance. It is quite likely that your windshield defrosting system and quite possibly your radio antenna too, are actually made of ink and have been printed onto the surface. This is due to the use of conductive inks, which are finding many applications. Centre Colours are a conductive inks developer, producing inks that when printed are able to conduct electricity, and is generally achieved by infusing graphite, or other conductive materials into the ink. Using a conductive ink, is often a more economical way of laying down a modern conductive trace, than traditional methods, such as etching copper. Silver inks have found multiple uses. They are found in printed RFID tags, can be used to repair printed circuit boards, and are often present in our PC Keyboards, with membranes that detect when a certain key has been pressed. For a while they were used in creative T-shirt design, though this never fully prospered. Conductive inks have also been created that can be used to make printed photovoltaic solar panels.
Getting the Right Ink for Your Application
Different styles of inks are required by many different sectors of industry, which is why the Ink industry has been forced to become so technologically advanced. Catering to the needs, not just of the printing sector, but also to such industries as the Paints and coatings sector, as well as products for pigment dispersions and those in the electronics sector who require conductivity. Your average ink company today works similar to the guy at the paint shop, who mixes your paint to exactly the right shade for you, but on a far more technologically advanced level.
If you have any ink requirements that are less than commonplace, it is very advisable to have a chat with your local ink development specialist. They have unbounded creativity at their fingertips and are sure to be able to come up with the product you need, to fulfil your exact technical specifications, as well as many other excellent standard product lines.