The two issues that customers consistently have are: how to print on different substrates and how to lower impression costs. At Collins, we find that the best way to address the first issue is to get the substrate in our hands. Unfortunately, having one standard black ink on the shelf will not cut it when an aqueous or UV-coated stock presents itself. No need to panic, though; this is simply the situation in which a tailored ink is needed. Print quality, optical density, dry time and decap are all things that can easily be and need to be adjusted specifically for each stock. This also doesn't mean that it is necessary to stockpile a different ink for each substrate, but it is a good idea to have two or three inks in your portfolio that will cover most of the bases. For example, a dye-based ink to run high-speed barcodes, a dye/pigment hybrid ink that dries quickly on coated and matte materials and a solvent-based ink that is permanent on aqueous stocks. Aside from dry time and permanence, things like decap and throughput can also be manipulated from formula to formula. Packaging environments are quite different than mailing environments, consequently changing the performance requirements of the ink. It will be better in the long run to first choose an appropriate ink based on the substrate, rather than waste time and money throwing different inks at the stock.
Addressing the second question is difficult: how to lower impression costs. Margins on inks are low to begin with and depend a lot on the type of printhead being used. In the case of inks going through HP or other thermal inkjet printheads, the cost of the printhead will always drive the ink price. Yes, bulk feeding solutions lower impression costs, but those aren't a cure-all; they are only practical for companies that print huge volumes on a consistent basis. Whether you're using cartridges or a bulk solution, we've been proactive in creating solutions to help improve overall productivity with inks. So even though printheads determine ink costs, having inks that run better, have better restart and extend the life of the cartridges will lower impressions costs in the end.
To learn more about pushing the technology forward, contact:
Collins Ink Corp.
1201 Edison Drive
Cincinnati, OH 45216