As you may already know, offset printing is one of the most widely used printing systems in the world due to its great advantages and benefits.
Today we will learn a little more about this system, we will learn much more about a key element in the process: offset printing inks.
What is the most common composition of offset printing inks?
For those who have ever seen the operation of an offset printer, you may know that the composition of offset printing ink is quite different from the inks that we know for digital printing, for example.
This type of ink is a bit thicker and its consistency can feel a bit greasy.
In general, the composition of offset printing inks is as follows: it contains mineral and vegetable oil, some additives and resins, and some pigments.
Let’s learn a little more about each of these elements:
The pigment is one of the most important elements since it will be the one that decides the color of the ink used. In this case, organic synthetic pigments are usually used for offset printer ink and the pigment to use will depend on the color we are looking for.
On the other hand we have the key elements resins that during the process will be mixed with mineral and vegetable oils to finally obtain the varnishes that will participate in the printing process.
Mineral or vegetable oil
The mineral or vegetable oil, in addition to participating in the creation of the varnishes, also has the purpose of being able to participate actively in the drying process and make it much faster and more effective.
Finally we have additives that can have different purposes, for example, to help balance drying or also to provide better characteristics to the ink.
The use of additives will depend on what we need and are looking for when printing.
What are the types of offset printing inks?
Different types of inks for offset printing can be found on the market, the type of ink to be used will depend on the drying system used, the machines we are using, among other things.
Some of the most common types of ink are as follows:
Types of ink for offset printing
BASE SOLVENT INKS
This type of inks have a special drying process that consists of the evaporation of the elements used in the production of the ink (usually solvents) when they come into contact with air or hot air.
WATER BASED INKS
They are inks quite similar in their use to those of solvents as a base, they also have their drying with contact with air, but in this case by oxidation (hot air can be used without problem to speed up the process).
The latest inks to be invented are highly recommended and are widely used in today’s printing processes.
One of its advantages is that the drying is much faster and that, therefore, not as much energy will be used, the environment is taken care of and money is saved.
Finally we have the greasy inks, they are the most conventional and have been used for a long time.
Its main characteristic is that the drying is carried out mainly with a specific type of dryer called “infrared dryers”.
It is also important to mention that depending on the supplier or suppliers of offset printing ink and the quality of the ink, the results can be totally different.
Therefore, we recommend selecting only reputable brands or suppliers for your printing processes.
How widely used are eco-friendly printing inks today?
One of the great novelties that recent years and technological advances have brought us are ecological offset printing inks.
What does it mean for a printing ink to be eco-friendly? That during the production of the ink, the least possible amount of elements that can be pollutants and that can harm the environment are used.
In addition, its manufacture uses vegetable oils as the main ingredient.
It is surprising, but ecological inks are even much more effective and last longer on paper, their cost may be a little higher, but seeing the results obtained, it is well worth it.
Another advantage of ecological inks is that they can be used without having to change the production process or the way of using offset printing machines, the only thing that we will have to change is the ink used in each of our prints.
In the same way, it is important to analyze the use of ecological inks knowing that there is still fabric to cut, that is, there is still work to be done to make them a reality and so that they become competitors of other types of inks that, equally They do little harm to the environment and have a longer time on the market (UV inks, for example).
What ink is best to use in printing processes?
A question that surely must be asking at this moment after seeing the different types of offset inks and knowing that the prices of offset printing inks can be somewhat different is: What ink is it best to use for me?
The truth is that we cannot answer this question directly without knowing what type of machinery they use, but, in general, currently the most recommended inks are those that have a much faster and more effective drying process: uv inks.
In the future, possibly the most recommended inks will be the ecological ones, when the production process of the same is a little more advanced and the cost goes down a little.
Now that you know everything about offset printing inks, we recommend that you continue learning about design, printing, color theory and many other things that may surely be of interest to you and that you will find in our blog to deepen your knowledge of topics as important as those covered.