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Ink Resources

Tools for Quality Control

Few print specifiers realize the ink resources made available to them through their printers and ink manufacturers. These quality-control services can be provided either directly from your printer – if it’s a company that mixes its own ink, or by having the printer provide these services in conjunction with its ink manufacturer.

These services can help you get a better prediction of what you’ll get on press, which is a goal - all print buyers strive to achieve. For example, you can make sure that the gold metallic ink looks like you envisioned it on that forest green felt paper.

These services are usually free to you. But even if your printer charges a minimal fee, it’s well worth it and can save significant time and money down the road. However, you will need to allow some extra time in your production schedule.

Here is a brief summary of some of the services offered.

Ink Drawdown

  • This technique shows a specific ink applied to a specified paper stock. A spatula of ink is drawn down the stock.
  • Drawdowns are used to evaluate the ink color and opacity on the substrate.
  • An ink drawdown is also called a pulldown.

Ink Roll-Out

  • This is the closest check of ink performance before printing the actual job.
  • This technique is like an ink drawdown, except the ink is applied to the paper stock on a small printing press.
  • Screens, halftones, and varnishes can be evaluated.
  • For example, you can compare how a certain ink looks with a gloss vs. a dull varnish.

Color Match

  • Ink manufacturers can produce a special ink color to match almost anything you want.
  • They can make suggestions to a printer on building process color to match a PMS.

Other Services from Ink Manufacturers

  • Answer printers’ questions about ink performance on the press.
  • File the formulas of special ink matches for you for years.
  • Troubleshoot and work to solve ink printing problems.

By knowing and using these resources, you can get a better idea of what to expect when working with an unfamiliar stock or process. By taking advantage of these services, you can resolve print problems before you get on press, saving you time and money. Most printers will be happy to provide these services to you directly or via their ink suppliers. Contact your printer for more details.

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