“We design inks.” is the promise of the ARMOR Industrial Inks Lab, the latest business unit of the ARMOR Group. However, what is the story behind “ink design” and how does ink design differ from ink development? What is the benefit for end consumers?
The Industrial Inks Lab was founded in 2016 as evolution of the artech GmbH in Dortmund/Germany, the center of inkjet competence within the French ARMOR Group. “The mission of the Industrial Inks Lab is to design water based inkjet inks for any kind of digital industrial inkjet printing.” says Lars Strzeletz, senior marketing manager. “ARMOR is in the printing and inkjet ink business since the beginning of the 20th century. From this period of time we learnt that standard inks which are developed from the perspective of an ink producer do not satisfy everybody’s demand. Especially nowadays, as the digital inkjet printing is becoming more and more relevant to all kind of different printing applications, it is almost impossible to have a satisfactory standard ink for all of these applications. When listening to the printing companies in the commercial inkjet printing market, we understood it is difficult for them to get an ink set which is tailored towards their particular needs. Instead, they are limited to standard inks which provide a performance the according ink producer considers as “good” and which is publicly available to any print house next door. However, to achieve the best print results in your application and to stand out with the highest printing quality, it is indispensable to use an ink which can provide exactly the performance you need within your individual printing scenario. Otherwise, you will always be limited and your print results stay behind what is actually possible.” Lars Strzeletz continues.
“The interest of the big ink producing companies in our industry is to turn over huge quantities of ink . This concept does not match with the demand to have an individual ink for each and every demanding printer out there. It is a challenge to react to individual specifications. Mass-produced inks are developed “inside-out”: the chemists in the labs define the performance they think the printers need. In fact, the opposite is the reality: to produce an ink set which is really satisfying a printer, it requires a deep understanding of what this printer wants to achieve in his application, with his machines and in his printing environment. Therefore, we do it the way round: before producing inks, we have a very close look at the application, the substrate, the printing conditions, the printing machine and a lot more factors which impact the print quality. We carefully listen to our customers to understand their needs and their vision of ink performance. With this deep understanding of their requirements, we return to our lab and start to transform a customer’s idea into an individual ink creation. This is how the process of ink design differs from ink development.”
The ink creation of the ARMOR Industrial Inks Lab are inks which were designed on individual demand, developed based on the analysis of individual requirements and the consideration of individual factors. However, what is the benefit of asking for an individual ink creation designed by the ARMOR Industrial Inks Lab compared to mass produced inks?
“The benefit of the ink creations we design for our customers is the superior performance of the ink sets within the individual printing application. A good example is the ink-design we made for a leading German media-company. They ordered a single-pass inkjet printer with a target speed of 150 m / minute. The ink has to jet reliably in a 24 /7 production environment and be compatible with different paper types used in their printing department. Armor Industrial Inks Lab designed the ink for the fastest available print-head in close co-operation with the machine manufacturer. The product meets exactly the customer’s expectations with regards to quality, reliability, substrate compatibility, drying-time and fastness values. This example demonstrates the desire and capability of Armor Industrial Inks Lab to design an inkjet ink to exactly meet the customer’s need .” explains Lars Strzeletz.
“Last but not least, our own ink plant in Prudnik, Poland enables us to control the entire production process of the ink creation offered to customer. We can ensure our customers receive exactly the ink they approved. Our ink production is certified according to ISO 9001 and 14001 and operates fully automated.”
Prepared on the basis of information from ARMOR Industrial Inks Lab