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May 25, 2001 12:00 AM

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There’s a saying within the industry that offset lithography came to fruition one morning, and it was the following afternoon that the inventor experienced the first water/ink balance problem, joked Diane Parisi, Flint Ink technical director of paste inks at the "New developments in Ink technology" seminar at this week’s GATF/NAPL Sheetfed Pressroom Conference.
Panelists from ink vendors and ink packaging manufacturers updated attendees on their efforts to improve the ink/water balance dilemma and other developments.
Flint Ink is currently beta-testing its latest Single Fluid Ink (SFI), which contains patented polymers and other materials that are said to perform well on a range of presses and conventional plates. According to Parisi, SFI’s print quality is equal to the typical sheetfed ink used in the U.S., and can run up to 100,000 impressions with no apparent issues of stability and plate life. The process is not particularly temperature sensitive, there are no apparent misting or slinging issues and plate wear does not appear to be a problem.
Sun Chemical Ink’s Drilith W2 single fluid ink system is formulated to eliminate volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in both the ink and presswash. It runs on a Toray waterless analog and digital plate, as well as the Presstek digital plate. According to Sun Chemical’s Dick Drong, the Drilith W2 inks perform better than most waterless ink systems in eliminating toning on press.
Byron G. Hahn, Braden Sutphin Ink Co., says that his company’s research has revealed that with water-only lithography, press modifications and special plates are not required, but minor adjustments to the water feed rate or dampener nip settings are necessary. He says that ink/paper interactions are predictable, dot formation is consistently clean and oxidative drying is outstanding.

TriService’s Ink Spot system is perhaps the simplest of dispensing options, as Fred Valentini explained: Users simply need to insert a disposable disk into the ink can, punch a hole in the can and insert it into the Ink Spot system. It maintains a constant ink level with or without ink agitators, reduces ink waste, does not require ink skinning or clean-up for color changes. It reportedly fits any make, model and press size and operates on 24 volts and compressed air.
The Sentinel ink management system uses canisters instead of cans, explained Greg Nyberg of Accel Graphic Systems, Inc. The Sonoco Flow-Rite Canister is said to create less waste than cans, reducing disposal costs and lessening environmental impact. In the Sentinel system, an ink sensor constantly monitors the level of ink in the fountain and adds ink only where needed. Each dispensing head is equipped with keypad and digital display, and canister changeout can be performed in less than 10 seconds.
Roger Malbury of Technotrans America reviewed his company’s current offerings in ink dispensing, which include semi-automatic ink dispensers, automatic dispensers based on cartridges, automatic dispensers based on cartridges and/or containers and automatic dispensers based on containers.
At the end of the panel’s presentations, Sutphin Ink’s Hahn advised attendees that many other products are under development by each of the companies, and that next year’s releases will continue to improve waste, time and fiscal efficiency.