One effective way to boost production, improve efficiency, and reduce inventory costs in your shop is to utilize ink-management equipment. This article explores a variety of options available for ink handling, mixing, and dispensing, as well as the benefits these products offer.
By Lori Leaman
Some pumps are available to fit a particular ink manufacturers’ ink containers, such as the Amergraph Spindex pumps for 1- and 5-gal containers. The pumps come with a latching system designed to secure the pump lid to the ink container, as well as a silicone rubber follower, an adjustable pump lever, a 16-in. flex tube, and the Spindex nozzle. The pumps are designed to dispense plastisols within a viscosity range of 100,000-300,000 cps to an accuracy of ±0.1 g, with no drip. Users can control the pressure and volume through the adjustable pump lever, and the flex tube allows users to place the nozzle exactly where it is needed.
An important consideration in using pumps is pump-pressure ratio. You can contact your ink manufacturer to find out the pump-pressure ratio you require.
Dickson Dorrier, vice president of Southeastern Process Equipment & Controls, Inc. (SPEC), says diaphragm pumps are typically 1:1 or 1:2 ratio pumps; whereas gear pumps deliver higher ratios, and piston pumps deliver even higher ratios. For example, if you put 100 psi of air pressure into a piston pump, you might get up to 4000 psi of delivery pressure out, which is ideal when working with thick inks.
Dispensing and measuring ink
A dispensing system is a necessity if you do color matching or mix pigments and bases. If you don’t want to employ the prehistoric method of measuring the amount of ink you’ll need by hand, an automated dispensing system should be a permanent fixture in your shop. Another crucial piece of equipment is a digital scale, such as the one shown in Figure 1, which is offered by Amergraph. Many automatic dispensing systems come with scales, but if you measure and dispense your inks by hand or use a custom mixing system, consult your ink distributor for recommendations for a digital scale.
Mettler scales are commonly used with ink-dispensing systems, such as Novaflow Systems’ family of dispensing equipment. Mettler scales are available in a variety of models, support ink capacities from 75-6000 lbs, and offer weighing accuracy from ±0.0002 to ±0.1 lb, depending on the scale.
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