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
Dan McKenney, vice president North American sales for Novaflow, says, “We design the hardware with several things in mind, including weighscale accuracy and product viscosity. Typically, when designing a dispensing system for UV screen and conventional screen-printing inks, we select a highaccuracy scale (the smaller the batch size, the higher the precision of the scale). In regards to product viscosity, UV screen and conventional screen products, due to their make up, require a careful examination to ensure we size the fluid circuit properly.”
Other ink-weighing products may be combined in a package that includes a scale, computer, and software. The system shown in Figure 2 is the Integrated PC Balance Blending System from Sun Chemical Corp., which is designed for small operations that do a few blends per day. The user places a container on top of the scale, selects a recipe to blend, and then manually weighs it. When zero has been reached in weighing the first ingredient, the user then moves on to the next ingredient, weighs down to zero again, and repeats this process for the remaining ingredients.
Rutland Plastic Technologies offers Advantage ink-dispensing scales with its M2007 Ink Mixing software. Users calculate a batch size, and one button displays the on-screen interface for the scale. The first formula is displayed, and the first ingredient is ready to weigh. An Overweigh button recalculates the remainder of the recipe to compensate for any overages. Three scales are offered and have capacities that include 1200 g (with ±0.01-g resolution), 6000 g (with ±0.1-g resolution), and 30 kg (with ±0.5-g resolution).
The scale interface is automatically loaded with M2007 Ink Mixing Software, featuring ink-usage estimates with stencil-thickness adjustments, recycle functions, reporting functions and formulation printing, capability to e-mail formulas and reports, and Rutland ink-mixing systems. Rutland’s M2 and CB inks are specified to work in a variety of manual and automatic ink-dispensing systems from several manufacturers, including Vale-Tech, Amergraph, and BEK Equipment.
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