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Screen Printing on Ceramics

Advantages of screen printing inks over hot melt inks - a case study

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Decorating Ceramics: Screen Printing Inks or Hot Melt Inks?

A case study

After considering all the benefits and thoroughly testing the end product - imprinted coffee mugs - a factory in Canada has recently eliminated their high temperature conveyors (lehrs) and switched to screen printing with Sapphire CG series ink.

Sales manager of ICN-Canada was at the factory to help with the transition. He reported: "By the time the decision to remove the lehrs was made, Sapphire CG ink had already proved itself to this customer. In a different division, which deals with printing on varied metal products, CG successfully replaced three (!) other ink lines. This single series worked for all their applications, completely satisfying the requirements for adhesion, opacity and gloss. On the coffee mugs, previously decorated with hot melt inks, CG worked great as well. The prints easily passed the scratch test and dishwashing test. After that, convincing the production people was not very difficult because the lehrs indeed occupied a lot of production space and drove energy costs through the roof."

Hot melt inks are rather popular in the promotional product industry. They are used for the decoration of ceramic glassware. To have the ink cured, the products are placed into slow long conveyors, where they are heated to over 200°C and then gradually cooled down. Among the advantages of this method is that the ink melts into the ceramics, making prints very durable. But there are many disadvantages:
  • Curing process takes more than an hour
  • The lehrs occupy lot of production space
  • Fuel for the lehrs is a major expense
  • The lehrs heat up the work area, creating difficult conditions for the personnel and demanding heavy conditioning
  • antone colormatching is tricky as one cannot see the resulting color till the ink is cured
  • Until recently, the majority of hot melt inks has been lead-based. Per recent revision of Proposition 65, this is declared not safe so ink manufacturers are developing lead-free formulas, which have worse adhesion characteristics

Sapphire CG series, formulated specifically for glass, ceramics and metal for both screen printing and pad printing, solves all these problems:
  • Curing process takes minutes
  • Printers are compact (tabletop models available)
  • There is no heating thus no fuel consumption
  • Color matches can be visually inspected while one mixes the ink
  • CG is Proposition 65 compliant, yet has perfect adhesion and opacity characteristics
Call us to see how your facility can increase productivity and cut costs! We offer onsite audit of printing processes, an option that many customers considered extremely helpful. Initial consultation is always no obligation and free of charge.

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