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Laboratory printability

The ICI’s lab proofing equipment allows us to simulate on a small scale the behaviour of inks based on a given substrate and printing process. The information obtained from this equipment is important to validate the printability of the inks before their transition to an industrial press.

IGT Tester, AIC2-5

A versatile device to test the printability of offset inks, with or without driers (heatset or coldest). Combined with the controlled inking station, the IGT can produce repeatable proofs to compare the ink consumption versus a standard or based on various paper substrates. It can also be used to analyze the colour, transparency and coverage of inks, and the picking and absorption of papers.

IGT Gravure

The IGT G1-7 printability tester provides reproducible proofs of gravure inks resulting in consistent ink film thickness. The G1-7 tester can print on a variety of coated and uncoated materials, including paper, cardboard, plastic film, cellophane, laminates, labels and textiles.

It consists of interchangeable engraved printing discs, a doctor blade and a counter-pressure cylinder with ink being applied between the doctor blade and the printing disc using a pipette. Printing speed and pressure can be adjusted.

Flexiproof 100-UV, RK Print Coat Instruments

Used to test the printability of conventional or UV-cured liquid inks with a anilox/plate flexographic printing system. The patterns on the printing plate are customizable to test various designs. Different anilox volumes and adjustable printing speed and pressure are used to test and optimize the ink deposits.

  • Adjustable printing speed between 20 and 99 m/min
  • Max. printing area: 75 x 240 mm
  • Ink type: water-based, solvent-based or UV-curing
  • Substrates: paper, cardboard or plastic film
  • Anilox: 8 volumes between 3 cm3/cm2 (400 Lpi) and 18 cm3/cm2 (55 Lpi)

K-printing Proofer, RK Printcoat Instrument

Used to assess the transfer of a liquid ink by using an engraved plate with recessed patterns, like in rotogravure. The plate/substrate pressure parameters and the printing speed are adjustable to optimize printing. Standard test plates with various screen rulings and cell depths are available. The patterns etched on the plate are customizable and various types of etching (electromagnetic, laser, etching) can be tested upon request.

  • Max. printing area: 110 x 150 mm
  • Ink type: water-based or solvent-based
  • Substrates: paper or plastic film (max. 120 x 220 mm)
  • Lamination tests: 4 and 12 µm coating rods to control the glue deposit

Physicochemistry of interfaces

It is essential to characterize the affinity of the ink for the substrate and to understand the interface to optimize the consumables and get good print quality.

OCA LJ15, Dataphysics

With a high-resolution camera and an image treatment software, the OCA system can measure the contact angle of drops of liquids deposited on the surface of a solid and analyze the outline of a drop of liquid formed in the air to identify its surface tension. This system also has temperature control to analyze the liquid/solid wettability at typical temperatures for printing environments.

  • Available measurement: liquid contact angle of solids, energy of solids and surface tension of liquids
  • Temperature control of measured liquids: between -20 and 100 oC
  • Dynamic measurement of the contact angle and the shape of the drop to assess the spread and absorption of the substrates (capture at 2450 images/s)

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