Common Pad Print Ink Additives

Thinner, Hardner, Retarder, Flow Agent, Adhesion Promoter

Common Pad Print Ink Additives

Additives are often added to pad printing ink to ensure enhanced performance for product or component decoration.

Pad print ink consists of both pigment and binder substances. The pigment provides visual impact. The binder ensures the ink can adhere to the substrate that is being decorated.

Many additives can be added to basic pad printing ink to serve a range of functions. For example, they can increase abrasion resistance, enhance ink adhesion or protect the ink from environmental impacts.

The most common pad print ink additives are:
– hardener
–  thinner
–  retarder
– flow agent
– adhesion promoter


Pad Print Hardener

Your trusted pad print ink supplier should inform you of precisely which (if any) additives are needed to ensure optimal performance for your unique application. There are a few easy rules of thumb that can help as well:

1. Single Component Ink (PG type)
Never requires the use of a hardener

2. Two Component Ink (B Type)
ALWAYS requires the use of a hardener

3. Optional Ink (P Type)
Can be used with or without a hardener

If adding a hardener to a pad printing ink, it is essential to know the correct ink-to-hardener ratio to ensure proper performance.

Also, while hardeners can be extremely helpful in enhancing abrasion, chemical, and even UV discoloring resistance, it is key to remember that adding the hardener to pad print ink will limit ink lifespan. Depending on the ink selected, users typically have 6, 8, or 10 hours to use the ink pot once the hardener has been added.

The experts at the Trans Tech Ink Lab can provide expert guidance on if hardeners should be added to your pad print ink. If so, they can also provide guidance on the best way to do this.

Pad Print Thinner

Thinner is an additive that is used to help transfer ink from the printing plate (or cliche) to the pad and from the pad onto the product to be decorated.

There are a variety of types of thinner available, and an expert from the Trans Tech Ink Lab can help you select the best type for your unique applications.

Factors to consider when selecting a thinner include:
Thinner will evaporate faster in dryer atmospheres than in moister ones.
There are thinners available ideally suited for use on fast, medium, and slower equipment.
Printing plate depth plays a role in determining the right type and amount of thinner needed.

Trans Tech has expertise in both pad printing ink as well as pad printing plates (cliches) and can provide expert advice on how they can best work together.


Additional Pad Print Ink Additives (Retarder, Flow Agent, Adhesion Promoter)


Retarder – is a very slow thinner

Flow Agent

Flow agent loosens up the elasticity of ink. This can often eliminate challenges like fish eyes or pinholes.

Adhesion Promoter

Helps ensure durable decoration.

Experts at the Trans Tech Ink Lab can help you identify additives that are compatible with your pad print ink.


Additional Information

Would you like to learn more about pad printing ink from Trans Tech? Please get in touch. We would love to hear from you.