Experts in the Trans Tech Ink Lab can identify the best formulation for your decorating needs after considering a wide number of factors, including:
For successful pad printing decoration, dried or cured ink must remain completely intact on the decorated surface- even in the face of challenges like rubbing, abrasion and exposure to chemicals. Quality ink suppliers can test inks and train your team to perform effective in-house testing as well. With thorough testing- you can ensure you avoid compromised decoration and resulting product scrap.
To successfully test the durability of your pad printing ink, you must print a number of samples and ensure the ink is completely cured or dry. For UV inks this will happen very quickly. For traditional ink- longer curing times will be required. If you would like to reduce required curing time- you can use drying tunnels. Pre-treatments such as corona, plasma and flame treatments can also modify a product´s surface for superior ink adhesion
There are four kinds of tests widely performed on pad printing inks.
1) Chemical Resistance Test
2) Adhesion Test
3) Cross-Hatch Test
4) Abrasion Test
Chemical resistance testing ensure that dried or cured decoration will not be compromised by exposure to chemical elements. Chemical resistance testing can be done using methyl or isopropyl alcohol. In our demonstration video– we use 99% isopropyl alcohol. To perform the test, simply pour a small amount of alcohol onto a folded rag or paper towel. Rub the alcohol about 10 times over a decorated part with light pressure. If the ink remains durable and no ink comes off onto your rag or paper towel, the ink has passed the chemical resistance test.
Adhesion testing ensure that ink properly adheres to or sticks to your part even when one tries to “peel” the ink off. The adhesion test, also known as the tape test, is conducted by applying a simple piece of tape on top of a decorated part. Rub the tape firmly onto the part about eight to ten times. Then, holding the tape at a 90 degree angle to the part, tear it off forcefully. If no ink comes off onto the tape, the ink has passed adhesion testing.
Cross-hatch testing is similar to adhesion testing- with a key variation. To perform the test, use a razor or knife to cut into the decorated product in a cross-hatch or “x” formation. Then apply tape on top of this keyed product. As with adhesion testing, rub firmly on the tape about 8 to 10 times then forcefully pull the tape off at a 90 degree angle. You can see the results of this test not only by ensuring that no ink has adhered to the tape, but also by checking the edges of the cuts under a microscope. If the ink is performing correctly- examination under a microscope will show no ink has been removed along the edges of the incision.
Finally, abrasion testing is done to ensure that ink cannot be scratched off a decorated part or component. To perform an abrasion test, simply try scratching aggressively with your finger nail directly on the decorated segment of your part. If not ink is removed, the abrasion test has been passed.
A quality pad print ink supplier can provide expert ink testing and train your team to conduct effective chemical resistance, adhesion, cross hatch and abrasion test.
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