Pad Printing Ink Types: Everything You Need to Know

What types of pad print ink are available?

Whether you want to add decoration to plastic, metal, wood, glass, ceramic, or even sandstone – there is a pad print ink for you. For quality, durable print, picking the correct type of pad print ink for your specific application is essential.

What factors should be considered when selecting the right type of pad print ink for an application?

Experts in the Trans Tech Ink Lab will recommend the best formulation for your decorating needs after carefully studying a wide number of factors, including:

  • Substrate
  • Industry
  • Color
  • Ink type (1 or 2-component or UV)
  • Needed capabilities
  • Adhesion requirements
  • Abrasion requirements
  • Opacity
  • Printing speed
  • Need for pretreatments
  • Desired number of prints

Pad Print Ink Types
Pad Printing Color Matching

Experts in the Trans Tech Ink Lab have expertise in a wide range of types of pad print ink, including:

  • 1- and 2-Component Inks, UV Inks
  • Performance Inks – High Density, Abrasion Resistance, Chemical Resistance, etc.
  • Medical Class VI Inks
  • Metallic & Process Color Inks
  • Additives (hardeners, thinners, adhesion promoters, specialty additives)
  • Standard Colors
  • High Precision Custom Color Ink Mixing


Pad Printing Ink Type Overview
inks and additives for pad printing

At a base level, pad printing inks vary in how many components make them up. The two main types of ink are 1-component and 2-component inks. This label refers to the number of materials used in mixing the ink. For 1-component inks, the ground pigment is mixed with one item: a solvent. Generally, these inks call for a percentage of weight at around 15%. The product is a liquid ink that can then be added to a printer’s ink cups.

2-component inks function the same way, however, they are also viable for adding a hardener. Hardeners and Solvents are additives used to create an ink that performs to the specific needs of any given application. Some inks can be used with or without solvents.

Pad Print Ink Components

The components that make up a Pad Printing Ink mixture each serve a different purpose in its end product. These components are designed with precision to achieve various effects, thereby creating individualized solutions for pad printing operations.


The construction of the perfect ink begins with determining the desired color for your print. To create the ideal amount of contrast with the substrate and maintain artistic quality, the Trans Tech Custom Color Mixing team utilizes spectrophotometers to fine-tune the color blend to a market-leading ΔE color variance of 2.0 or less.

It’s essential to have a supplier that retains your ink color profile on record. This allows your supply chain to remain uninterrupted while you receive continuous batches of identical ink.

Solvents or Thinner

As stated before. Solvents are what initially provides viscosity to the ink’s color mix. However, solvents remain helpful after the initial mixing process. When the ink is consumed, the solvent portion of the mixture begins to evaporate. While this doesn’t ruin the ink, it does change the texture of the ink, making it more apt to clump and stick in unintended ways.

You can prolong ink’s lifespan by periodically adding solvent. Keep in mind not all solvents have the same chemical makeup. As such, solvents are paired with specific lines of ink to work together. These custom ink and solvent pairings will be crafted specifically for your unique product decoration needs.


While Solvents are the ideal solution for thinning an ink, a hardener is the best choice for adding resistance to the mixture. A Hardener can help ensure that once the solvent has evaporated, the print maintains a greater degree of tolerance for abrasion. The ink’s resistance is elevated, allowing it to stand up to wear and tear better than just with a solvent.

Not all Pad Printing Inks are compatible with hardeners, however. As we stated before, 2-component ink series may have the ability to incorporate a hardener (sometimes referred to as a catalyst) as long as they are chemically compatible. Your need for a hardener will be considered when selecting a custom ink for your production needs.


Pad Print Ink Expertise

Trans Tech offers a market-leading range of standard pad print inks. We offer:
*INK LINES: 30 different standard ink lines, 7 of which are widely used in North America.
*STANDARD COLORS: 28 available standard colors
*MIX COLORS: 12 C-Mix colors for simplified color matching in many ink lines
*OPTIONS: Both metallic and process colors.


Pad Print Ink – Market Leadership

Trans Tech is proud to be the market leader in three key areas related to pad print ink.

First –Our inks are widely regarded as the most durable on the market today. Our deep expertise in the entire pad printing process– including machinessupplies, and services– allows us to engineer ink with standout durability.

Second- Trans Tech has the largest ink warehouse in North America. Our wide selection of pad printing inks truly allows Trans Tech to stand out as a leader.

Finally- The experts in Trans Tech’s Ink Lab combine industry-leading expertise with cutting-edge technology to provide superior ink-related support services.

We can take a look at each of these elements in more detail.


Would you like to know more?

Please get in touch. We would love to hear from you.