Achieving top notch quality and consistency

Ink and fount solutions from Heidelberg India to make it easy

Generally, a printer’s goal is to deliver a high quality product at an adequate profit margin on time. How do we define ‘high quality’? A high quality printing product is represented by required print contrast, balanced gray shades, sharp and detailed image definition, and colour consistency from sheet to sheet. This demands stable conditions in the press - meaning a homogenous dampening distribution from head to tail of the plate and an excellent ink split behaviour. Profit margin in printing is a direct result of cost of production, material required, turnaround time (the faster the better) and the selling price of the finished printed product. A modern Heidelberg press (which is also the only press in the world that provides an absolute identical inking profile head and tail of the plate/blanket/impression cylinder) is the best basis to reach the initially defined goal - provided it is well maintained (evidence was made using the ‘Pan4c test form set’). Another factor for reaching this goal in printing is the ingredients - meaning ‘the chemical cocktail’ in the press. After offering ‘press adjustment’ trainings to printers, Heidelberg found out that this critical influencing factor has to be controlled equally well. As a consequence the company has developedtogether with leading partners a series of inks and fount additives matching perfectly to get the ‘spit of ink’ ideally set. A minimum on water or dampening take to get the right dot gain in relation to the best ink lay-down or ink density. The lesser the water in the interaction: the better lay down of ink and colour saturation, the lesser time required to dry the sheet, the lesser time required to print the backside or to finish the product, the lesser powder consumption, and no colour variation hence highly consistent print run. This is why Heidelberg developed its ‘Saphira System’ of ‘Saphira Ink’ and ‘Saphira Fount’. It became easier now to print and maintain the international ISO standard for offset ISO 12647-2.

Some features for Saphira Ink application include: stable conditions in the press to print in an industrial and international quality standard; get the best printing contrast that even exceeds the ISO norms; highest print sharpness; reduce wastage and less pulls to proper inks setting; higher nominal printing speed in the press since less press stops; reduce the number of variables in the press (ink/fount standard); higher saturation of colour shades because of best ink/water balance; get the press adjusted from the press manufacturer who knows every detail of the press; and a range of process inks linked with the proper application know-how.

There is no ink for all purposes available! The strength of offset printing is its versatility of application on vast variety of substrates. Ink plays a key role in the interaction of the multiple influencing factors in the printing process. Inks for offset printing have to have different ‘faces’, have to have different characteristics to perform properly under different printing conditions. Since the print quality and the usability of the final printing product depends almost only on the ‘ink split’ in the press, the combination of ink and fount additive is crucial. That decides as already mentioned earlier on print contrast, saturation of colour shade, ink lay down, stability and consistency during the press run, drying behaviour, powder requirement, press speed, wastage and the time required for the whole operation.

Different substrates and different printing procedures like perfecting work, work & turn, work & tumble, finishing concepts and the expectation on the visual impression of the design require different types of inks. Not each ink type blooms at its best on each substrate with each fount solution under all press conditions.

In order to get the best quality with highest consistency out of the press, Heidelberg India offers a range of process inks linked with the proper application know-how. Since there is no ideal ink for everything, the right choice makes the final success. Their print instructors are specialist in press adjustment and are able to simulate almost every condition in the Print Media Academy in Chennai. Having all the information on hand, Saphira ink and the application know how from Heidelberg India supports printers very much in gaining top notch quality and consistency while keeping cost of production on bay.

Out of careful testing, the company supplies three types of Saphira process inks as proper ‘tools’ to meet almost all printing conditions: Saphira HEI premium series with a rich punch and high strength - designed for ‘higher-speed’ printing; Saphira HEI edition series with a lower tack dedicated to the lesser gsm stock; and Saphira HEI utility series to facilitate coating and post press operations. All the three inks are perfectly compliant with their Saphira fount solution (minimum water uptake).

Saphira HEI premium ink is highly versatile, rich pigmented, made for perfecting (work & turn), high printing speed (no ink mist), saturated punch (printing contrast even succeeding ISO) and moderate glossy results.

Saphira HEI utility ink has an economic combination of sufficient pigmentation reaching the contrast defined by ISO, better mileage compared with the premium, good gloss and average printing speed. A glossier ink is less rich on pigmentation. Commercial printers who like mileage and gloss in printing prefer this ink.

While Saphira HEI edition is dedicated for thin substrate printing where other inks will not work. It is actually a niche product however mandatory for specific print production segments. The strength of this ink is also the field of card board printing. Pigmentation and colour strength is close to ‘HEI utility’ which makes this ink ideal for being inline coated with aqueous varnishes.

These set of inks are covering almost every application requirement in commercial printing and process colour separations for packaging. Their unique stability is tested manifold all over the world under various climatic conditions. Internationally renowned print quality experts were invited by Heidelberg India’s Print media Academy in Chennai for their judgment and approval and thus laid the foundation to get the certification for ISO 12476 - the international standard for print quality.

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