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Ink Mixing and Matching

(February 2010) posted on Mon Jan 25, 2010

Tools of the trade for screen printers


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By Gail Flower

International Coatings Corp. (ICC) provides a Web-based color-formulation tool (Figure 2) for use with their inks, which provides simulated Pantone color formula values for their Ultramix color-mixing ink series: Ultramix 7400 color system, Ultramix 7900 low-cure color system, and the Ultramix 9000. Printers can use the CD version or the online color formula guide. Printers can also use the site to calculate ink usage, project pricing, and create and store custom formulas in an online library. ICC also has specialty bases and additives for creating a variety of effects: puff, suede, stretch, hot-split transfer, and foil resist.

Lancer Group Int’l has developed two systems for matching colors using plastisol ink. ColorPro uses the Pantone mixing formulas, 11 finished plastisol inks, and a software package. “Printers can access, from within the computer program, formulas to make any color described in the Pantone library except fluorescents and metallic,” says Morgan Young, international and Canadian sales.

The software calculates the am-ount of ink needed for each print run. Users input the PMS color number, mesh count, the number of pieces, and size of the design in square inches. The related software (ColormatePro) then calculates a formula for producing the approximate amount needed for the job at hand. Each component is weighed, placed into a container, and stirred. The system is available in different ink types: athletic, transfer, direct print, nylon, water-based, and PVC-free.

Marabu offers a variety of software and hardware for color matching. The MCDμ (Figure 3), shown for the first time at SGIA 2009, is an automated dispensing system designed for budget-conscious shops. The company’s ColorDispenser Compact holds and dispenses ink and is controlled by ColorManager software. It has 14 full-size stainless-steel tanks, accommodates various container sizes, and can be adapted to drum-based systems.



The ColorManager MCM 2 allows for formulas to be downloaded directly from the Marabu server; however, it does not allow storing of a user’s unique color-matching formula, or modifying existing formulas.

“The full MCM version is available in a standalone version to be connected to a precision scale allowing additional features, such as ink consumption calculation and storing of own formulas,” says Friedrich Goldner, director of marketing.

ColorManager MCM V.2.3, full version, allows database formulations for Pantone, HKS, and RAL color systems calculated in liters or kilos.


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