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Top Tools for the Inkroom

(August 2013) posted on Wed Sep 04, 2013

Improve color accuracy and increase savings with ink-management solutions.

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By Ray Smith

Also, producing colors in house means that color is available faster. Instead of waiting for the delivery truck to arrive with a special color, the mixing system enables the ink tech to mix the color quickly while controlling the quantity, mixing what is needed for the job so there is no over-buying. In essence, the shop becomes its own ink manufacturer.

Control cost and inventory with software
Most color systems also offer supporting ink-mixing software. This software generally offers a variety of ways to save time and money.

Formula database Mixing software allows the technician to quickly search the database for the formula needed via a look-up filter. This feature will comb through the formula listings, saving time and labor for ink technicians searching for a color.

Custom formulas Generally, the software will also allow the technician to adjust calculations. This feature will help an ink tech create new color on the fly and rename to save as a custom color.

Adaptability Most ink-mixing software has a re-calculation feature that helps a technician who may have accidently added too much of a component. This feature will recalculate the amount for the remaining components to be added, putting the formula back on track and reducing waste.

Cost control Tracking the costs of the ink components is another important value feature commonly offered. By custom loading the component costs into the software, the ink tech is able to report actual ink costs per gallon or per job. This feature makes it easier to figure and track costs, thus guiding pricing on individual jobs.

Inventory control Most software can also streamline inventory control by estimating ink usage in relation to overall print quantity. This feature allows the user to keep up with the individual component usage on an ink per print scale, resulting in less waste, reduced inventory and eliminating over-purchasing.

Reduce waste One of the most valuable tools with mixing-system software is the recycle feature. This enables users to take unused ink and use it as a component to produce a new color. This recycling feature saves money by keeping inventory low, significantly reducing waste and minimizing component purchases (Figure 4).


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