Air Products Home

Inks and Graphic Arts

Browse previously asked/answered questions below.

  • I am experiencing excessive foam in my waterborne Graphic Arts application which is negatively impacting my formulation. What do you recommend?
    Jeanine Snyder
    Senior Development

    Many surfactants typically used for wetting in water-based formulations promote and stabilize foam. Additionally, during application, air may become entrained in the formulation causing defects and decreased performance of the finished product. Air Products is pleased to offer a range of products allowing a systematic approach to defoamer selection based on product performance. In the toughest situations, where foam control is critical without causing defects, we offer siloxane-based Airase™ 5600, Airase 5700 and Surfynol® DF66 defoamers, specifically designed for aqueous ink systems. For pigment dispersions, we offer Airase 5100, Airase 5200 and Airase 5300 defoamers to eliminate foam and allow more efficient grinding. To ensure effective knockdown foam control with excellent sustainability, we offer our organic-based Surfynol® AD01 and Surfynol DF-75 defoamers. No matter what your formulating needs, Air Products offers you innovative and flexible solutions.
    Was this helpful?
    + Submit a follow up question
  • I’m having trouble stabilizing a low-cost pigment source. What can make this easier?
    Mike Peck Mike Peck
    Senior Research Chemist

    Qualifying alternative raw materials is a necessity these days, but often what is promoted as an offset fails to be a true "drop-in." With pigments in particular, alternatives may meet specifications while creating stability problems in a colorant or ink. The right technical solution can help reduce these headaches and minimize the work needed to utilizea new pigment source.

    ZetaSperse® 3600 pigment dispersing additive is a new addition to Air Products’ offering in dispersants and has shown excellent benefit for doing just that—stabilizing widely varied pigment surface chemistries. Based on low- and mid-MW stabilizing polymers and strong pigment wetting agents, this robust combination provides a ready dispersant solution to many common pigment chemistries, regardless of source or variation in surface treatments. ZetaSperse 3600 additive (52% in water) is best used as the primary stabilizer but can be used as a co-dispersant in resinated systems.

    Was this helpful?
    + Submit a follow up question
  • How can I overcome print defects when formulating a low-VOC, water-based ink for nonporous substrates?
    Jeanine Snyder
    Senior Development

    Applying waterborne inks on difficult-to-coat surfaces such as plastics, films and non-porous substrates presents significant challenges to ink formulators. To maximize wetting and minimize craters, fisheyes, orange peel and pinholes, the proper surfactant is needed to promote substrate wetting and minimize foam generation. Dynol™ 810 surfactant, developed with a superior balance of properties compared to traditional silicone and fluorosurfactants, offers exceptional performance in inks and a wide variety of other water-based coating applications. Based on Gemini technology, it has the ability to reduce equilibrium and dynamic surface tension to levels not achieved with other surfactants. Dynol 810 surfactant, specifically designed for waterborne printing inks and overprint varnishes, is an excellent alternative for difficult-to-wet substrates requiring good flow and leveling under diverse application conditions. It offers superior wetting and printability while maintaining excellent foam control over traditional organic, silicone and fluoro-based surfactants when used to print on film substrates such as oriented polypropylene or high-slip polyethylene.
    Was this helpful?
    + Submit a follow up question
  • How can I improve the stability of my water-based carbon black pigment dispersion?
    Jeanine Snyder
    Senior Development

    A stable pigment dispersion is critical to application performance. Formulating issues such as shock, flocculation, floating or flooding can develop when improperly stabilized pigment dispersions are let down into ink or coating systems. Air Products has developed Carbowet® 300 surfactant, specifically designed to achieve excellent wetting of hydrophobic materials leading to rapid incorporation of dry pigments and improved milling efficiency during the dispersion process. Carbowet 300 surfactant is designed to provide strong particle affinity and robust stabilization, minimizing stability problems in your system. Using Carbowet 300 surfactant in combination with a grinding resin can improve the viscosity stability of carbon black dispersions. Dispersions containing Carbowet 300 surfactant offer improved initial viscosities as well as better viscosity and dispersion stability after three weeks at 50 °C when compared with dispersions prepared with a grind resin alone. Solvent- and APE-free, this cost-effective surfactant offers improved dispersion and viscosity stability in resinated pigment dispersions where it functions as an environmentally preferable alternative to APEs and other surfactants used to provide color stability in printing inks and coatings.
    Was this helpful?
    + Submit a follow up question
  • Excessive foam in my waterborne graphic arts application is negatively impacting my formulation. What do you recommend?
    Jeanine Snyder
    Senior Development

    Many surfactants typically used for wetting in water-based formulations tend to promote and stabilize foam. In addition, during application, air may become entrained in the formulation and impede grind efficiency, make packing to net weight difficult, cause surface defects and potentially detract from the performance of the finished product. Air Products offers a diverse range of defoamers to meet your formulating needs. Our molecular defoamers, Surfynol® DF-110D, DF-110L, and MD-20and Surfynol® AD01 defoamers, offer defect-free foam control in fountain solutions and printing ink applications. For effective knockdown foam control with excellent sustainability, we offer our organic-based defoamers such as Surfynol DF70 and Surfynol DF75. In the toughest situations, where foam control is critical without causing surface defects, we offer Surfynol DF-66 defoamer and Surfynol DF-695 defoamer, our silicone-based defoamers specifically designed for aqueous ink systems. No matter what your formulating needs, Air Products offers you innovative and flexible sol-utions to the challenges you face.
    Was this helpful?
    + Submit a follow up question
  • Can you recommend surface active agents that are effective in waterborne packaging ink applications where FDA compliance for indirect food contact is desired?
    Jeanine Snyder
    Senior Development

    Whether the substrate is coated paper for candy wrappers or high-slip flexible film for potato chip bags, good flow and leveling is required to achieve desired print results. With a trend towards low to zero VOCs, the choice of the correct surfactant becomes critical. Surfynol® 400 Series surfactants are compliant with the U.S. FDA’s 21 CFR 175.105, 175.300, 176.170 and 176.180 regulations and, thus, are ideal for waterborne packaging ink applications involving indirect food contact. The Surfynol 400 Series consists of four products of varying levels of ethoxylation which offer a broad range of performance. Surfynol 420 surfactant provides the best combination of dynamic wetting and defoaming; Surfynol 440 surfactant offers better surface tension reduction in formulated systems due to its higher solubility and enhanced hydrophilicity; and Surfynol 465 and 485 surfactants are completely miscible in water and can be used in combination with Surfynol 420 surfactant to provide even lower surface tension than the additives used alone. In addition, Surfynol SE-F surfactant also complies with 21 CFR 175.105, 175.300, 176.170 and 176.180 regulations. This product forms a stable emulsion in water at concentrations up to 75% by volume and, therefore, features enhanced ease of use. Surfynol SE-F surfactant will provide excellent wetting without generating foam. Whatever the printing condition or desired performance enhancement of the ink, this acetylenic diol-based surfactant series offers the best combination of wetting and defoaming without negative side effects such as loss in gloss or degradation of polymeric plate material.
    Was this helpful?
    + Submit a follow up question
  • How can I get more color out of my pigment?
    Mike Peck Mike Peck
    Senior Research Chemist

    Pigments can be one of the most expensive components of your waterborne ink formulation. Air Products understands your need to increase your color development and pigment loading, and we have developed a broad line of pigment wetting agents, grind aids and dispersants suitable for a wide range of organic and inorganic pigments to address this challenge. Our proprietary ZetaSperse® and Surfynol® CT-Series additives provide optimal wetting and dispersancy, resulting in a reduced mill-base processing time. These additives are highly efficient when compared to competitive additives, enabling formulators to either use less dispersant or less pigment to achieve formulation cost savings. These additives also enable the stabilization of a high concentration of pigment in water at a low viscosity to achieve a higher throughput and/or a product with a higher pigment loading. The unique properties of our ZetaSperse and Surfynol CT-Series products translate into benefits for the formulator.
    Was this helpful?
    + Submit a follow up question
  • How can I overcome print defects in my low-VOC, water-based ink formulation for non-porous substrates?
    Jeanine Snyder
    Senior Development

    Typically, water-based inks contain 5-10% isopropyl alcohol or other short chain alcohols to reduce ink surface tension and improve wetting over low-energy substrates. However, in order to formulate a low-VOC ink, these high-VOC alcohols must be removed, resulting in the need for a wetting agent. Air Products offers several low-VOC surfactants that facilitate the wetting of non-porous substrates, including Surfynol® 2502, Surfynol® 440 and Dynol™ 604 surfactants, which can easily be incorporated into your water-based ink. All offer low equilibrium and dynamic surface tensions at low use levels, making them excellent choices for use in low-VOC, water-based inks where their exceptional substrate wetting can eliminate print defects on non-porous substrates.
    Was this helpful?
    + Submit a follow up question
  • I am formulating a water-based flexographic ink for film applications can you recommend a good dynamic wetting agent that can also help with foam control?
    Jeanine Snyder
    Senior Development

    Based on Gemini technology, Surfynol® AD01 surfactant gives you the power to solve multiple problems without the cost of using multiple additives. Surfynol AD01 surfactant offers high performance in graphic arts applications including printing inks and overprint varnishes by generating less foam in formulation and application and by improving the flow and leveling of the final print. Low-VOC, solvent-free, low-odor, HAP’s-free and APE-free are just a few of the benefits you can attribute to Surfynol AD01 surfactant. To effectively reduce dynamic surface tension and provide a wide compounding latitude for formulators looking for a high performance surfactant that can both defoam and act as a wetting agent, Surfynol AD01 surfactant is your solution.
    Was this helpful?
    + Submit a follow up question
– Return to top

Submit a Question

Don't see your question asked? Submit your own!

Ask a Question
Fill out the below form and submit a question to Air Products
  1. You must enter a question and have it be less than 150 characters. 150 characters left
  2. First Name is required.
  3. Please enter a valid email address.

Thank you for submission. Your question will be forwarded to one of our experts.

X

This site uses cookies to store information on your computer. Some are essential to make our site work; others help us to better understand our users. By using the site, you consent to the placement of these cookies. Read our Legal Notice to learn more.

Close