Differences and features of inks for label printing machines

Differences and features of inks for label printing machines

When choosing a label printing machine, the customer is facing a huge list of different inks with different names, which can often lead to confusion. Let’s try to understand how to choose the right ink for marking goods and what characteristics can be used to identify these inks.


Obviously, printing with black ink on dark surfaces is not the right approach to the task. That is why almost all manufacturers produce colored inks for marking – yellow, white, red, and blue. These inks are called pigmented inks, because a special dye (pigment) is added to their composition. One of the characteristics is that almost all manufacturers require a special version of the marker (with a stirring device), as the pigment in the ink settles over time, which can lead to clogs or a deterioration in print quality. You can also find low pigment inks on the market – they differ in that their dye concentration is lower and they don’t require a special version of the marker. However the print contrast using these inks will be worse.

The base

All inks for label printing machines are produced on the base of some kind of substrate, which influences the subsequent characteristics of the mixture. i.e. there is a certain fluid, which will be about 50-70% of the ink volume and which will set key parameters – drying capacity, penetration (adhesion), safety in contact with the skin, etc. Let’s look at a few examples. Pigment-based marking inks provide excellent adhesion (indelibility) on product, marking by them dries up very fast after application – for 3-5 seconds. However, they cannot be applied to unpackaged food labels, disposable gowns and hospital linens, etc. Water-based inks are the safest, but have great limitations on materials because they have low adhesion. There are also inks based on ethanol, acetone, etc., which have their own characteristics, but are not very common.

Special marking requirements

Depending on the specifics of your production or the requirements of your labels or stickers, special printing inks may be required.

Here are a few examples.
Ultraviolet marking – not visible in normal light, but becomes visible under a UV lamp. One of the most popular methods of anti-counterfeiting.
Another example is that you need to apply the marking to a product where there is significant condensation (for example, after the product has been autoclaved). Obviously, applying conventional inks will smudge the label print. Therefore, many manufacturers are developing special inks for labels with increased adhesion and abrasion resistance.


In summary, we can say that to choose the best ink for the production of labels you need to carefully consider all the features of the production line, the characteristics of the product, the requirements for labeling, etc.
With the right approach and quality label printing preparation, you will get exactly the result you need.