May '14

For the Business of Apparel Decorating

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86 | Printwear M ay 20 1 4 20 1 4 M ay Printwear | 87 W hat do you like about the ink you are using? There are a multitude of reasons that printers express when answering that question. More often than not, these responses are very general: "I like the look," or "I like the performance," and "I like the price." When creating a quality ink, ink manu- facturers have a method to their madness. Using "performance factors" to measure the overall quality and value of the prod- uct, they are able to show the true worth of the ink in a real-world environment. Screen printers can use these same points of performance when choosing or evalu- ating a product for their own production. Aesthetics The nicer the look and feel of the final print, the more impressed the customer will be with the overall experience. Quality printing can command a better price, but even if there is little room for an up-charge, the very least it can do is ensure a reorder or repeat business. Quality secures loyalty. RegulAtions & compliAnce Beyond broad scale legislation or regionally-enforced compli- ance regulations, many custom- ers also require that inks meet individual Restricted Substance List (RSL) standards, which is a list of substances that may exist in raw materials that the end-us- er would reject if detected in an embellished garment. This term also covers any regulatory or preferential list of unwanted chemistries within a mix. If the product is in com- pliance with the most stringent RSLs, the printer can participate in markets that require these re- strictions. The value is in the ex- panded market possibilities. peRfoRmAnce in the Bucket This factor is very important to the ink department. Ink techs Ink Evaluation Ray Smith has been in the screen-printing industry since 1978. He has been involved as an art director, production manager, plant manager and business owner. He re-joined Wilflex in 2008 as the applications lab manager and is charged with benchmarking prod- ucts, investigating ink inquiries and testing new inks and applications. Contact him at The aesthetics of an ink are a sign of its quality. Quality printing can command a better price, or at least encourage reorders. (all images courtesy Wilflex/PolyOne) b y R a y S m i t h PW_MAY14.indd 86 4/17/14 11:23 AM

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