Performance on Press
Beyond health issues, what are the attributes and considerations with regard to soy inks?
Soy inks spread 15 percent further than petroleum-based inks. Their vehicle (the oil) is clearer, so less ink is needed, and the colors actually are brighter as well. The need for less ink offsets its slightly higher cost, which is about 10 percent higher than petroleum-based ink. However, as with all products, all soy inks are not created equal. Ask your print suppliers if they have tested inks from different companies on press, tried them with various printing processes, techniques and paper stocks to determine which inks work best.
Soy inks can be used more easily on older equipment, since they are more forgiving (more tolerant of varied press conditions). It is also less work to change from a dark-colored ink to a light-colored ink on press. In addition, printing soy inks reduces paper waste, lowering the overall paper cost for a job.
Make-ready times, overall appearance and clean-up times for soy-based inks are at least as good or better than petroleum-based inks. And soy inks require no equipment changes and hence no capital outlays. The operating conditions required for soy-ink, such as temperature and press speed, are the same as for petroleum ink.
With their environmental benefits and performance on press, soy-based inks are proving to be a viable alternative to petroleum-based inks.
Steven Waxman is a printing consultant. He teaches corporations how to save money buying printing; brokers printing services; and teaches prepress printing techniques. He can be reached by e-mail at email@example.com.