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How We Approach Ink Formulation

Our customers often seek solutions for printing products and materials that haven’t been printed before. When they do, we’re here to formulate that next new ink that gets the job done.

We look at your printing challenge from all angles to develop an ink that achieves your intended results. That includes factoring in your printing systems, substrates, and other conditions that can affect the jetting, adhesion, durability, sheen, and lightfastness of the ink.


Compatible Substrates

Kao’s lab professionals are familiar with ink formulation requirements for printing on a wide variety of surfaces and materials, including:

  • Acrylics
  • Ceramics & glass
  • Coated or painted parts
  • Formica
  • Leather
  • Rubber
  • Phenolics
  • Polycarbonate
  • Polyester
  • Polyolefins
  • Polystyrene
  • Polyvinyl chloride (PVC)
  • Surlyn
  • Thermoplastic
  • Thermoset Plastic
  • Urethanes
  • Various metals
  • Wood

Our chemists can improve an ink’s performance through the modification of factors and characteristics to meet your specific production requirements. These include:

  • Viscosity and Rheology
  • Surface tension
  • Fluid density
  • Colour properties
  • Penetration
  • Humectants
  • Nanomaterial synthesis


Custom Ink Selection

Our lab can identify the best ink formulation for your printing needs after considering a wide number of factors, including:

  • Substrate
  • Industry
  • Colour
  • Ink type (1 or 2 component or UV)
  • Unique capabilities
  • Adhesion requirements
  • Abrasion requirements
  • Opacity
  • Printing speed
  • Pretreatments
  • Production quantities


Developing New High Performance Inks

At Kao, we help brands print on new and challenging substrates.

Our team of engineers and chemists regularly analyze variations of substrates that may require new ink formulations.  We stay a step ahead. Any printing innovation or change in a substrate may require a new ink formulation, or the modification of an existing ink.

For example, researchers around the world are experimenting with bio-plastics and other new packaging materials to support sustainability and the circular economy. At Kao, we help formulate and manufacture new inks that will support these eco-friendly innovations and move the leading edge of the industry forward.


Adapting to Changing Printing Technology

As ink manufacturers look to improve their printhead performance, inks may need reformulating to achieve optimal printing results and printhead performance. Our engineers and chemists work closely with technology manufacturers and OEMs to support the latest equipment innovations.


Testing and Validating

Whether it’s one of our standard inks or a new formulation, the best way to evaluate an ink’s print performance involves testing the ink on the actual substrate. We also note when changes in the manufacturing of a substrate may change an ink’s performance.


Supporting Commercial & Industrial Printers

Commercial and industrial printing companies can consult with our experts to receive guidance for new innovations or projects, and formulate inks that solve new or unique challenges for printing operations, including:

  • Migrating systems to a new printing technology
  • Colour-matching inks to achieve brand standards
  • Third-party regulatory compliance testing