Going for the Pop

Supermarket Shelf

Metallic Ink Optimization 2.0

The objective, when you’re putting metallics on a label or package, is creating an eye-catching “buy me!” message that’s conveyed by the visual pop of metallic inks. But making sure that flash is as compelling as possible can be a challenge when tasked with getting a long run of labels out the door. To learn how to get the best results from your press, inks and anilox rollers, be sure to attend the presentation by Anderson & Vreeland Technology Specialist Kevin Schilling on Monday, May 1 at the FTA Forum conference during Info*Flex, at the Sheraton Grand Phoenix in Arizona.

Kevin Schilling

Kevin Schilling

Schilling’s session is a follow up to his 2014 session in Baltimore about optimizing metallic inks. Since then, Schilling has worked with some 96 variables (substrates, inks, anilox, plates, and more) to take a deeper dive into what you need to know to optimize metallic inks, with brilliance and reflection as the key measurables. Sitting in on this presentation will provide you with a better understanding of how ink selection, anilox roll choice, and plate surface technologies can directly impact the brilliance of metallic inks and which variables can provide the best result.

Some of the things you will learn include:

  • Ink brilliance is dependent on cell depth and how shallower, wider cells can do a better job of transferring metallic inks to the plate. “Deeper cells can choke on the metallic particles,” notes Schilling.
  • Surface screening can have a negative effect on the brilliance of metallic inks. “It’s possible to add too much surface screening and end up with minimal metallic effects,” says Schilling.
  • The flake size of metallics selected should be based on the surface screening of a printing plate. Should you use “corn flakes”, “silver dollars”, or “vacuum metallized particles”? Schilling will explain how to make the right choice, based on the result of tests using flakes ranging from 5 to 20 microns.
  • Learn by testing. Schilling will offer some guidelines for testing and evaluation and encourages press operators to test in the materials they expect to use to make sure they can achieve the desired effect. “Metallics are more expensive than regular inks, so there’s more reason to do testing so you can be sure of the results.

There is no magic bullet for printing metallic inks,” says Schilling, “not one method or technique that guarantees success. You have to run tests on your equipment and learn what will work best for you and your customers. Our research provides a starting point to optimize this for converters so they can improve their own metallic printing.

With metallic inks becoming commonplace on many types of labels and packaging, every press operator should be prepared to run jobs that rely on a metallic “pop” to add eye appeal. These inks behave differently and getting the best results requires some testing and attention to detail. Learn how at Kevin Schilling’s presentation on Monday, May 1 at the FTA Forum conference in Phoenix, Arizona.