IMPROVING INK FORMULATIONS

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IMPROVING INK FORMULATIONS

 user 2006-02-01 at 11:05:00 am Views: 42
  • #14174

    Improving Ink Formulations One Stage at a Time
    Robotic Viscometer Aids in the Effort
    The
    expansion of the ink jet and other specialty print markets has driven
    demand for improved inks. One leading ink producer found itself facing
    the combined challenge of producing new and innovative products while
    lowering material and production costs.
    This ink maker was
    interested in improving formulations in both dye and solvent-based inks
    up to 50 cP in viscosity. They needed to be able to evaluate hundreds
    of small samples a day with an appropriate accuracy and repeatability
    to support their efforts in screening and developing new ink
    formulations.
    Multi-Stage Formulation Approach
    New product
    development is more and more a numbers game. Winning products will be
    developed by those that sort through the alternatives most efficiently
    and effectively. Many users are gravitating to a multi-phase approach,
    which places different demands on instrumentation.
    First Stage:
    High
    throughput screening is used as a first cut to identify significant
    differences in the desired product parameters. Detailed analysis on all
    possible formulations is impractical. Screenings use a minimum number
    of tests enhanced by sophisticated statistical tools to speed the
    process. At this stage, the accuracy of the instrument used is
    typically not as critical as appropriate evidence of the targeted
    characteristic, the sample usage, and throughput time.
    Second Stage:
    Once
    the number of potential formulations-from thousands to a few hundred-is
    identified, a next level of analysis is necessary. Candidate
    formulations undergo more detailed tests in this stage, which require
    larger sample sizes and more precise performance analysis. Despite the
    improved performance characterization, 80% to 90% of the formulations
    will not make it out of this stage. Controlling the time spent
    examining each of these leads is essential. In this stage, a test
    accuracy of 2% to 3% provides enough sensitivity to identify the best
    formulations, and often tests are performed in replicate to estimate
    repeatability to guard against errors.
    Liquid handler with 60-sample rack
    Third Stage:
    The
    third level of high throughput screening frequently involves the final
    10 to 15 formulations. These finalists are scrutinized in detailed
    evaluations for the desired performance characteristics. The goal of
    this testing is to determine if any one of the samples should be
    recommended for further development or pilot production. Primary
    analysis concerns for measurements at this stage are accuracy and
    repeatability, while test time and sample size are less significant.
    Ink Maker’s Choice of Robotic Viscometers
    “Cambridge
    Applied’s VISCObot proved to be the best option for us out of three
    tested systems. We were pleased not only with the general performance
    but also the robustness of the instrument and its user-friendly
    interface,” concluded the evaluating engineer.  
    VISCObot with 40-mL to 15-mL Vials
    Important characteristics of the VISCObot include:
    •Unattended operation with high throughput of &lt5 minutes (including sampling, measuring and cleaning)
    •The freeing up of lab technician hours, saving money in each step of a viscosity test
    •The
    elimination of operator dependence, making the results systematically
    repeatable, statistically verified and therefore more robust for
    meeting continuous improvement objectives
    •Acceptable accuracy of ۬%
    of reading for inks with viscosities of up to 15 cP and ۭ.5% for fluid
    viscosities ranging from 15 cP to 50 cP, including UV curable inks
    •A sample size of only 5 mL is required for fluids of 2 cP to 50 cP
    •Works effectively with water as well as various solvents including MEK
    •The sampler accepts trays of up to 100 samples and can be adjusted to different sampling bottles or tray layouts