running water based ink on a windmill

I’m hoping to find some advice here; I’m running a job year around on one of my windmills. It requires a water based ink for one of the colors. I’m seeing some spotting on the chrome cylinders, but overall they are holding up pretty well. The real problem is on the fountain roll, which is bare metal. I have to use Putz Pomade to keep it clean, which is quite a job. Is there a coating I can apply that will condition/protect that roll?

Log in to reply   10 replies so far

There are several treatments against rust. This one protects from rust up to a year:
But I don’t know if it will affect or interact with the ink.
Maybe people in flexo will know more. I’m not aware any of the heidelbergs rollers are chromed, but chrome is what ultimately is used to protect from corrosion in flexo and gravure.

I am thinking a silicone spray might stop that, but would the ink then actually distribute around the roller——I use something called Dinitrol to add a near permanent coating to bare metal on a proofing press, virtually a “clearcoat” that car restorers use?

bppayne, jonathanjeclipse has some good advice, I would also recommend after cleanup a blast of compressed air
or a fan to thoroughly dry out the fountain and roll. Then an air barrier like light weight oil or Vaseline over night on them as well. I am confused about your water based ink?
The ink vehicle is emulsified water? best james

I have not been here with water based ink and the Heidelberg.
With the Multigraph offset press years ago a coating of Gum Arabic was applied to the water roller. The same stuff was applied to the offset plate after use to keep the air out.
The Gum Arabic is soluble in water. I can’t tell you if it should be washed from the roller before printing, or allowed to come off while printing.

I solved the problem by doing more frequent washups. The gum arabic sounds like a good safe solution, and I may try it in the future. The ink I use is a water-based ink containing FD&C food coloring. Used in food and drug packaging. Thanks for your input all! Forgive me for taking so long to respond.

I solved the problem by doing more frequent washups. The gum arabic sounds like a good safe solution, and I may try it in the future. The ink I use is a water-based ink containing FD&C food coloring. Used in food and drug packaging. Thanks for your input all! Forgive me for taking so long to respond.

I have been retired since 2010 and most of my knowledge is many years older than that, so take this for what it is worth. Also, it is regarding food packaging, not drug packaging.

Are you sure you need water based inks and FD&C colorants? Unless the ink actually comes in contact with the food, there is a good chance that you don’t. And what about the ink vehicle you are putting the FD&C colorants into? Just because it is water base doesn’t necessarily mean it is non-toxic. Also, even if you have FD&C inks, the ink can’t discolor the food (with a very few exceptions like the purple USDA meat inspection stamp which is actually stamped on cuts of meat)..

Since most of the major industrial ink suppliers want to sell inks to the food packaging industry, they have taken the overtly toxic materials (such as heavy metal pigments) out of their inks. These inks are used to print food packaging all the time. But again, they are not used in applications where the inks will come in contact with the food.

Although companies I have worked for have investigated FD&C inks, and the regulations pertaining to them, seldom if ever have we actually had to use them. Also, in the past, and maybe still, these inks have had disadvantages, such as poor lightfastness, bleed resistance, etc.

Here is a link to the successor to the company who we always regarded as the go-to source for FD&C inks.

Regarding the mention of chrome in the posts above as a barrier to water based materials, keep in mind that chrome plating, while great for its hardness, is porous. In order to be water resistant in the long term, the roller base needs to be plated with a water resistant metal like copper first, and then chrome plated. If this is not done, the water will eventually rust the steel roller base and the chrome will blister.

My recommendation when a small business is thinking about getting into food packaging is to stay out of it. If a food product is recalled due to a problem with the inks or coatings you apply, you could end up paying for not only the defective packages but also the food they contain.

I appreciate your comments, especially regarding the chrome/copper coatings. It’s only the non-coated fountain roller that tends to corrode. I’ve been running this order for the last 30+ years. The corrosion problem appeared when I tried to leave ink on the press longer than usual. The solution has been to wash up more often. I’ve been using the Notox the entire time as a pharma application. Colorcon is an excellent ink, but technical support has been iffy, thus my reaching out here.

Thanks for your feedback. Since you have been running the job that long, you have quite a base of knowledge and experience to draw from. All the best to you.

This is not exactly on topic but I will say, though, something that people might do well to keep in the back of their mind. Sometimes, changes in personnel at the customer’s operation can get you in trouble. My last real job was for a company that printed paper cups. In the beginning, a certain customer gave me quite a bit of latitude concerning choice of some colors. One time they said “pick a color which looks nice” for a flower in a floral design, and they liked it fine. Later on, after some people had changed at the customer, I had to change a color slightly in a design to avoid getting new plates made, since the job was on the press (an 8 color flexo press). They rejected the entire run, and as I recall it was for 350,000. So, just because a customer likes it now, doesn’t necessarily mean they will like it a few years from now.

I’m just trying to give BP readers food for thought. If you people can avoid the problems I ran into, my comments will be worthwhile.

Thanks, Geoffrey. I’ve run into similar situations; do I call the customer and get an OK, or is the difference so minor I can just run it. The sign-off is so critical… but I’ve wondered from time to time. Like you mentioned, all it takes is a change in personnel at the client, and they can make you feel like a schmuck.