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printech, September, 2003
Re: Printing Ink Solvents

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From: Gary Jones ( gjonesprinting@aol.com)
Date: Tue, 16 Sep 2003 10:11:30

The use of solvents in inks depends upon several factors including the type of ink (e.g., litho, flexo, gravure, screen), resin system, and substrate. Usually, the solvents are used as a blend and not as a single component. Below is a list of common solvents (there are others used) found in the different inks:

Gravure food packaging - ethanol, isopropyl alcohol, ethyl acetate, isopropyl acetate, acetone, methyl ethyl ketone, some aliphatic hydrocarbons (mineral spirits or naphtha), and perhaps certain glycol ethers to slow drying.

Gravure publication - Toluene (This is the only used in the US.)

Flexo - ethanol, isopropyl alcohol, n-propyl alcohol, ethyl, isopropyl, and normal propyl acetates, propylene glycol mono ethyl ether and propylene glycol mono methyl ether, aliphatic and aromatic hydrocarbons (mineral spirits, naphtha, toluene, xylene), or ketone solvents (acetone, methyl ethyl ketone, methyl isobutyl ketone).

Litho - long chain high boiling aliphatic hydrocarbons (C12-C17 chain length)

Screen - propylene glycol ethers, aromatic and/or aliphatic hydrocarbons

Ink jet - methanol, acetone, and methyl ethyl ketone

It is important to understand that this list is not all inclusive. There can be other solvents used in these ink systems, especially the solvent-based gravure, flexo, and screen inks.

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