This image shows a printed poly bag with water based inks used to print the image on the bag
June 11, 2018 Printing No Comments

Water based inks have been part of our printing process for five plus years.  Using water based ink as an alternative to solvent based inks was born out of an attempt to limit our manufacturing environmental impact and to comply with government regulations.

When water based inks were first developed, they carried a less vibrant color print reputation. Over the years of ink development, that reputation has been proven wrong as water based inks have proven to show every bit the print quality of solvent based inks.

Water based inks tend to be  less forgiving in the manufacturing and clean-up process but have a clear environmental advantage over solvent based inks.  Water based inks emit very low to no VOC’s (Volatile Organic compounds air-borne pollutants) in production.   With solvent based inks, VOC’s  must be burned off thru an oxidizer prior to emitting into the atmosphere.   The fumes from solvent inks are in and around print presses and require the additional energy to run the oxidizer.  Water based inks have no noticeable fumes and do not require the added burn-off step.

Water based inks are common for absorbent substrates (examples include paper and corrugated).  Water based ink are not common for polyethylene printers.  The non-absorbent nature of polyethylene makes it more challenging to run water based inks.   The inks have nothing to absorb into hence making them more difficult to dry.  Our water based inks are acrylic based ink that uses water for viscosity control and ammonia for pH control.  The amines in the ink are flashed off when going through our drying system which is what (dries) the ink.  In the end, the finished product shows no difference in one ink versus the other.

Wikoff ( and INX ( are our main ink suppliers.

Thanks for reading!

Written by Trent Romer