Troubleshooting I Insufficient Drying of Water Based Coatings

The challenges of insufficient water based coatings drying

The drying behaviour of printing inks and coatings plays a major role in printing and further processing. If inks and coatings are not sufficiently dry, ink set-off or blocking of sheets in the pile may be the result. Also, colour abrasion and scratches are possible. A trouble-free further processing of the printed product cannot be guaranteed. Water based coatings (also called dispersion coatings) dry physically by means of the absorption of the coating into the substrate and the evaporation of water. This drying is achieved through hot air and infrared. With the drying, water is extracted from the coating. Polymer particles cross link with each other and form the coating film.

Solving insufficient drying of water based coatings

S​​tep by Step

1. Increase your dryer performance

The optimal setting of the dryer is individual (IR and hot air). Temperature in your pile should not exceed 35°C. Consider a sufficient airing also during the drying process. The dryer’s air contains water after a longer production period (humidity). If this water comes into contact with the printed sheets, inks and coatings may become wet again (laundry effect).

2. Check your water/ink balance

If too much fountain solution emulsifies into the printing inks (>25%), drying is slowed down. In this case reduce your fountain solution. If inks are emulsified, clean your printing press and adjust your settings.

3. Reduce your ink application

A high application of inks slows down drying. If possible, reduce your ink application. Also, the ink type affects drying time. Fresh, low odour or migration less inks normally dry more slowly than oxidization drying inks. Choose faster inks if needed.

4. Is another substrate possible?

Drying time also depends on the type of substrate. Choose a substrate with a faster penetration behaviour if requested.

Your checklist

Influence factor: Dryer
Measure: Increase performance, clean, change if necessary

Influence factor: Fountain solution
Measure: Use less fountain solution

Influence factor: Printing press
Measure: Reduce ink covarage

Influence factor: Substrate
Measure: Choose a substrate with a faster penetration behaviour


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