Worth knowing about printer ink: What does it actually consist of?

If you want to buy a printer, you can basically differentiate between a number of different printer inks. Whether the printer ink comes from the original or third-party vendor, all printer inks must match in one point. The ink should not dry in the inkjet printer, but should dry on the paper as quickly as possible, so that printed material does not get blurred. What needs to be paid attention to the printer and especially the ink, the following guide shows.

The basics of printer ink

Anyone who has ever dealt with the purchase of printer ink, will have found that manufacturers advertise with a variety of properties. Some companies offer printing inks that are UV resistant, while other manufacturers promise best quality for photographs.

In principle, all printer inks are provided with similar basic agents. Printing ink therefore basically consists of water, glycerine and dyes. While the water is necessary for its liquid properties, glycerin is used to prevent the paint from accidentally dissolving. Dyes then provide the necessary colors that are used in an inkjet printer.

Apart from these core reagents, manufacturers of printers or third-party suppliers of printer inks use many more products that are used to fine-tune the properties of ink cartridges.

Important to note: printer ink is only ever used for inkjet printers - in this case, cartridges are used. Laser printers use toners in which the color is stored in the form of powder.

The properties of a printer ink

In addition to the various additions, manufacturers and users also make certain demands on the inks used by the printer. The better the properties, the better and more accurate the ink can be put on the print medium. A printer's ink must be able to score in at least three different categories. For example, a printer's ink depends on the physical properties, the printing properties and the health properties.

For example, in the sector of physical properties, points such as viscosity or particle size fall. The viscosity indicates the factor of how liquid an ink is. The ink should not be too fluid to avoid blurring, but it should not be too hard to get out of the printhead. For example, the particle size defines whether an ink has UV resistance. The printing properties determined the print quality.

For example, the precision with which the ink can be applied to the paper falls within this range.
The health points determine if a printer's ink is toxic or if it is highly flammable. Manufacturers must pay close attention to and check all these points so that the customer receives a good product at the end.

The different printer inks

The range of printers lists a wide variety of devices. On the one hand, there are the printers, which are used primarily for texts - on the other hand, there are also the printers, which are used specifically for photographs. Depending on the model, different printer ink variants are used.

  • The pigmented printer ink: This type of printer ink is a specially treated printer ink that is especially popular when printing texts or photographs. The printer ink can be purchased non-pigmented and pigmented. For a non-pigmented ink, the molecules of the paint are generally very unstable. This means that they can bleach just when UV light occurs. In addition, non-pigmented colors are easier to solve, which is undesirable when printing text documents and photos. For this reason, the pigmented printing inks are among the higher quality ink cartridges for printing texts.

The color molecules inside float in the carrier liquid and are of such size that they can not dissolve when exposed to UV radiation. This allows users to leave the printed documents in the sun without fading. However, non-pigmented printing inks can be a greater advantage in other areas.

  • The non-pigmented printer ink: In a non-pigmented printer ink, customers receive the so-called dye ink. The ink of a dye cartridge is generally water-soluble, which is why the ink can bleach in the sun by UV radiation. Compared to a pigmented printer ink, the molecules are 70 to 100 times smaller, so bleaching can not be prevented. However, the color pigments can spread much better on the paper due to the smaller molecular size.

The dyes are dissolved in the carrier liquid and can thus represent colors very clearly and precisely. The transitions between the colors are always better with a dye ink than is the case with a pigmented ink. The quality of the paint is also higher - the colors are brighter and more intense in direct comparison.

  • Mixed printer ink: The mixed printer ink is often sold as a semi-pigmented paint. It is a mixture of water-soluble ink and pigmented ink. Important to know: The proportion of pigmented dyes is usually lower than the proportion of non-pigmented color. Due to the low addition of pigmented dyes manufacturers may use the prefix "pigmented", but have the great advantage that the production costs are much lower.

However, the semi-pigmented color cartridges never reach the quality of a full-pigmented color cartridge. There is no UV protection.

The special ink for textile fabrics

In addition to the non-pigmented and pigmented ink types, there are also the so-called Inktec textile ink types. This printer ink is used for direct printing on textiles. Textiles have the peculiarity that they are exposed to other influences. Thus, a T-shirt is repeatedly influenced by detergent or bleach. A normal ink would fade completely after only a few washes. The textile ink gets deeply into the respective fabric and hooks itself firmly. Thus, the color does not fade even after several washes.

A special feature: The textile ink can render colors very bright and strong - similar to the non-pigmented color in normal paper printing.

Variety of printer ink

  • Non-pigmented paint is water soluble and colourfast - is often used for photographs.
  • Pigmented colors are UV-resistant and are often used for text prints.
  • Inkjet textile ink is used for textile printing because of its chemical resistance.

Refill printer ink

In general, the manufacturers wish that the ink inside the cartridges would not be filled up, but that the cartridge would be replaced by a new cartridge. This increases the profitability of the respective manufacturer. However, the cartridges of the inkjet printer can be easily filled, if the color should tilt once the end. The paint can be completely refilled between 3 and 5 times, which is referred to as a refill service by some manufacturers or companies. A refill cartridge is always a used cartridge, but it was completely refilled and tested.