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Ask Dr. B!

Posted Tuesday, December 30, 2014 by Mark Bohan.

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One of the benefits of membership is the technical expertise provided by Printing Industries of America. Each month, Dr. Mark Bohan, Printing Industries’ Vice President, Technology and Research, discusses common production problems and issues. Dr. Bohan is responsible for the Center for Technology and Research, Environmental, Health and Safety; consulting, on-site technical assistance; technology training; and simulators. He oversees technical research, including technology and product assessments, process controls, contract research, and laboratory services..

Why should I monitor fountain solution pH?

Fountain solution pH is important as it is an indicator of properly mixed concentrate and can indicate unknown contaminates. A pH below 4.0 can interfere with ink driers. Measure the pH of freshly mixed fountain solution and when you normally change the fountain solution. There is a pH range that would be considered normal for your press.

What is the recommended temperature of a delivery pile on a press with an IR dryer?

Generally speaking, 85–90 degrees Fahrenheit. Above 90 degrees some ink resins can soften and cause setoff or blocking. Be certain that the inks are recommended for use with IR dryers. With drying, more is not always better.

What is a dyne level?

Dyne level is a number expressing the surface energy of the substrate, most commonly used with non-porous materials such as plastics. Recommendations are typically 40–50 dyne for conventional inks and even higher for UV inks. Too low a dyne level can affect ink adhesion and the ability of the ink film to lie in an even layer.

Printing Industries Resource:
Offering unbiased and confidential results, Printing Industries of America provides a range of testing and laboratory services to help solve printing-related problems. For more information, please contact Dr. Mark Bohan at 800-910-4283, ext. 782, visit (click “Research and Consulting”), or email