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What Is Aqueous Coating or Ink?

Aqueous ink or coatings use water as the carrier for the colorant. When the water evaporates, the nontoxic passive elements of the ink remain, adding color to the paper or other surface being printed.

There are actually two types of aqueous ink — aqueous dye ink and aqueous pigment ink. Aqueous dye ink uses water as the carrier and dye as the colorant, while aqueous pigment ink uses water for the carrier and pigment for the colorant. 

Aqueous dye ink is made with organic colorants and has higher levels of transparency and brightness. This is a great option for specialty inkjet coated paper. Pigment colorant in aqueous pigment dye is insoluble. This can result in a very pure color on primed porous surfaces. Aqueous pigment colorant can also be used on treated non-porous surfaces. 

Aqueous ink can be used for textiles and in high-speed inkjet, large-format and wide-format printing. Let’s take a closer look at whether this ink is right for your next project. 

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What Are the Benefits of Aqueous Coatings and Printing Inks?

Aqueous ink has several advantages: 

  • It’s safe for use in most offices and eco-friendly. This ink doesn’t contain volatile organic compounds (VOCs) or other dangerous solvents. It can be recycled in many cases, too. 
  • It creates high-quality prints. Aqueous printer ink can make very small dots of color and vibrant colors. It can create sharp lines and fine details, making it a good solution for high-resolution printing projects. 
  • It’s versatile. This ink can print on fabric, cardboard, paper and other porous materials. It can be used with or without primer. If you treat non-porous materials such as metal and plastic so they can accept water-based inks, you can also use aqueous ink on those surfaces. 
  • It’s cost-effective. Since water is the largest component of aqueous inks, they tend to be cost-effective. Of the two varieties, aqueous dye ink tends to cost less than aqueous pigment ink.

Aqueous ink is best for indoor applications or short-term outdoor applications. For more durability, you can apply laminate or a protective coating after printing. Magnum Inks & Coatings, for example, has developed a line of aqueous coatings for use over lithographic inks. These coatings dry quickly and are available in a variety of finishes, including Matte, Gloss, Satin, Soft Feel and Low Curl.

When using aqueous printer ink, do account for drying time. For best results, leave the final printed material to cure to make sure the water in the ink can evaporate properly and the pigment or dye has a chance to adhere to the substrate. 

What Is Aqueous Ink Used For?

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Aqueous ink is a versatile solution with many applications:

  • Laminate: You can print on décor paper designed to be used with lamination processes.
  • Packaging: Aqueous ink is a good option for carboard boxes, corrugated cartons, envelopes and other packages. You can use the ink’s bright colors and sharp lines to create eye-catching, colorful images to attract customers. 
  • Documents: Aqueous ink creates sharp images and text on documents. It’s a good option for letters, contracts, material to be archived and other documents. 
  • Specialty jobs: You can use aqueous ink on wallpapers, fabrics, textiles and other porous materials as part of a product launch or for indoor décor, fashion and other uses. 

Magnum Inks & Coatings Helps You Find the Right Ink

Magnum Inks & Coatings is part of Magnum Manufacturing, a top Ohio company that also includes Magnum Tapes & Films and Magnum Magnetics. When you partner with Magnum Inks & Coatings, you’re working with a company committed to high-quality inks, custom solutions and excellent customer service.

Whether you’re looking for quality aqueous ink or aren’t sure what ink would be right for your project, contact us. We’re here to help.