Wood Block Printing

Written by Patricia Tunstall
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Wood block printing poses special problems for inkjet systems and inkjet ink. As a somewhat porous substrate, most wood products take an ink that is water-based, so drying is through absorption. Because wood products are usually exposed to moisture, sun, and the elements, ordinary ink formulations would not leave permanent marks.

Labels are also inadequate because they would tear or disintegrate in water. There are special lightfast inks, however, that offer permanent wood block printing for various wood products. With low bleed, and the production of consistent dot patterns, these no-clog inks imprint readable codes and product identification information on moldings, plywood, panel board, pressed wood, and other lumber.

Permanent Wood Block Printing

These lightfast inks make possible permanent coding of wood products with lot numbers and the manufacturer's name, along with any other distinguishing markings that are necessary. Zero ohm water is the basis for quality porous, drop-on-demand (DOD) inks. Because minerals, electrons, and other components of the molecules of this water have been removed, the molecules seek to bond with other molecules. Ultimately, when dyes and resins are added, the result is a new chemical formulation.

When the requisite properties are combined, lightfast ink is the product, and it is used in wood block printing or on any other substrate that may react adversely to moisture and sun: roofing materials, siding, or insulation. With an immediate to two-second absorption time (dry time), the ink is sprayed on with large character inkjet systems. Production line operations remain fast, as application time is minimal.

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