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Basic Flash Troubleshooting - Part 3: Long Ink Migration Times

Updated: Apr 22, 2021

In flash production terminology, “migration time” refers to the amount of time it takes for ink to saturate a flashed pre-inked stamp cartridge. And while migration time does vary depending on the type of ink you’re using, there is an “acceptable” window, and anything that takes noticeably longer can hint at a potential production hiccup. The good news is, is that this issue is rare and generally easy to solve, but it will require some help from you.

So, what are the causes of longer than acceptable ink migration times?

Using the Wrong Ink - Trodat flash stamps are designed to be used with a specific type of ink. Using ink other than what is recommended can drastically increase migration times, or even worse, can cause the ink to not migrate at all.

Also, if you intended to use MaxLight Forever Ink, but used MaxLight Premium Ink by mistake, your times will definitely increase. Generally, MaxLight Forever Ink takes about 30 minutes to migrate, while it takes 60 minutes for MaxLight Premium Ink due to its thicker nature. Long story short, always make sure you’re using the correct ink.

Improper Ink Load - Trodat MaxLight and PSI pre-inked stamps are designed to be produced using a specific amount of ink. Using less ink than the required amount will cause migration times to increase, sometimes drastically so, making your production take much, much longer than it should. If you are not sure of the proper ink load you should be using, contact your Trodat Sales Representative for guidance.

Ink Temperature - Flash inks are sensitive to changes in ambient temperature. A simple 10 degree change can cause the migration times to spike. When the temperature goes down, the ink will thicken up, making it harder to travel through the pores of the foam. Subsequently, if the temperature goes up, the ink will thin out and travel easier. This is why we see complaints about migration times increase in the winter months. Keeping your ink at a consistent room temperature (usually around 75 degrees) will help eliminate this problem.

Bad Batch of Foam or Ink - Trodat places a high value on quality control in our production facilities. We take pride in providing a consistent product, order after order. But, from time to time, a bad batch of foam or ink can sneak out. Sometimes trouble shooting an ink migration issue is as simple as trying foam or ink from a different batch of stock to see if that was the issue.

Providing a quality pre-inked flash product to your customers is job one, but producing those products takes time, and when running a business, time is money. Lags in flash production caused by longer than usual ink migration times are frustrating, but the fix is usually pretty straightforward. Knowing what to look for will help you and your Trodat technician solve an issue if it does occur.


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