The Importance of Using the Right Ink

How many of us were told by our father or grandfather that “Just because it will work, doesn’t mean it's the best tool for the job” when we tried using the wrong hammer or drill bit for whatever we were attempting to fix?



The wisdom behind that advice is relevant not only for fixing things around the house, but also for recommending the right products to your customers for any given application. Your customers rely on your expertise when it comes to many things: replacement pads, special rubber, cleaning agents, and perhaps most importantly… inks. And because inks are such a major part of our industry, it is important to know which ones to recommend for which applications.


Some of the most common questions we receive about inks have to do with industrial applications. Industrial applications, by nature, require tailored ink recommendations due to the unique surfaces and environments involved. As with any product, there are pros and cons to each, depending on what needs to be accomplished.


It is important to remember that not all industrial inks are created equal. Trodat’s Super Marking Ink, for example, works great as a general purpose quick dry ink for common surfaces like coated catalog pages. These inks dry relatively quickly on slick paper, while also staying moist in the pad longer than other, faster drying inks. They also do not damage the stamp as quickly as some more aggressive inks do. On the flip side, these inks can't stand up to harsher environments as well.


For more difficult surfaces, like glass or steel, much heavier bodied inks like Trodat’s Ultra Perm Opaque Ink are required. These inks can better adhere to more “challenging” surfaces and will last much longer in more demanding environments. The tradeoff for these advantages, however, is that these inks tend to dry up more quickly in the pad and are much harsher on stamp dies due to the nature of the ingredients used to withstand such demanding applications.

Likewise, just as there are differences between different industrial inks, there are differences between water-based inks as well, with the main differences being color shades and imprint quality. When it comes to water based inks, it is important to stick with the same ink for re-inking that was originally in the stamp. Water-based stamp inks are designed specifically for the stamps they’re used with for optimum results.


For example, MaxLight Premium and Forever inks are designed to be used with MaxLight and PSI pre-inked stamps, while Trodat branded inks are formulated to work in conjunction with our pads and laser rubber to achieve the best impressions possible. By using a different ink than what you started with, there will be a difference in color and performance that your customers will notice.


Before recommending anything, it is important to first obtain as much information about the application as possible. Be sure to ask questions such as: What is being stamped on? Are there any special certifications required (Mil-Spec, USDA, etc...)? What environment will the ink be used in? Is this a one-time project or is it ongoing? The answers will help you determine which ink or inks to recommend.


Like any good advice, it only works if it is actually followed, and making sure you’re using the best tool for the job is good advice. Knowing which stamp inks are the best to use for any given application can sometimes be confusing, especially with the numerous options available. Don’t turn business away because you are unsure of what ink your customers need (or any product for that matter). Never hesitate to ask us if you’re unsure about which ink to recommend. Let’s work together to give your customers the right tool for the job!


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