Domino Printing Sciences has received top marks during independent tests on its latest water-based BK651 black ink for Thermal Ink Jet (TIJ) applications which was developed specifically to withstand the rigours of the pharmaceutical market.
Domino's BK651 black ink has been awarded a grade A through to Blue Wool 4 during independent testing and evaluations on printed samples of the ink to establish its performance and light-fastness, undertaken by international packaging, paper and print industry specialists PIRA International.
Samples of 2D data matrix codes printed by Domino's BK651 ink were tested against samples produced using other market leading inks to assess fading characteristics. Both of these samples were incrementally exposed to a filtered Xenon arc light source to Blue Wool 5 in compliance with ISO 105-B02.
This is considered to represent the worst case lighting that is likely to occur in a retail environment. After each exposure, the legibility of the data matrix code was assessed and a measurement of the colour difference was taken relative to unexposed print samples.
The results concluded that of the samples provided to PIRA, Domino's BK651 water-based black ink maintained a grade A through to Blue Wool 4 and softened to a grade B at Blue Wool 5. This compared to the ink from a leading competitor, of which the samples supplied achieved consistently lower results by attaining a grade B throughout and a significantly lower grade D for the final Blue Wool exposure.
"Printed samples of Domino's BK651 ink were tested to PIRA's high standards through the Blue Wool Scale and the results were very reassuring," Chris Berry, senior scientist at PIRA International said.
"When testing light fastness, exposure to a filtered xenon arc light can have a large effect on 2D datamatrix code legibility, resulting in rapid fading of a printed code.
With this in mind, Domino's BK651samples performed much better than those of a leading competitor ink, reaching two grades higher at the same Blue Wool reference. This illustrates just how well the ink is likely to perform in the environment it is used in and subsequently means it is well suited to the pharmaceutical industry's high quality standards.'
"Domino's BK651 ink for TIJ applications was developed with the pharmaceutical industry in mind," Julie Cross, ink development manager, Drop On Demand Inks, Domino said
"The fast drying and decap times, and high contrast codes achievable when using this ink has resulted in it being the number one choice for Thermal Ink jet applications when printing onto carton board and similar substrates."
Typically, packaged medicines and healthcare products within the Pharmaceutical industry have to withstand significant wear, from being stored in distribution hubs for periods of anything between five and 24 months, or being subject to the stresses of global transportation.
At the end of these processes, it's vital that the product codes are still readable and confirm to the top quality Grade A for light fastness.
Craig Stobie, life sciences manager at Domino Printing Sciences is only too aware of the need for testing and verifying inks that will be used in the pharmaceutical sector.
"As the EU continues to contemplate requirements for its Falsified Medicines Directive (FMD), which will become legislation from 2013, what we do know is that product identification and traceability codes will be key," Stobie said.
"These inks will need to maintain their quality ensuring consistent readability of codes throughout their lifecycle; from manufacture through to patient usage.
"As Domino continues to formulate new and unique inks for the coding and marking industry, there is in place an ongoing rigorous process of verification and validation checks to prove that the performance of any new ink measures up to the highest standards required, delivering the most robust ink available."
With Domino inks, you can be rest assured that they are developed with not only the substrate in mind, but the whole environment they will be exposed to.