What You Should Know About Printing Ink Drying Time

Has your printer ever called you to say your job will be a day late because it is taking longer than expected for the ink to dry? What should you know about ink drying time to help you plan your printing schedule?

First of all, understand that your printer is making a reasonable request. It is prudent to let ink dry before folding a job to avoid streaking or “offsetting,” in which wet ink smears or transfers from one sheet to an adjacent sheet. Some inks dry faster than others, as do some substrates such as synthetic and plastic papers.

Heavy ink coverage (solids and bleeds) on uncoated paper or matte stock take longer to dry, particularly if the ink mixture includes any reflex blue. A print job also dries more slowly on a humid day.

If you have taken all this into consideration when scheduling your job, you can understand and accept your printer’s request for more time. If a quick turn-around is needed, you should choose colors other than blues and purples, and/or choose a gloss sheet as a substrate.

If these options are not appropriate in your case, you could ask your printer to coat your job with a varnish or aqueous coating. These coatings cover the ink as it cures, minimizing scuffing and allowing your job to progress through the printing plant more quickly.

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