Educational: How Do They Make Ink?

Pigments

Ink is created from a variety of dyes and oils that come from several sources that are formulated to suit a specific purpose. For instance, black ink is made from carbon black exclusively for use as a dye, but other pigments are used to produce virtually every color of the rainbow that you find in printing nowadays.  Some inks include resins to help keep the pigments bound together and to make them suitable for printing on specific surfaces.

One crucial part of the process for making black ink is wetting the carbon black during the premixing process. After that, any pigment that is necessary is added to the oil to create the desired viscosity, which affects how the fluid flows in the printing process. The goal of this process is to create inks that provide the ideal dispersion onto whatever material is being printed on. There are several configurations performed by machines that can alter the mixing and flow options for printing.

Premixing is necessary to ensure no trapped air is left in the ink formulation. High-speed dispersers are used to premix inks. Once the premix is taken through the disperser, it is mixed more and then additional oil and/or resin is added to achieve the ideal milling viscosity, also known as the mill base. The ink pigment is run through a chamber that creates smaller particle sizes, which is determined by the dispersion requirements.

After that, the ink pigment endures a variety of filtration steps used to eliminate large particulates in case any metal is left behind from the milling process. The tiniest of metal pieces can be filtered through an electromagnetic filter designed to grab metal fragments.

Once all metal fragments are eliminated, the pigment is pumped into a letdown tank to make final adjustments to the ink. This is done to meet the needs of customers with specific printing needs.

Color inks are processed differently than black inks. Flushed pigments are used instead of dry pigments like carbon black.

The final stage of manufacturing color pigments involves filtering the water-based mixture that is then put in a concentrated form called a presscake. The presscake is mixed with an oil-based varnish to extract extraneous water from the pigment. That process uses a heating and vacuuming action.

Why do they flush pigments? They put color pigments through a flushing process so that the pigments will be dispersed evenly throughout the ink medium. Flushing also helps manufacturers avoid expending the high-energy use that comes from using milling machines. The raw materials like oils, extenders, and varnishes must be thoroughly mixed at a consistent temperature to prevent pigment deterioration in the process.

After the mixing is done, the ink is tested for quality to ensure it meets all the requirements. Then it goes through a series of filtration processes to remove oversized particles just like what is done for black ink that removes metal particles. Sometimes oversized particles stay behind due to the processes the color ink goes through, and those particles must be removed. After that final process is complete, the ink is shipped to its respective customers for their use.

These are the basics steps taken in the manufacturing of black and color ink. While there are other technologies some manufacturers use in addition to these, the basics remain intact in the manufacturing of ink.

 

Article by Needham Ink

10 Brilliant Laser Applications

Laser engraving stone slate

How many times do your friends use the Doctor Evil voice when talking about “lasers”? It seems you can’t bring it up without someone relating it to Austin Power’s movie quotes. While Dr. Evil had evil intentions for his laser technology, it has practical and functional uses in the real world, here on Earth.

The following will discuss 10 not-so-evil laser applications.

 

Wood

Wood engraving is a centuries-old craft. It was performed by highly-skilled craftsmen and hand tools. Today, anyone with a little tech knowledge can engrave beautiful crafts using a laser system.

Plastic

Plastic is a most common laser engraving application. Words, names, numbers, barcodes, and other such text are imprinted on plastic.

Crystal & Glass

Glass etching used to require a sandblaster and a craftsman with a steady hand and mad skills. Nowadays, instead of being a manual process, you can program your laser machine to etch on glass or crystal without all that work. Not only is this process more efficient and precise today, it’s more cost-effective.

Gold

Gold, while one of the most precious and valuable of metals is hard to work with because of its malleability. Experienced jewelers that regularly engrave on gold take many precautions to avoid damaging the gold and decreasing its value. Laser technology allows them to perform this task with the highest precision and accuracy while keeping material loss down to a minimum.

Aluminum

Aluminum is another popular material used for laser engraving. Jewelry, smartphone cases, and mementos made from aluminum can be engraved using laser systems. That’s where all those intricate designs and details come from on phone cases and covers.

Slate & Stone

Chisels and hammers were used to engrave on stone and slabs of rock way back in the day. Sometimes, the stone craftsmen had to start over with another slab because the rock cracked. Laser technology took these problems out of the engraving process. Modern laser systems can be programed to engrave on various types of slate and stone.

Anodized Metal

Anodized metal is a very hard surface upon which to etch. It’s designed to resist mechanical force and corrosion through treatments to make it durable and long-lasting. Laser technology can be programed to etch on this tough metal without compromising its traits that make it so durable.

Metal

Metal is a dense substance that requires more force to engrave. However, you can’t tell the difference between what is engraved on a dense plastic and metal items. Names, barcodes, words, and other text are engraved on metal just like plastic, only at a higher power level.

Engineering and Tools

Engraving on engineering instruments and tools must be precise and accurate. Their very purpose for measuring and precision dictates that fact. Laser engraving is the most accurate and precise method for engraving on tools without affecting the implement’s integrity.

Electronic Components

Computer motherboards and chips are beyond fragile components. Just a miniscule scratch will affect whether these components work or not. A tiny mistake renders these components useless. The refined process of laser technology etches on electronic components of all types with exact accuracy and precision without compromising the component.

 

Article crafted by Needham Coding

Dell’s New Virtual Arm

Dell-VMware-acquisition

Dell has never been one to shy away from making bold moves.  The computer hardware giant basically rewrote the rules when it came for businesses and even individual consumers to purchase new devices.  Its long time standing CEO, Michael Dell, basically built the company from the ground up and in the middle of the Lone Star state no less.  As the years rolled on and the adoption of computers began its sharp incline throughout the world the company grew and grew.  At one point, Dell employed more than 100,000 people across the globe.  Dell was instrumental in bringing computers to the masses and gave corporations a convenient way to refresh their machines.  Partnering with the likes of Microsoft, they were able to deliver fully built devices that were ready to be powered on and hit the ground running.

 

With the success of the PC hardware sales, Dell soon expanded into servers, network switches and storage devices in the mid 1990’s.  For several years Dell PowerEdge servers, loaded with Windows NT, dominated the marketplace.  More cost efficient than its closest competitors, the PowerEdge was the go to server solution for many companies throughout its reign.  Fast forward a decade or so and Dell (along with its partner Microsoft) were faced with an upstart from the northeast.

 

On its own VMware, regarded as the best virtual server provider in its time, was a force to be reckoned with.  It made the biggest splash just as the virtual server sector was in its infancy.  Its solutions were elegant, simple and easily adapted to the systems and strategies of many a corporation.  The whole IT industry was abuzz when EMC2, a prominent server builder from New England, acquired VMware in 2007.  This made EMC into a server powerhouse and was quickly put on Dell’s radar.

 

For almost a decade the two companies enjoyed a friendly rivalry in the server and virtual server space (at this point Microsoft launched their own, albeit floundering, virtual server solution).  This continued until August of 2016, when a momentous occasion took place, Dell and EMC merged.  Some in the industry say that it was inevitable, while some cannot believe that the two powerhouses actually went ahead and did it.  The merger was a $67 billion (USD) affair, the largest in history with the banner of EMC forever lowered on September 27, 2016, and being absorbed into the Dell brand.  After reeling from the shock and awe that came from the deal, insiders were quick to set their sights on EMCs prized possession, VMware, and its role in Dell.

 

Initial reports from both sides of the table seem to be positive.  Before the merger, EMC left VMware to virtually operate as its own entity.  This was a good thing, as it allowed the company and its solutions to develop organically and untainted by outside influences.  However, it seemed that the last couple of years were a bit tough on the books due to the financial instability that EMC was suffering.  Therefore, VMware management was ecstatic when the merger was inked as it has the possibility to give them much needed stability and more importantly, Dell’s legions of customers and partners allows them to increase their reach by many folds over.

 

For Dell, the benefits could not be clearer.  By merging with EMC and, in effect acquiring VMware, they have solidified their dominance in both the physical and virtual server space.  It seems to almost all that there is nothing but clear skies ahead for both Dell and VMware, but there is a storm brewing in the horizon and it should not be dismissed.  Remember that Dell and Microsoft has forged a strong, almost brotherly, bond over the decades.  Well, Microsoft directly competes with VMware with its Azure Stack fronted with Hyper-V, as VMware’s CEO, Pat Gelsinger, was quick to note.  This puts Dell in a bit of a predicament.  The ink hasn’t even dried yet on this $67 billion deal and your new virtual arm is already at odds with your longtime friend and ally.  The kicker is that Microsoft shows no signs of backing down or acquiescing to VMware.  Many believe that this is due to their veritable ace in the hole, the Cloud.

 

While virtual servers have been around for nearly two decades, the rise of Cloud services and Cloud solutions is relatively new.  However, with the pace of adoption at an all-time high, more and more corporations and consumers are looking towards the Cloud at an accelerated rate.  VMware’s cloud solution, vCloud Air, is (to put it nicely) lacking.  Microsoft’s Azure, however, is thriving rather well.  Microsoft is, afterall, Microsoft, they are a titan in their own right and are not afraid to throw around their weight, as is evident by the video that was released by Satya Nadella, the CEO of Microsoft.  In this video, Nadella acknowledges the merger but goes on to say that it has enjoyed it partnership with Dell and doesn’t expect things to change.  Indeed, according to Nadella, Microsoft is looking forward to the expansion of its cloud solutions within Dell.

 

No one really knows when the storm will hit but at some point Dell will have to make a critical choice.  Should they choose to back VMware (for which they spent several billion dollars to acquire) they may jeopardise a decades long partnership with one of the biggest names in the industry in Microsoft.  Only time will tell, but for now all parties seems to be in good spirits and are eagerly awaiting the rewards of this merger.  The acquisition of EMC and VMware has allowed Dell to shed its old mantle of “hardware giant”.  It is now capable of so much more.  It has become a titan of the industry.  Such is the advantage that VMware brings to the table that even Larry Ellison, Oracle’s chairman, confided that were Oracle not already developing its own cloud solution, it would have competed with Dell for the control of VMware.

 

Article by David Share from Amazing Support