Printing newspapers using water based flexography has been a competitive alternative to using oil based offset inks for a number of years. The quality of the print is as good as offset printing and some of the distinct advantages of using water based flexo inks is the reduced rub-off (because the ink dries much faster), less strike through and better print contrast when compared to offset printing. Also, using water based inks means that there is less waste on start-up of a run and there are less emissions to deal with when compared to oil based inks.
Of course using water flexo inks for newspaper printing does have its disadvantages. Flexo plates can be more expensive than their offset counterpart and there are some issues with ink hold out and plate fill-in, both of which are associated with the fast drying speed of the inks. In this article we're going to look at a straightforward approach to formulating flexographic inks for newspaper printing and we'll look at a snapshot from a typical press run using the ink formulations discussed.