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How to Improve Ink Sustainability

August 13, 2020 by Rich Knapp

As brand owners compete to make packaging stand out, commercial and flexible packaging converters and label printers are charged with achieving accurate color – on unique substrates – with shorter print runs.

Many spend a lot of time mixing ink, then end up throwing it away when the color isn’t right. Others mix ink, store it, and spend way too much time trying to reuse it for future print runs. 

If you’re stuck in this cycle, you’re essentially paying for ink twice – once when you buy it, and once again to dispose of it. What are the economics behind this waste? 

What is the impact on our earth?

Today we’re demonstrating how the InkFormulation Software’s Leftover Management feature can help you reduce inventory and waste, lower your disposal costs, and create a more sustainable print environment.

Are you mixing ink manually?

If so, you know it can take about 12 tries to get it right. Computer-aided color formulation can bring that number down – way down. Once you’ve established an accurate process, you can expect to match 85% of your color requirements within a reasonable color distance on the first try!


When you set up InkFormulation software, it will help you create a database of your base colors. Then, during production, the software will generate recipes to run them off at various strengths for the most efficient ink workflow with the least waste.

To learn more, check out our Are you Ready for Computer-Aided Formulation? blog.

Do you have leftover ink sitting around?

36” – 60” wide web presses print long runs and require a lot of ink on the print stations. What happens to the excess ink drained out of the pumps? Most printers dump them into barrels and store them in the warehouse to be used for a future, or different, job. 

These inks can go on for a long time, and the Leftover Management feature in IFS can help. Instead of taping drawdowns onto the side of the drum and comparing them against swatches for a new job, IFS gives recommendations – right from the software - to work your in-house colors into new formulations.

Improve Ink Sustainability with InkFormulation Software 

When you set up InkFormulation software (IFS), it will help you create a database of your base colors and use them in future recipes. 

Here’s how:

1 – Using your spectrophotometer, measure in the leftover ink. IFS will add it to your ink library. 

IFS Leftover Ink

2 – During production, IFS will generate recipes to run them off at various strengths for the most efficient ink workflow with the least waste.

3 – If there’s an ink you want to get rid of, you can include it in a recipe.

IFS Leftover Ink

4 – If a customer calls for a Pantone Matching System color, you can either measure the sample or recall the target and do a search to the IFS recipe database for something that is close. You’ll know which drum to get, and exactly what to add to get the color on target.

And that’s it. 

With IFS’s Leftover Management feature you’ll stock fewer specialty inks, reduce incorrect mixes and reprints, shorten makeready time, and improve your sustainability processes.

Ready to Improve Ink Sustainability? 

To calculate your return on investment, try our ROI calculator.

To learn more about InkFormulation software, get in touch to speak with a Color Expert.


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