The Role of Industrial Inks Wax Additives

Most industrial inks contain wax of some type, except inks that will be laminated or coated. Wax additives provide characteristics that make a substrate grease, water, solvent, scuff, rub resistant. Waxes also impact friction, which controls slip resistance.

Industrial ink is available from

Forms of Wax Additives

The industrial ink industry makes use of both synthetic and natural waxes respectively. Waxes come in various forms such as votated oil or varnish, oil dispersion, water-based flexo, water dispersion, and micronized powders.

The Effects of Wax Additives.

  • Water Repellent – Water repelling, or resistance is an essential property obtained by using wax additives. As the description implies, this kind of additive offers protection against water penetration. Temporary-only would be water repellent or resistant, while waterproof would involve being resistant to water for an infinite timeframe.
  • Abrasion Resistance – Rubbing, scrapping, and erosion are three issues that cause abrasion on a material. Abrasion resistance takes into consideration hardness, elasticity, strength, toughness, and sometimes thickness. The goal is to prevent abrasion.
  • Texturizer – Some materials require rough, uneven, or slip-resistant properties, which is why wax additives are used as a texturizer. This feature is most often used in coatings, but also, with limitations used in industrial inkjet printing.
  • Slip Aid – Sometimes substrates should have a gliding surface to help smoothly glide over other materials without causing damage. The slip additive (wax) should be concentrated at the surface immediately after the application and curing. Harder waxes make better slip properties.
  • Anti-Blocking – Anti-blocking creates a non-stick relationship between two surfaces, therefore preventing them from sticking together. Carnauba waxes are commonly used for counteracting bonding. This effect is functional for any products that are coated and dried, then immediately stacked for shipment or storage.

Wax Additive Formulation Considerations

  • Chemical Composition
  • Molecular Weight
  • Melting Point
  • Hardness
  • Particle Size
  • pH
  • Type of surfactant

Wax additives are used in food packaging inks and other industries where the effects of waxes are needed for products.

Waxes used in inks come in three types:

  • Animal
  • Mineral
  • Vegetable
  • Synthetic

The primary types of waxes used to formulate ink additives include:

  • Paraffin for water repellency and anti-blocking
  • Carnauba for anti-blocking, slip, lubricity, and abrasion resistance
  • Amide for softness, slip, lubricity, and sandability
  • PTFE for slip, lubricity, abrasion resistance, and anti-blocking
  • PE for slip, anti-blocking, and abrasion (mar and scratch) resistance
  • PP for abrasion resistance, superior slip, lubricity, and anti-blocking

This information briefly discussed the basic attributes and effects of using waxes in industrial inks. Wax technology is very common across inks and coatings to provide the desired effects for a broad range of products.