Choosing the Best Ink for Glass Bottles, Jars, and Packaging

Need ink for glass packaging applications?

Here’s what you need to know about the best formulas to fit your needs.

Glass packaging is ubiquitous in today’s retail environment. Most commonly used in the beverage bottling, pharmaceutical development, food packaging, and personal care industries, glass packaging is advantageous for a number of reasons including:

  • Recyclability: Glass is a fully recyclable material. As today’s consumers are becoming increasingly eco-conscious, the ability to sell products in 100% recyclable packaging is a great way to appeal to customers as well as increase sustainability.
  • Long Shelf Life: Food, beverages, and pharmaceuticals are frequently placed in glass containers due to the material’s impermeability. Glass’s non-porous properties protect products from the threat of chemical contamination and work to preserve flavor, odor, and effectiveness. For these reasons, glass is often chosen to house long-lasting products like wine, perfume, and pickled foods.
  • Aesthetic Appeal: Consumers often associate luxury with glass packaging. When companies choose to house their products in glass containers, they are communicating to potential customers that the product is high quality. 

In addition to these three qualities, another great benefit to glass packaging is its ability to prominently display traceable codes. 

Markings like expiration dates and lot numbers enable companies to comply with traceability guidelines established by either their distribution partners or federal regulations. With an industrial marking system equipped with a continuous inkjet (CIJ) or thermal inkjet (TIJ) printer, manufacturers can become code-compliant by placing codes directly on to product surfaces—if they’re using the proper ink formula, that is. 

If you’re searching for the best ink for glass printing applications, here’s what to keep in mind:

The Importance of Finding the Best Ink for Glass Applications

While glass materials have been used for centuries to develop and house products, they can still be a challenge to print on due to:

  1. Glass’s non-porous properties.
  2. The challenging environmental conditions posed by facilities that frequently print on glass. 

In regards to the first point, glass is a non-porous material, meaning that it doesn’t allow ink (or other liquid) to pass through its surface. Although this quality helps protect glass-packaged products from outside contamination, it can also create coding issues, especially regarding dry times. 

Given that glass materials repel ink from sinking below the surface, slow-drying inks are likely to run along the surface as they dry. The resulting code is therefore likely to be messy, hard-to-read, and, if it's a barcode or data matrix, unscannable. All of these code issues can lead to major traceability problems along the supply chain, leaving manufacturers open to the possibility of expensive fines and recalls. 

The other major struggle associated with printing on glass comes from the environments where the coding occurs. Depending on the industry, facilities that do print on glass can struggle with factors like excessive humidity or extreme temperatures. For example, beverage bottling companies often have to code glass surfaces that are covered in condensation. If the bottlers don’t use an ink formula designed to accommodate condensation presence, it can lead to:

  • Poor ink adhesion
  • Excessive dry time
  • Blurry and unreadable codes

Other issues to consider include sticky surfaces due to the presence of outside liquids and high/low temperatures. 

Although these elements are potentially problematic, they can be solved with the help of a marking expert who can advise the right ink formula. 

The Best Ink for Glass Printing Applications

To help companies of all industries successfully perform glass printing, companies like InkJet, Inc. create formulas specifically designed for glass applications. Generally speaking, these formulas are most often solvent-based. 

While water-based inks are commonly used for porous applications, they often feature drying times that are too long for non-porous materials. Comparatively, solvent-based inks can dry at a rate five times faster than the average water-based formula. Additionally, codes made with 

solvent-based inks are typically more durable and longer-lasting than those made with water-based inks. 

At InkJet, Inc. we carry a wide array of inks for CIJ and TIJ printers, including formulas made for glass surfaces. For instance, DC410 is a black ketone-based ink that offers excellent adhesion to substrates that have been traditionally difficult to mark, including glass surfaces that are waxy, covered in condensation, or greasy. Accordingly, it is a great ink for glass bottlers that routinely deal with excessive moisture and other challenging conditions. 

Other glass-specific offerings include:

In addition to stock formulas, InkJet, Inc. also offers custom-built inks that can meet unique application requirements. 

InkJet, Inc.: Your Home for Glass Application Ink Formulas

Glass packaging is a great way to protect your products while also appealing to consumer sensibilities. With the right ink and printing hardware, you can easily mark bottles, jars, and other glass containers with the codes necessary to comply with supply chain regulations. 

If you’re looking for the best glass-compatible inks, InkJet, Inc. is here to help. Offering a diverse portfolio of formulas for CIJ and TIJ printers, the team at InkJet, Inc. can set you up with an ink that fits all of your coding needs. 

To find ink for glass applications, contact us online today or call 1(800) 280-3245

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