Author Topic: Wilflex Epic - PC or Equalizers?  (Read 7706 times)

Offline ZooCity

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Wilflex Epic - PC or Equalizers?
« on: June 01, 2011, 03:41:05 PM »
What's everyone like?  I read up and asked around a bit and got the gist of it.  I like that the Equalizers are, well, equalized and somewhat idiot proof.  But what I can't get a handle on is:

  • why bother even having the PC system then?
  • what are the EQ bases "equalized" with?  Do you lose some versatility having this component in the color bases?
  • is there an advantage to speed of mixing or how many different bases you can use with PCs?
  • can you really print EQ bases direct if you need a super pigment charged color or are they just fail-safe in regular mixes?

Also just wanted to hear anyone's experiences with it.  I'd reckon the pthalate versions perform in a similar capacity so please chime in if that's a system you use.

GSG stocks both so I have the choice.  Leaning hard toward Equalizers right now.  What I really want is various bases on my shelf- performance, fashion, "regular", stretch, etc. and be able to get anything from an extended ink with lower opacity and lower cost of sales to highly pigmented super color when the job calls for it, all mixed with the appropriate base for what I'm printing on.  I'm not afraid of over-pigmenting the ink with the right protocols in place for mixing and I'm still the main operator of this print shop so the formulation error isn't really much a factor in the decision making.  Knowing you practically can't screw it up is certainly nice though.

I am not happy with having a sea change on my ink rack during the effing busy season so I want this to be the last plastisol system we get into for a looooong time.


Offline blue moon

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Re: Wilflex Epic - PC or Equalizers?
« Reply #1 on: June 01, 2011, 03:53:06 PM »
what are the eq systems? Judging from your post, it sounds like it is a base that you add the colors . . .

I have a Matsui system like that and there is no way I could do the Pantone match with it. The colors are so concentrated that it has to be measured to the 1/100th of a gram. I have no idea how to accomplish that. 
Yes, we've won our share of awards, and yes, I've tested stuff and read the scientific papers, but ultimately take everything I say with more than just a grain of salt! So if you are looking for trouble, just do as I say or even better, do something I said years ago!

Offline ZooCity

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Re: Wilflex Epic - PC or Equalizers?
« Reply #2 on: June 01, 2011, 04:22:52 PM »
what are the eq systems? Judging from your post, it sounds like it is a base that you add the colors . . .

I have a Matsui system like that and there is no way I could do the Pantone match with it. The colors are so concentrated that it has to be measured to the 1/100th of a gram. I have no idea how to accomplish that.

ah, I was afraid of that. I have a smaller scale that "estimates", basically shows a 5 or 0 in the hundredths but that ain't good enough for highly concentrated pigments and small batches.  we mix a lot of qts and pints here for pms matching jobs.  And where on earth can you find a gallon scale that displays hundredths of a gram?  If it exists it probably costs a small fortune.

Got a little more info on the two systems and they both use the same bases.  Trouble is, the Performance Base (low cure temp for athletic gear) is only mixable with the PC system.  It seems that whatever's in the Equalizer pigments throws off the properties of that base.  The ability to mix up small batches of athletic ink would be most excellent.  But again, can I even mix quarts with the PCs? 

This is a major concern because, while we don't take on a lot of athletic gear, nobody seems to have Performance base in qts save for white and grey and wants a 5gal minimum to mix other colors so the ability to mix in-house is a must.  We're also a 4 day ship from Houston which makes it even more necessary to be able to mix anything we need in a pinch. 

A tech person at Wilflex informed me that you cannot print Equalizers straight but I thought I read of someone on the boards doing this.  Maybe it's just not recommended?

The "non-migrating" versions of the yellow and red sound like they're only necessary when going over discharge underbase.

Offline ZooCity

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Re: Wilflex Epic - PC or Equalizers?
« Reply #3 on: June 01, 2011, 04:27:37 PM »
Oh and Pierre, the difference is the Equalizers are "balanced" so that if you decided to boost up your ink mix on the fly, or made an error in mixing, the ink will still cure properly.  With PCs you could potentially add too much pigment to your ink and screw up its crocking or it's ability to cure.   MX is a ready mixed system like QCMs QMX with the pigments already mixed with base ink, you could print those direct if you liked and mixing those is more akin to just combining ink colors. Truly idiot proof but much less versatile if you ask me.   

PC sounds like the most versatile of the bunch but I'm concerned about mixing small quantities, especially with those transparent inks that are mostly clear base.

Offline ErinAllenLamb

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Re: Wilflex Epic - PC or Equalizers?
« Reply #4 on: June 01, 2011, 04:29:00 PM »
•why bother even having the PC system then? The PC System is the most versitile system that is out there. You can use every base that is available, including Epic Performance Base, which you cannot use Equalizers with.  It is the simpliest chemistry of a mixing system.
•what are the EQ bases "equalized" with?  Do you lose some versatility having this component in the color bases? The EQs are basically a highly saturated ink.  The way to think of them as they will print and cure, but they will not have great of a printability or cure as a balanced optimized ink will.  You do not loose much versatility, but you have slightly more with PCs.  For example to keep the stretch at the highest level with SSVFF-E you should pigment with PCs, however, you can pigment with EQs and not see too much of a difference.
•is there an advantage to speed of mixing or how many different bases you can use with PCs? You can use more bases with PC then EQ, but very few
•can you really print EQ bases direct if you need a super pigment charged color or are they just fail-safe in regular mixes?They are completely cureable on their own, so you can print them on their own. However, I would recommend mixing with a base.

The Equalizers are very popular right now.  The only area I would look at as a downside would be not being able to use the Equalizers to make colors with Wilflex Epic Peformance Base. 

Feel free to contact our tech services via techserviceswilflex@polyone.com or your sales rep at jerry.hall@polyone.com with any questions. As always, feel free to email me as well erin.lamb@polyone.com.

The PC System does not require matching to the 100th.  We recommend that you match to the 10th of a gram. You can also integrate your PMA7500 Scale with our free of cost IMS software and it will help you autocorrect anything you may have measure wrong or will let you know if you are in tolerance.

Offline ZooCity

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Re: Wilflex Epic - PC or Equalizers?
« Reply #5 on: June 01, 2011, 04:46:19 PM »
Wow!  Erin, thank you so much for that speedy and very inclusive response!

I've got the whole picture now (I think/hope) and can see the spectrum of pigment:ink on these three systems.

This helped a lot => "The EQs are basically a highly saturated ink."

I guess we need to ride with PCs just because of the Performance Base as I have no other avenue of getting colors right now.

The Sartorious PMA7500 scale is now very close to the top of my wish list.  This integration you speak of with the IMS system sounds downright badass.

Thanks again Erin!

Offline tonypep

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Re: Wilflex Epic - PC or Equalizers?
« Reply #6 on: June 02, 2011, 07:27:42 AM »
I never understood the introduction of equalizers perhaps Erin can expand. If you use the PC system and color matching software then you will not risk over pigmenting.

Offline squeegee

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Re: Wilflex Epic - PC or Equalizers?
« Reply #7 on: June 02, 2011, 09:12:15 AM »
We got into the Equalizers for MX small batch mixes because, one the amount of storage we need was drastically reduced (less 5's, less space taken up on our meager shelves), and two, because rather than PC'a the equalizers are curable making the possibility of bad employee judgement a non-issue.

One of my favorite tricks with the equalizers is using the EQ Marine on underbases, because a relfex or 072 in MX are so translucent, they end up looking off on a white base, but the EQ marine looks great on a base, very close to a reflex blue. 

I also like that I can mix up small batches of MX white or MX black without stocking the ink.  I don't use either all the time but I do need them on sim process prints.

We've also used EQ's to recycle old colors, they make it easier to change some colors to other colors without a risk of over pigmenting the ink.

At the rate we're printing 100% poly garments, I may end up stocking at least a partial amount of PC's.  I do have a couple of questions for Erin in regards to printing colors mixed in the performance base:

Are there Pantone formulas for these?

How will colors mixed with performance base print in a WOW situation on a base, in other words do they build up over time?  I ask because even with a polywhite base or Epic Performance white base, we see some loss of color vibrancy when overprinting with MX plastisol post curing.  We are keeping the cure temp to a 320-340 degree window.

Offline Frog

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Re: Wilflex Epic - PC or Equalizers?
« Reply #8 on: June 02, 2011, 09:23:00 AM »
what are the eq systems? Judging from your post, it sounds like it is a base that you add the colors . . .

I have a Matsui system like that and there is no way I could do the Pantone match with it. The colors are so concentrated that it has to be measured to the 1/100th of a gram. I have no idea how to accomplish that.

Couldn't you accurately measure some pigment into, say,  ten times the base, and then use that as a more easily weigh-able mixer?
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Offline squeegee

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Re: Wilflex Epic - PC or Equalizers?
« Reply #9 on: June 02, 2011, 09:40:06 AM »
what are the eq systems? Judging from your post, it sounds like it is a base that you add the colors . . .

I have a Matsui system like that and there is no way I could do the Pantone match with it. The colors are so concentrated that it has to be measured to the 1/100th of a gram. I have no idea how to accomplish that.

Couldn't you accurately measure some pigment into, say,  ten times the base, and then use that as a more easily weigh-able mixer?

We have Matsui too, and I've found the innacuracy of the pantone formulas to be annoying honestly, our scale is to the hundreths but I really don't think that is the problem, I think their formulas just aren't that good, try mixing 186C in Neo OW and see what you get  >:(

What we've done is exactly this, mix up all the primaries 10% pigment to base and use them as "RFU" ink to adjust the color, that works pretty well, all except the aggravation of color matching by eye.  It definately beats making adjustments with PC (because you can easily exceed the max pigment load if you're not careful).

Unfortunately the Matsui formulas (NEO RC and OW) are all made with small, sometimes minute quantities of PC.  We try not to mix less than 1000 g at a time, that seems to keep all ingredients to the hundreth, not thousandth.

Offline ErinAllenLamb

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Re: Wilflex Epic - PC or Equalizers?
« Reply #10 on: June 02, 2011, 10:17:26 AM »
I try to explain things as simply as possible.  People have a hard time understanding why we even have Eqaulizers and I just always explain it as an option to use different bases without the uncertainty of making an ink that is unbalanced. I do agree with Tony that if you follow the formulas in IMS you will make a balanced ink with PC Express.  If you need to shade or make a custom color, all you have to do is enter into IMS and make sure it is balanced and you are good! :)

As for Epic Peformance Base.  I went to one of our Guru's Adam Scaife.  He is our Northeastern Sales Manager and he has extensive experience with the product.

For Epic Peformance WOW printing he advised that he has printed 6 colors WOW with no problems.  When you start to see build up issues is when you overflash.  Performance Base flashes between 180 - 220F in roughly 2 seconds, so it is quit fast.  He did state for best results, underbase with Epic Peformance Base UB Gray - flash and then colors on top.  He is also printing his colors through a 230 mesh. 

For Epic Peformance PMS matches, Adam recommends using the GNS Plus and PC formulas as a guide and having the pigment loading at 15 to 20% formulas - pigment to base ratio.  If you want an exact match - you can email techserviceswilflex@polyone.com or call 800-326-0226 and press 1.  We will see if we have a formula internally and/or process a free of charge color match for you.  The color match can take up to 2 days, so if you know you need it, ensure you call or email ASAP.  If you email, make sure you include that you are using the Epic Peformance Base and Epic PCs (I am sure you would, but you would be surprised what we get :))

I am glad to help!

Erin


Offline alan802

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Re: Wilflex Epic - PC or Equalizers?
« Reply #11 on: June 02, 2011, 02:39:28 PM »
I am considering going to a mixing system as well and before this thread started, I had very little knowledge other than each major ink brand had a mixing system.  I had to read this thread several times to get a decent grasp on the 2 systems and then after some interwebbing research I still don't quite know which system would better suit our needs.  I like the fact that we have our standard red out there and I have it in an opaque version then a based down version sitting right next to it.  I worry about the ink's opacity within these different mixing systems and wonder how they compare to what we are used to printing with.  With all our more popular colors we have 2 different versions, opaque or the lesser opaque version for use on lighter colored garments.  I guess I want control over the opacity of the inks, not just the color. 

How much control over opacity will I have with a custom mixed pantone color with each of these 2 systems?  I think I know the answer to this but I am still very much a newb to this subject.
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Offline ErinAllenLamb

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Re: Wilflex Epic - PC or Equalizers?
« Reply #12 on: June 02, 2011, 03:51:47 PM »
Let me confuse you a little more before I clarify! :)

Most ink manufacturers actually offer 3 mixing systems.  There is the finished ink mixing system; Wilflex calls this MX. The Pigment Concentrate and Base Mixing system; Wilflex calls this PC Express. Then the balanced colorant and base mixing system; Wilflex calls this Equalizers. 

The most basic and easiest to use would be the finished ink systems.  However, you cannot control opacity and you cannot change your base.  If you want to integrate some SPFX you can, but you do not see the whole effect. So, if you generally just print t-shirts, sweatshirts, etc. you are good.

If you want the ability to change bases for different special effects or fabric requirements, then either a Base and Pigment Concentrate or Base and Balanced Colorant system is better for you.

Both systems give the ability to control opacity. This can be done by changing your base to more opaque bases or by beefing up forumulas to be heavier in certain pigments.  We have formulas to make all of the standard colors that we offer in PC Express and many are also offered in Equalizers.  Then you could take your standard color that you generally use, mix it with your mixing system and if you want extend it out to be for light colors. 

A mixing system is very cost effective and gives you a ton of options.

I hope that didn't confuse you more.

Erin

Offline Colin

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Re: Wilflex Epic - PC or Equalizers?
« Reply #13 on: June 02, 2011, 04:40:03 PM »
To clarify more about mixing systems and opacities.

I like the fact that we have our standard red out there and I have it in an opaque version then a based down version sitting right next to it.  I worry about the ink's opacity within these different mixing systems and wonder how they compare to what we are used to printing with.  With all our more popular colors we have 2 different versions, opaque or the lesser opaque version for use on lighter colored garments.  I guess I want control over the opacity of the inks, not just the color. 

How much control over opacity will I have with a custom mixed pantone color with each of these 2 systems?  I think I know the answer to this but I am still very much a newb to this subject.

The only mixing system that gives you opacity ratings along with your pantone formulas is QCM's QMX mixing system.  The other manufacturers do not do this.  The QMX system, since it is a high opacity finished ink mixing system, also has clear as part of the system in order to acheive accurate color mixes.

So, with all the other ready for use mixing systems, you will need to have a finished clear ink of choice next to it to reduce the opacity of the finished ink you would like to have.  Conversely, depending on the finished mixing system you choose, you have now reached your maximum opacity.

The only way to improve that opacity is to add either the color concentrates (Wilflex) or color boosters (Rutland).

The drawback to adding these to your ink system of choice is the possiblity of over adding pigments.  If you add to much you will find several things happen.  1) You will have terrible crocking issues 2) the ink will physically build up on the back of your screens (it will be pigment build up) 3) at extreme additions you will experience extended cure times due to an imbalance of the inks. 4) you will now have an over saturated color and your PMS mix will no longer be accurate.

This last may or may not be an issue for you if you are printing through high mesh counts.  Higher mesh counts with their thinner ink deposit give the visual effect of having added some clear to your inks.  Also, if you are over printing on a white plate, that too will thin out your ink deposit giving your ink a brighter cleaner look.

Erin is correct in that both pigment and equalizer/color booster formulas give you the ability to control your opacity.  However (the last I checked) neither formula guide gives you a formula to follow to acheive a specific opacity.  It is up to you the printer to decide how much pigment loading you actually need.  This means you will be creating your recipes all over again for each color you want to have an opaque version and translucent version for.

The very first shop I was a printer in we used the Wilflex pigment mixing system.  This was back in 1996 and I personally really like the flexibility I get from both a pigment and color booster/equalizer sytem.  I am a printer who does want to have an opaque version for one hit colors on darks while having a translucent ink for doing sim-process and index printing.  I will make new formulas for all the inks that I need to do this to.  I really like the idea of having different bases for doing athletic, special effect, extreme softhand, etc.  In the shop I would set up for myself, I would pick a color booster/equalizer or pigment system.

What system you bring into your shop depends entirly on who will be doing your mixes.  You want someone who is not afraid to ask questions, learns quickly, and pays attention to the little things.  And the ability to create your own special mixes to set your prints apart is priceless.

Good luck with your search!
Been in the industry since 1996.  5+ years with QCM Inks.  Been a part of shops of all sizes and abilities both as a printer and as an Artist/separator.  I am now the Ink and Chemical Product Manager at Ryonet.

Offline Frog

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Re: Wilflex Epic - PC or Equalizers?
« Reply #14 on: June 02, 2011, 07:38:25 PM »
If you are going plastisol, and want a finished ink system, I can recommend Union's Mix-Opake system, but partly because I was using mostly Union inks anyway, and it was nice to have the formulas for their stock colors as well as the pantones.
On darks, I used to use this straight like a Union Maxopake P-F-P, on lights, based down even softer than an Ultrasoft, as much as 3 parts base to 1 part ink.

Nowadays, on darks with underbases, I often use something in-between by using less whack, but not going super translucent.
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