There are two main mixing systems you’ll find in a screen printer’s shop: Ready For Use (RFU) and Pigment Concentrates (PC)
What most screen printers think of when it comes to Pantone® matching is a mixing base with a variety of pigments that are mixed to create their desired color profile. These systems are highly effective and come with a few pros and cons, depending on how you plan to use them. PCs tend to be:
- – having control over the base you use is huge in shops that do a lot of athletic printing or specialty printing. PC mixing systems allow you to control nearly every variable of the ink you’re mixing, all the way down to its curing properties and finished luster
- – with all of that customization comes a smaller window of error. If you’re looking to achieve a specific color, even a slight overpour of pigment can cause a wave of difference in your final profile. This is why it’s always best to mix a small amount first, recording your changes, then mixing down what you need for your job.
An inventory consideration
- – one major attribute of PCs that will affect some shops more than others, are their tendency to keep a few excess pigments around that you just never use. Sure you got ONE order where your customer
- have that perfect red-orange
- , but you haven’t used the Rubine Red pigment needed for it since. Most pigments out there last a long time, but this can be seen as wasteful or over-prepared for some, more rigorous screen printers.
Ready For Use
Ready for use systems have “EFFICIENCY” stamped all over them. They utilize mono-pigment components that are printable when combined, or on their own – no base needed. With an RFU system you can expect:
More grace when mixing
- – Since you don’t have such highly concentrated pigments, you can go a little over or under when adding colors, and still come out accurate.
To stock less
- – Since you don’t need to keep bases around, and your pigments can be printed on their own, you are left with much more lean and usable inventory on your ink shelves.
A similar cost
- – There is very little variance in cost when considering these two styles of color matching, but with the added usability of every pigment in the RFU category, you can make all your pennies count.
What Are We Using?
After years of perfecting mixing bases and pigments, Wilflex has finally released Rio, the leading system in high opacity color mixing. These RIO inks are Pantone® approved and boast an extended color range, all from the 18 finished ink mixing components. Each of the 18 colors are RFU mono-pigment with no bases or additives. The result is a perfect balance of color accuracy, vibrancy, and opacity for peak press performance and color design.
- • Colorful – bold and vibrant colors.
- • Accurate – Pantone® approved for best in class Pantone® matches compatible.
- • Opaque – Get the bold color you want with great flexibility on press.
- • Creamy Inks – Whether you’re on a manual or automatic press, there is no need to slow down or strengthen your print stroke.
- • Simple – With one of the most
- out there, you’ll find mixing is easy, intuitive, and fun!
Mixing systems shouldn’t be intimidating. Rio proves this with its easy to understand color calculator and intuitive, true-to-color pigments. Impress your customers with the full gamut of the rainbow, and don’t worry, they won’t know how easy you’ve got it.
Tell us what you think about RFU systems vs. PC systems in the comments below!