a guide to ink receptive coating for digital printing

A Guide to Ink Receptive Coating for Digital Printing

Ink receptive technology is a new, innovative technology that tackles the challenges of how different substrates absorb ink. Ink receptive coatings are designed for paper, textiles, and films with fast ink dry time, high print quality, and improved ink adhesion. This guide covers the different types of coatings, what to consider when choosing a coating, and more!

How Does Inkjet Receptive Coating Work

Ink receptive coating controls the spread of dot grain or ink drop spread by filtering the colorant on the substrate surface for optimum ink absorption. It improves the print image ink dry time and quality. Images with ink-receptive coating make an impression of substance and quality.

Features of Receptive Ink Coating

Receptive ink coating works well on banners, packaging, textiles, wallpapers, banners, roll-ups, labels, foils, and tissues. These are the features that make it most suitable:

  • Edge definition and color brilliance
  • Works on different substrates
  • Good ink adhesion
  • Quick processing
  • Increased UV stability
  • Fast-drying speeds

Ink Adhesion

Ink adhesion is the property of ink that explains its ability to bind to the print material either chemically or mechanically.

how do you increase ink adhesion

How Do You Increase Ink Adhesion? 

If you’re using a UV printer, you can increase ink adhesion by using more ink for a large contact surface area. When using polyurethane or aluminum, applying an apparent undercoat increases ink adhesion. With improved ink adhesion, better print product results are achieved.

What Is Print Coating?

Print coating encompasses the various ways one can coat a print project to achieve the best outcomes and meet the user requirements. These requirements can range from aesthetic to protection from natural elements like dirt, moisture, and wear and tear. There are different coating techniques in the market-determined by the user’s needs.

Factors to Consider When Using Ink Receptive Coating

When selecting an ink-receptive coating, there are different factors to consider to ensure that the intended outcome is achieved:

Usage – Outdoor or Indoors

If the end product is for use outdoors, consider a coating that provides water resistance and UV properties to withstand long-term exposure to elements.


Performance and value are put into consideration. It aims to achieve the desired end properties at the correct processing cost without excessive spending.

Type of Ink

Whether the ink is solvent-based, UV-based, water-based, pigments, or dye, they all have different processing characteristics based on the end-use product.

Type of Printer

It’s essential to consider the line speed. Fast line speed printers are not effective on some ink-receptive coatings.

Durability Requirements

Consider the packaging, transportation, and distribution of the end product. If the end product will undergo harsh storage and shipping environments, consider a rub and scratch resistance coat. For example, when creating labels for appliances or control panels, a durable coating will protect your product and maintain the original aesthetics.

Difference Between Coating and Finishing

difference between coating and finishing

Coating and finishing may seem alike, but both have specific functions and protection levels.

Coatings: are applied on the inside or outside. When coatings are applied on the inside, they are grey or white-ish, while on the outside, they are hardly visible for their color mass.

Finishing: is the application of the final layer of a coat protection system. A finish coat aims to enhance the aesthetic looks and protect from environmental degradation like corrosive agents by offering improved resistance. A good finish can protect for many years under the ideal conditions.

UV Coating Vs. Matte 

Matte coating and UV coating are two diverse surface-handling crafts that give a product its final protective topcoat. The pigment-binder ratio is what plays the difference in the level of gloss. Gloss level is determined by the percentage of resins and polymers in a base coat and how the topcoat is dried.

UV coating is flossy and reflective with high solid levels that allow application of the coating in thin films. Matte coating is a satin finish with a subtle sheen that makes colors vibrant and shows no fingerprints.

Print Receptive Coating

The print receptive coating is the application of specific primers on substrates as anchor inks. It’s designed to work on films, paper, PET, OPP, and foil. Print receptive coatings have rub/mar resistance and are easy to formulate for their chemical resistance. These graphic coatings can be applied via traditional rod, rotogravure, flexographic, and offset methods.

Print Receptive has the following features:

  • Excellent Adhesion
  • Water resistance
  • Chemical resistance
  • Rub and mar resistance
  • Good Ink receptivity
  • Good Clarity

What Does Ink-Receptive Mean?

Ink receptive is the property of a paper, printing plate, or substrate that describes the proportion of how they allow the transfer of ink on the surface. Surfaces that are ink receptive will absorb part or all of the vehicle, unlike ink repellent substrates. Ink receptive surfaces are water repellent. 

What Is the Difference Between Coating and Varnish?

Though coating and varnish may serve the same purpose, they vary in functions and mode of operations. Here are their main differences:

Coating: There are three types of coatings, mainly UV, aqueous and soft touch. Aqueous coating is water-based, dries faster, and is the most widely used coating. It offers better rub protection and is more durable than varnish. Coatings are clear, cheap, vegetable-based cellulose applied on a surface after the ink.

Varnish: Varnish coating is an on-the-spot or all-over coating applied to specific print project elements. Varnish is widely used in print coating for its low cost and various uses. It comes in many variants like satin, gloss, and matte. Varnish coatings are less protective and yellow over time.

Graphic Design and Printing Technology

Are you interested in print receptive coatings? Do you need unique custom lamination or coating solutions? Request a free quote or learn more about Lamarts graphic coating capabilities.

Contact us, or connect with us on LinkedIn. Our agile team is on standby to address your needs.

Craig Hirsh

Craig is a third-generation owner of Lamart Corporation with over ten years of experience developing custom-designed products to meet customer specifications and expectations.