Chemicals and coatings
6th Jul 2021

Is membrane filtration of dye-based digital ink necessary?

Membrane filtration continues to be one of the most widely-used methods of filtration for dye-based digital inks. But with high production costs, minimal dirt holding capacity, and limited shelf life, why do so many digital ink manufacturers still use these expensive filters?

Here's why membrane filtration for dye-based inks is inefficient and why switching to a high-quality depth-type filter can improve lifespan, reduce costs, and minimise blockages. 

Why is membrane filtration inefficient? 

When it comes to complex filtering, using a membrane filter is usually the preferred option. However, dye-based inks are often used for applications where permanence is less of a priority. The main contaminant in dye-based inks is particulate from the base ingredients of the formulation or undissolved dye, which makes filtration relatively easy.

In these cases, the low cost of print is the most important factor, which makes membrane filters inefficient and cost-intensive. 

Membrane filters are also susceptible to:

  • Limitations in dirt holding capacity

  • Shorter lifespan

  • High cost compared to depth filtration

The high cost of membrane filtration has led many manufacturers to seek out less expensive, more efficient alternatives. Depth filters are a popular choice, as they offer many advantages in processing dye-based digital inks.

The benefits of depth filtration

Depth filters are often thought of as only being used for the protection of the final membrane filter. This role is extremely important and is critical in developing an optimised and cost-effective process.

However, a high-efficiency depth filter, if manufactured under precisely controlled processes to an appropriate specification, can be used as a final filter. This makes depth type filters much more cost-effective for ink manufacturers. 

Unlike expensive membrane filters, depth filters:

  • Last longer
  • Reduce costs
  • Process more ink

Depth filters are also better equipped for the continuous removal of undissolved particulate without the risk of premature blockage. And when combined with the right ink range, depth filters can supply the necessary filtrate quality, while creating big savings in overall manufacturing costs.

With dye-based inks still accounting for over 60% of ink production, switching to depth filtration can help manufacturers save money and optimise their filtration processes. However, not all depth filters are created equal. 

To get the most out of your filter, you need to look for a supplier that can ensure batch to batch consistency of the manufactured filter, complete cleanliness of the production environment, and the technical expertise to supply the most appropriate specification product.

How can SupaPleat Plus Ink help?

Amazon Filters recently partnered with a global manufacturer of dye-based inks. We wanted to see if swapping to a high spec depth filter could reduce manufacturing costs while still retaining the high filtrate quality that they expect.

After much testing, they substituted their 0.45 µm Nylon membrane filters for our SupaPleat Plus Ink V grade filter. It was incredibly successful and helped the manufacturer minimise expenditure while maximising quality. 

As a result, the filter provided:

  • Continued annual savings

  • Improved dirt holding
  • Batch to batch consistency
  • Equal effectiveness as the membrane equivalent

Using our filter, the client was able to guarantee batch to batch consistency, while continually saving on costs.  

Improve your filtration process

When it comes to dye-based digital inks, high-specification depth filters can provide the same quality filtration at a much lower cost. 

To find out more about how our depth filters can help you save money and improve efficiency,  enquire now

Sign-up to our newsletter for the latest news and information straight to your inbox.