Technical Bulletin - Fountain Solution

Fountain Solutions

Q. What makes Burnishine Universal Pink solutions different from others?
A. All fountains contain a mixture of water, surfactants, acids and other components that help maintain pH and conductivity throughout the press run. Burnishine Universals contain special buffering agents that combat alkalinity and contamination caused by paper and ink so pH and conductivity remain stable.

Q. Why is this important? What problems does it solve?
A. Press contamination comes from a number of sources such as paper, ink, additives and even leftover roller washes. Most fountain solutions are formulated to maintain pH, but as more contaminants build up in the press, conductivity starts to deteriorate. As the solution gets "hotter", there are a number of problems that can occur:

  • Picture framing: ink collects on the outside of the blanket and literally frames paper edges.
  • Ink emulsification: ink picks up too much water and then won't distribute evenly on rollers. Emulsification can lead to tinting and toning.
  • Chalking: dried ink pigment doesn't adhere properly and rubs off easily when running a finger over the print.
  • Misting: caused when pH or conductivity gets too high.
  • Plate blinding: if the solution becomes too acidic the image area may lost the ability to attract or receive ink.
  • Premature plate wear: image area disappears or breaks apart because the solution is too acidic or conductivity is off.
  • Scumming: ink adheres to non-image area due to poor pH or conductivity.

Q. Why does Burnishine have 3 Universal Fountains? How to tell which one you should use?
A. 3457 is ideal for small duplicators running metal plates. 3459 and 3464 can be used on presses up to 44" wide, and can be used with silver, laser, and metal plates. The only difference between 3459 and 3464 is the dilution ratio. 3459 is 1:15 and 3464 is 1:32.

*Note: 3459 and 3464 have excellent wetting agents and are perfect for dry environments where low humidity can cause press problems. Laser polyester and silver plates perform best with wetter solutions.

Q. What is Ultrafount? When and how is it used?
A. Ultrafount was developed to help printers eliminate or reduce alcohol. In addition, it can be used in just about any dampener, but is excellent for use in Dahlgren or continuous dampeners. It is especially good in high humidity environments. Dilution ratio is 1:32.

Q. What are some of the most important things to know when mixing fountain solutions?
A. Always read the instructions, and measure properly. If you try to eyeball the right amount, you will never achieve consistency. A little too much or too little will cause all kinds of press problems. Make sure your measuring cup, fountain bottle or tank and water pan are free of contamination.
We strongly recommend using distilled or RO water instead of tap water. Water from local sources can vary greatly from season to season. For example, in the summer, municipalities will add extra chemicals to ensure water is safe to drink. However those chemicals can affect pH and conductivity and may react negatively to chemicals and surfactants in the fountain solution. Using RO or distilled water greatly improves print quality, and is one less thing printers have to worry about when diagnosing press problems.
Some printers like to add a little gum to their solution. Gum will coagulate when mixed with alcohol and fountain solution and can kill the strength of the solution. Gum will not coagulate with alcohol substitutes.
Take pH and conductivity measurements throughout the day. Record the results. Taking a few minutes to check these measurements will help printers react faster to changing press conditions; will help prevent costly press shut-downs, and will improve print quality.

Q. Do Burnishine fountain solutions contain alcohol? Can they be mixed with alcohol?
A. No, our fountain solutions do not contain alcohol. They can be mixed with alcohol or alcohol replacements.

Printers using Aqua Blue can benefit from using our CTP deletion and addition pens, and Plate Care, finisher, cleaner, and preserver for all metal plates