Wilflex™ Color Kitchen Set Up

The Wilflex Color Kitchen is the complete resource for all your color needs. Created for use with Wilflex IMS Software and all Color Mixing Systems, the Color Kitchen is an inclusive package of equipment, services and accessories designed to enable accurate and immediate color matching using Wilflex’s industry leading inks. Developed as a comprehensive tool to improve ink management, the Wilflex Color Kitchen guarantees a clean, effortless ink room solution.

Planning Ahead

Before setting up your color kitchen, you will need to consider the size and floor plan for your space. Choose a space with good ventilation since solvents are typically used for cleanup. Check with your local environment agency regarding disposal of clean up rags using solvent. Consider inventory and storage when determining the size required for your space. Lighting, temperature and humidity control should be specified and monitored. Simple housekeeping rules, such as keeping lids on all containers and cleanliness should be implemented.

Ink Room Efficiency

In larger screen printing operations an efficient ink department is required to fulfill three distinct functions effectively.

  1. Pre-Products samples and testing,
  2. Production supply
  3. Inventory Management.

Each function should be carefully managed to ensure production deadlines are met and waste minimized.

Pre-Production Samples and Testing

This area deals with the creation of inks for approval purposes. The approval process includes color accuracy, opacity, surface finish, stretch requirement, adhesion on upcoming scheduled production. This is done ahead of time to eliminate unnecessary delays at press. All approved ink samples and formulas should be carefully documented. An actual wet ink sample or printed swatch can be used as the control for approval. Many shops include new product testing and/or R&D development in this area. 

Production Supply

Producing accurate scale-up calculations for each approved color is easily done with IMS 3.0. Using the Calculation Menu option, IMS 3.0 can theoretically estimate the ink volume required and provide the recipe for the scale up. There should not be any press down time for ink color adjustments if the sample procedure was conducted and reviewed. It is also important not to over-produce ink quantity. More ink can be made quickly if needed, eliminating unwanted inventory of rarely required colors.


Significant reduction in stored, unusable inventory is the most tangible benefit from IMS software. Make only what you need. Inventory investment should be in the mixing components of your color system. The conversion of these components into productions colors should be directly driven by actual production of work orders. If the production supply function is correctly managed via the IMS software, store color is minimal. Companies producing licensed product or use the same "house" colors may keep an established minimum shelf inventory for easy access.

Your Toolbox  
PANTONE® Formula Guide Manual one-color print station
Computer with IMS 3.0 Installed Screens in assorted mesh counts, minimum of 20 newtons, burned with 10-100% half tones to evaluate overprint colors
Light box or controlled light source Cleaning fluid and wipe cloths
Digital scale accurate to (Plastisol - 0.1 gram) (Water based - .01 gram) Assorted squeegee durometer
Binders for effective storage of approved formulas and cured ink samples Fabric swatches, assorted lights, darks, fabric content
Disposable mixing cups (Paper, no wax) Oven or heat gun
Small metal spatulas (1 dozen) Quart/gallon containers with lids
Long handle metallic spatulas (1 dozen) ThermoProbe
Protective eyewear and gloves Clip board
Permanent markers Storage area for color match controls (wet and printed)


Ink Room Layout

Choose an area that provides excellent lighting, ventilation and enough space to work comfortably. The organization of the work space should reflect the work flow. Mixing components should be clearly labeled and arranged for easy access and stored in a separate area than finished inks. All inks, both samples and production colors should be labeled with a code name and description. An orderly filing system should be created to identify new matches. IMS 3.0 has 4 user reference fields that can be used for the purpose of tracking and retrieval.

Setting Up Color Matching Specifications

Color evaluation can be subjective due to many reasons. Surrounding color can influence the way a color is perceived. Switching between daylight, fluorescent in incandescent lights when matching and evaluation colors can result in confusion and rejection. Metamerism is a term used to describe colors that match in one light source but not in another. A light box with different lights sources is useful in recognizing metameric pairs and in developing a standard method of color evaluation. For consistency, standardizing the light source and method for evaluating color is strongly recommended. Wilflex™ standardizes each color system with standards, including mesh count, light and print specifications.

PC Express, Equalizer and MX color specifications: 

  1. Cool White Fluorescent Lighting 4100K Illuminant, 2 bulbs, 17 watts each. 
  2. Printed 156 mesh (58 thr/cm) on 100% cotton, white fabric, one flood, one print stroke.
  3. Medium squeegee, slightly rounded edge, 20 newtons of screen tension, off contact 1/16 inch.

Selecting a Wilflex Formulation

Using Wilflex Ink Management Software , select the PANTONE® simulation and ink type required for your customer. Use the exact Pantone code for retrieval, i.e. Yellow 012 C. Scale the recipe to estimate your ink usage. IMS 3.0 will help you calculate your ink usage using a theoretical or actual method.

Making a Wilflex Ink

Gather the mixing components as specified in IMS 3.0 and place on workspace. Keep area uncluttered so an incorrect component is not accidently consumed.   To create a strike-off for preliminary color approval, you will need to scale the recipe down to a small batch. Rule of thumb, 500 grams is close to 1 pint.  Carefully weigh each component to 0.1 gram accuracy for plastisol or .01 accuracy for waterbase, starting with the heaviest component. Blend by hand, assuring all components are thoroughly mixed. If blending a production mixture, mix by hand, shaker or turnabout monitoring temperature of 85°F/2°9C or below.

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