Squid Ink: Flexible ink-jet printing system

With up to 2.8 in. print height per printhead, and the ability to run up to two printheads from one controller, the CoPilot 500 offers a versatile, yet cost effective solution for coding and marking.

Squid Ink’s CoPilot 500 features the new 502 series print engine from Xaar, a leading developer of piezoelectric technology for the industrial ink-jet market. The inclusion of the 502 series engine allows more print flexibility including binary and greyscale printing, faster print speeds at lower levels of resolution, and user-defined print droplet size output ranging from 15-75 picoliters. In addition, the new larger 2.8 in. printhead makes an ideal solution for users looking to replace the high cost of labels for their case-coding needs.

 Squid Ink CoPilot 500

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Videojet: CO2 laser marking system

Videojet Technologies has introduced the 3640 60 W laser marking system, engineered to process complex codes at the highest speeds, with the industry's widest mark field.
  • Alexander Flordelis

The Record Breaking Largest Book & Smallest Book in the World

There are approximately 2.2 million books published worldwide every year with just a bit over 300,000 published in the U.S. alone (according to Wikipedia).

But only one can be the largest. And by largest, we mean literally. The title of the world’s largest book goes to ‘The Little Prince’ published back in 2007. The dimensions are 6 feet 7 inches high by 10 feet 1 inch wide (when opened). That’s 1 inch longer than the height of an NBA hoop (10 feet) and also, coincidently, 1 inch longer than the average height of an NBA player (6 feet 6 inches). Needless to say, that’s one big book!Largest Book in the World

On the flip side (pun-intended), there can only be one book that is the smallest. And that distinction goes to a book named ‘Teeny Ted from Turnip Town. Measuring a minuscule 70 micrometres by 100 micrometres the book is impossible to read with the naked eye (you’ll need a scanning electron microscope to read it). That’s not the only thing that’s eye popping about this book. The price will also have you doing a double take as this book is valued at over $15,000. Unless Turnip Town turns out to in fact be the legendary lost city of El Dorado, the price does seem a bit steep.

Smallest Book in the World

For how much longer these two will hold onto their respective largest and smallest titles remains to be seen. Best guess would probably say the largest book title would be easier to break, just due to sheer logistics (not to mention the monetary cost). So be careful Eidouro Gráfica e Editora Ltda. (publishers of ‘The Little Prince’). You may soon have some competition.

  • Dan Phan

What’s the Difference between Raw Squid Ink and the Ink Used in Printers?

Raw Cephalopod ink (i.e. Octopus, Cuttlefish, and Squid) is a dark pigment that can range in color from dark red, to brown, to black or blue-black.

For this post we’ll be focusing and comparing Squid ink specifically, since it’s more widely used in cooking and printing.

A Squid’s ink is stored in sacs located between the gills. It is used as a defense/escape mechanism to elude potential predators such as spiny lobsters. The ink consists mainly of melanin. However it can also contain dopamine, aspartic acid, and glutamic acid.

For cooking purposes (e.g. Squid ink pasta) the ink is primarily used for food coloring and/or flavoring. The ink is extracted from the Squid’s ink sacs, typically during the preparation process. Additional seasoning can then be added (but doesn’t necessarily have to be) to enhance the natural flavor. As you can see not much is done to modify the raw ink that is used for cooking/consumption purposes.

How does this compare to the ink that’s used in printers?

Ink that’s used for commercial printing purposes (from companies such as the aptly named Squid Ink) can be composed of many chemicals including: solvents, pigments, dyes, resins, lubricants, solubilizers, surfactants, fluorescents, along with other materials, depending on the manufacturer. Ink formulas can vary but usually involve two main components: colorants and vehicles (i.e. binders). While there are only two main formulas, there are generally four different classes: Aqueous, Liquid, Paste, and Powder. Printer inks and solvents typically fall under the first two classes, Aqueous and Liquid.

So could printer ink be used as a substitute for raw Squid ink?

No, definitely not. The ink that’s used in industrial printing (like the kind of ink we sell here on our site) is absolutely not for cooking or consumption. To give you an idea here’s the warning label from one of our Squid Ink products:

Squid Ink Warning Label

Needless to say, printer ink should never be consumed, under any circumstances. And if for some reason there is accidental contact with the eyes or swallowing that occurs, seek medical attention immediately.

So even though the names may be similar, there’s definitely a big difference between edible Squid ink and brands that make industrial printer ink like Squid Ink.

  • Dan Phan

Why are U.S. Dollars called Greenbacks?

All U.S. currency, from $1 to $100, has green ink on the back of the bills and black ink on the front. But if you’re like many people, you may at some point have wondered, why?

The answer to this question is an interesting one.

According to the Bureau of Engraving and Printing (BEP), the government agency that is in charge of printing United States currency, the answer goes all the way back to the 1800’s:

“With the growing popularity of U.S. currency and the development of photography in the mid-1800s, it was customary to print the notes in black combined with colored tints as a deterrent to counterfeiting. The early camera saw everything in black. Features that were distinguishable on a bill by color variant lost their individuality when reproduced photographically. However, counterfeiters soon discovered that the colored inks then in use could easily be removed from a bill without disturbing the black ink. The counterfeiter could then eradicate the colored portion, photograph the remainder, and then make a desired number of copies to be overprinted with an imitation of the colored parts.” [source: BEP]

Needless to say, this created a serious problem. If the government was unable to thwart counterfeiters, U.S. currency would quickly be devalued. And if enough fake bills came into circulation, the dollar could have been seen as completely unreliable and very well could have triggered a financial crash that would have come right as the civil war began. So the need to deter counterfeiters was absolutely vital.

Image of a dollar "Greenback", first issued in 1862.Luckily the solution was in developing an ink that could not be erased without also adversely affecting the black ink coloring as well. Just such an ink was developed and the patent rights purchased by Tracy R. Edson, a noted banknote engraver. The new bills were produced in 1861 under contract with Edson’s company,
American Bank Note, and were printed with a green tint, presumably of the protective ink. As these new bills began to circulate, the public nicknamed them “greenbacks”.

The federal government continued their arrangement with the American Bank Note Company up until 1877, when the Bureau of Engraving and Printing was founded.

While the term “greenbacks” may not be as prevalent as it once was, if by chance someone mentions it in conversation, you’ll now at least be able to drop some knowledge on them.
  • Matt L

Ever Wonder How Invisible Ink is Decoded?

Invisible ink is a topic that is both fascinating and rich in history. Undetectable by the naked eye unless accompanied by its activator (e.g. fluorescent lights, heat, lights bulbs, etc.), invisible ink is typically transparent right at printing, or very soon after. With a variety of uses, from security measures on money, to printing of official document, to fun activities for kids, invisible ink serves many purposes.

One interesting example comes from none other than the CIA. According to classified documents going all the way back to World War I that were recently released by the government, invisible ink played an important part of our espionage efforts during the war:

“Nearly 100 years after these memos and instructions were written for spies, generals and diplomats, ordinary citizens can finally learn how to open sealed envelopes without detection, concoct “German secret ink” and write invisible messages”. (Source: article from April of 2011).

Let’s explore the different types of invisible ink activators (i.e. decoders), including organic based and chemical based, and explain how each works. As we mentioned, the activator is the key component to deciphering messages written with any kind of invisible ink. There are the 3 main types of activators. Let’s start with heat.


Heat activated invisible inks are made with any sort of acid-based fruit juices such as lemon juice, onion juice, and even baking soda. After application of the acid based fruit juice you just simply need to add some heat to reveal the message. Heat can be applied by any one of the following methods: ironing the paper, set it on a hot radiator, place it in an oven (set lower than 450° F), or hold it up to a hot light bulb.


Chemically activated invisible inks tend to get a little more complicated because you have to know the exact activator that will set off the reaction and reveal the message. According to, “Chemically-activated inks can be made from any two chemical substances that are colorless until mixed with one another. When the message receiver adds the second chemical developer, the chemical reaction between both substances causes the color to change and the message to appear.” Pretty cool stuff. Makes you wish that you would have paid more attention in science class.


Light activated ink works because it contains substances that glow under different types of light (typically a black light) but remain invisible to the naked eye. Light activated invisible inks are a favorite of amusement parks and clubs because they can simply stamp the hands of patrons with the invisible ink that is then activated by a fluorescent light. If you have ever been to one of these establishments it’s more than likely that you’ve already come into contact with this type of invisible ink.

You are now officially an invisible ink expert! Ok, ok, maybe not an expert. But in case you're ever on Jeopardy, at least now you'll know the 3 main types of invisible ink activators.



If you’re ever in need of ink that can actually be seen and read by humans without the need of an activator, please check out our site or give us a call at (888) 311-2828 if you have any questions.

  • Matt L