Production of Hanco ink, the Three Roll Mill

Three Roll Mill

This mill, with its hardened steel rolls, is one of many Hanco Ink uses to grind the pigment into the ink. This is done to eliminate any “grittiness” and to achieve the “buttery” grind Hanco Inks are known for.

These things are heavy!

Fun fact: Each mill can weigh upwards of 10,000 lbs.

How it works...

Ink is poured in-between the back two rollers (the ink is warm from mixing so has quite a bit of flow at this point), which are spinning in opposite directions (which is what creates the ink roll that is pictured). The ink is then transferred by contact and pressure to the front roll. After going around the front roll, the ink is peeled off with a long razor blade attached to the apron, it flows down the apron, and is directed into cans. All three rolls rotate at different speeds and the pressure between the rolls can be adjusted to achieve the best grind possible. It takes years for a mill operator to be considered experienced – operating this piece of equipment is an art.