The popularity of a ballpoint pen requires no introduction. The ballpoint pen we use for writing is the world’s most treasured innovation. It is undeniably a staple in our day-to-day lives in the modern, industrialised world. It makes a ballpoint pen unique in itself. Countless people around the world are using these pens each day.
The ballpoint pen has been around for so many years. The ink dries quickly, reducing the likelihood of smudging. Since ballpoint ink lasts longer, they are cheaper to produce. This pen is an ideal option for writing quickly. So, now you know why you sign birthday cards and receipts at the grocery shop with a ballpoint pen. In this blog, we will learn details of how a ballpoint pen works, its advantages, and the problems one faces while writing with it.
Did you know that a tanner named John J. Loud invented the first ballpoint pen? It resulted from his endeavour to design a pen that could write on leather.
How Does a Ballpoint Pen Work?
A ballpoint pen releases its oil-based ink onto the tip. This tiny ball in the socket consists of metal that pulls ink from the ink reservoir. The nib in the socket has sufficient space to rotate freely. Therefore, it rotates in its socket to spread the semi-solid ink onto the writing paper. This sphere is around 0.5mm to 1.2mm in diameter. Gravity forces the ink in the refill cartridge onto the nib. The re-coated socket of the pen produces a cycle of coating, revolving, and spreading. This re-coated sphere is the other half of the ball pen. This continuous release of ink permits one to keep scribbling for pages without a pause.
Why is the Ballpoint Pen so Widely Used?
These pens make it easier to take quick notes on the go since the oil-based ink writes smoothly. Ballpoint inks are waterproof and quick-drying. They even work well on low-quality writing surfaces without smudging. However, one needs more pressure to write. The bearing ball mechanism at the tip is a crucial key that makes a ballpoint pen work. A ballpoint pen's rolling mechanism is therefore its key. The cartridges in these pens have a thick ink formula and a long lifespan. The ballpoint ink consists of a mixture of 30-40% dye. This dye is a combination of fatty acids and oil. The other additives make the colours brighter, make the ink smudge-free, and allow it to dry quickly.
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The Manufacturing Process of a Ballpoint Pen
Laszlo Biro, a Hungarian newspaper editor, successfully innovated a perfect ballpoint pen in 1938. Hence, people consider him to be the original inventor. Nowadays many companies have started manufacturing ball pens in mass quantities. The process is as below:
Producing the Ink
Workers in manufacturing plants follow a formula equation to create batches of ink. They add raw materials to the batch tank to mix them. It also involves quality control checks during ink batching. The computerised controls for adding these materials regulate the heating and cooling rates of the materials.
Stamping and Forming
This is the step of forming the pen pieces. In this step, the workers put brass bands into stamping machines to make thousands of small discs. The workers soften, pour, and compress these discs to produce the pen pieces. The next step is to clean and cut these pieces into shapes. Immersing them in a bath removes the oils that the workers used in the moulding process.
Moulding the Housing
The workers construct the plastic components of the pen by either extrusion or injection moulding. They then cool and cut the components. In this method, workers create the pen body and cartridge. For pieces like caps and ends, they use injection moulding. In the extrusion process, a large spiral screw forces the material through a heated chamber. The thick, flowing liquid passes through the dyeing, cooling, and cutting process.
Ink Filling and Assembly
The first job here is to assemble the components after forming them. Then comes attaching the ballpoint to the ink cartridge. The workers fill the reservoir with the correct colour of ink.
Final Assembling, Packing, and Shipping
This step involves incorporating other parts of the pen, such as the caps and the ends. After the final cleaning, the manufacturer packs the finished pen for sale. They pack groups of pens into boxes. They then ship these boxes to distributors.
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Advantages of Using a Ballpoint Pen
We know it took quite a while to find the right ballpoint pen. The earlier versions of this pen used similar ink to fountain pens. When it comes to a smooth and seamless writing experience, ballpoint is the top choice. Today, ballpoint pens have gained popularity as handsome writing implements. These have been the first choice of school students and writing workers for decades. Let us dive into the merits of using these pens:
The advantage of a ballpoint pen is that these pens allow a hassle-free writing experience. So, you get a constant flow of ink without dipping the tip in an inkwell.
The quick drying capacity of ballpoint inks makes them a unique option compared to fountain pens or other gel-based ink pens.
Ball pens have greater longevity than other varieties of pens since they have thicker ink. Also, it makes handwriting look brighter and more beautiful.
These pens are quite user-friendly since they eliminate the risk of ink leaking. However, one should buy these pens from a trusted company that provides a consistent writing experience.
The thick consistency of the ink in the ballpoint pen reduces the chances of bleeding through the writing surface.
The wide availability of refill cartridges minimizes waste. Thus, we can call it environmentally friendly.
Disadvantages of a Ballpoint Pen
We can't deny that ballpoint pens are immensely useful. But, it is also true that it creates more problems than it solves. Sometimes, even your handwriting looks chaotic when writing with a ballpoint pen. Let us know the problems that a ballpoint pen brings along:
Ballpoint pens destroy handwriting since the pen becomes difficult to handle due to continuous pressure. Your handwriting looks terrible.
The thick ink of these pens can result in messy, inconvenient stains due to their consistent flow.
The inferior-quality ballpoint pens emit an unpleasant smell. It can be harmful to elementary school students who use them.
There is a limited colour choice in the case of such pens. Ballpoint pens are typically available in either blue or black. We cannot easily find other types of colours.
The bearing ball mechanism in the ballpoint pen is sometimes prone to getting stuck and can cease to work properly.
The ink from pens is slightly toxic. It thus becomes problematic when we expose it in large quantities.
Despite its various disadvantages, the ballpoint pen has gotten better with age. It has stood the test of time through all the trials that come with a standard method of writing. We know that this pen has quite a long history. People would not believe that it achieved its position across the globe through years of hard work and growth. It all started with an American leather tanner. Afterwards, it became a project of some Hungarian brothers. And now, it stands out as a world-famous writing implement. People have rightly said that a pen is mightier than a sword. In this article, we learned in detail about the manufacturing process of ballpoint pens, their advantages, problems, and types.
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