Kao Collins announced today the launch of their proprietary magnetic ink character recognition (MICR) product. The water-based ink formulation with iron oxide nanoparticles works in the Kyocera and HP thermal inkjet print heads and can be adapted to work in other inkjet technologies. 

The ink has been in development for several years. 

For check printing vendors or companies wanting to bring check printing in house to reduce costs, the Kao Collins MICR product has distinct advantages over competitors. It offers more stability and is longer lasting because of its functionalized formulation. The iron oxide particles are bonded to the base chemistry rather than being coated, like other ink formulations.

Todd Tritcak, the Kao Collins chemist who recently completed the development of the product, said, “One of the problems with these inks is that the particles settle over time. Our chemistry offers better stability compared to competitors.” 

The ink stability is critical for the processing of the checks. If the magnetic ink used for printing account and routing numbers on checks is misread or unreadable, check processing is delayed,  resulting costs passed along to the company that printed the check. 

Kao Collins can formulate their ink with up to a level of 50 percent iron oxide for superior character readability and meet the higher Canadian standard.

There are other benefits of the Kao Collins MICR product. The effective work life of the printhead is also longer. It is less abrasive to the print head. This delivers savings over time. 

The ink also offers a superior decap time compared to competitors.

The ink has applications beyond financial documents. For companies looking to maintain authenticity of documents, the ink can be used for printing verification coding. 


Kao creates high-value-added products that enrich the lives of consumers around the world. Through its portfolio of over 20 leading brands such as Attack, Bioré, Goldwell, Jergens, John Frieda, Kanebo, Laurier, Merries and Molton Brown, Kao is part of the everyday lives of people in Asia, Oceania, North America, and Europe. Combined with its chemical division, which contributes to a wide range of industries, Kao generates about 1,500 billion yen in annual sales. Kao employs about 33,000 people worldwide and has 130 years of history in innovation. Please visit the Kao Group website for updated information.