Application of SICPA water-based flexo ink

It is estimated that the total global packaging market (including printing, materials, and processing) is approximately 395 billion U.S. dollars, and it grows at a rate of nearly 6-10% every year. The latest figures show the share of various printing processes in the packaging sector, of which offset printing accounts for 45%, flexographic printing accounts for 28%, gravure printing accounts for 20%, and other processes account for 7%.

Corrugated board printing is the main market for today's flexographic printing. In the field of carton printing, the flexographic printing process has also continued to grow, while other printing processes (such as offset or gravure) have decreased significantly.

Corrugated board printing accounts for 27% of global flexographic prints. Folding carton printing is also shifting from lithography to flexo printing. Although the carton flexographic printing market was just formed, the constant maturity of the flexographic printing technology has improved the printing quality and reduced the printing cost. Flexo began to challenge traditional printing methods.


Ink manufacturers must consider the basic elements

Today, cartons printed with a flexo process are comparable in quality to other printing methods, and with the global purchases of packers and brand owners, the prices of flexo cartons are also falling. Therefore, printers must first consider the following factors:

·Ink technology: Water-based ink or UV ink ·Flexographic printing machine: linear arrangement or satellite type ·Inking mode: pumping ink supply system, ink viscosity, chamber type scraper ink supply system · Anilox roller features: laser Engraved ceramic anilox roll, Specifications of the factory-recommended anilox roll, Engraving angle, Photosensitive resin plate: Thickness, Installation, Screening, Dot enlargement, Colour angles for colour flexo printing Screening angles and substrates

So, what are the specific standards in the development of folding carton printing inks?

Due to the continuous development of flexographic technology, ink manufacturers must study creative solutions and propose innovative solutions to support the technical improvement of printers and processors. Printers are working to increase the speed of press conversion, reduce prepress preparation time, use inks that meet environmental requirements, increase press speed, and improve print quality. The product must meet the requirements of the printer and meet the user's expectations:
· Attractive graphics and captivating colors · Worldwide color consistency · Meets current regulatory and standard requirements

In order to meet the requirements of printers and cartons, ink manufacturers must study the following performance indicators and find the best compromise:

·Printing quality ·Paper resistance ·Drying speed on the surface of the substrate ·Good adhesion ·Scalability ·Abrasion resistance ·Good rewetting ability ·Gloss · Dot enlargement ·Minimizing foaming ·Easy cleaning ·Price

Water-based ink advantages

For water-based solutions for folding cartons, a new generation of water-based inks has emerged. Due to the high solid content of ink, water-based inks have many advantages:
· Reduced ink usage · Reduced ink waste · Reduced costs due to ink waste treatment

In most cases, these new water-based inks are manufactured without the use of any volatile organic compounds and are environmentally friendly inks. The use of UV-curable inks produces odors, while water-based inks are odorless. Therefore, the prospects for water-based flexo inks are very promising.

Global Enterprise, High Quality Ink

SICPA Group is the world's largest private ink manufacturer and its inks are widely used in high quality printing. SICPA's strength lies in its internal R&D department, innovative ink formulations, large-scale production and a global customer service network.

In order to respond to the ever-increasing global market, SICPA has provided solutions for the packaging industry based on the global technological status after a comprehensive analysis of printing requirements.

SICPA Commercial Ink Business Unit is dedicated to application research in the packaging field as part of its corporate philosophy of pursuing high quality and innovation. In order to meet the flexo printing requirements for high-quality color printing cartons, the company developed UNIBOX water-based inks. This water-based ink series stems from the UNI concept created by SICPA several years ago.

The UNI concept - water-based ink series, ensures the ink's wide applicability while maintaining the high quality of the ink. Due to the use of selected pigments and multi-functional additives, water-based inks can meet the requirements of new applications and global markets.

UNIBOX ink was officially launched on the market in January 2002. The practice has proven its reliable quality and it has been used by large printing groups and processors in Canada, South Africa and Australia. Some of their printing products have won the printing award. Since the UNIbases used in inks are resistant to water, acids and fats, printers and processors can serve the food packaging market with their high quality and safety products.

Recently, UNIBOX ink demonstrated its ability to apply to cigarette packaging on the Lemanic 67-F flexo printing press at the BOBST Group exhibition. The demonstration aimed at highlighting the characteristics of the ink was performed on an 8-color Lemanic 67-F flexo printing press using water-based inks, with 5 printing units, 2 printing units, and 1 coating The unit is equipped with an online bronzing equipment Lemanic Foilmaster and a new delivery device SpeedFlow 420.

In addition to BOBST, this live demonstration includes the following suppliers: SICPA, LEONHARD KURZ GMBH & CO. KG, Cascades Blendecques SA, Marbach Werkzeugbau GmbH, SMR Stanztechnik AG, Hinderer & Muhlich KG and Iggesund Paperboard.

There were 65 companies visiting the live demonstrations, several of which were representatives of the tobacco industry – from East/West Europe, South/North America, the Middle East and Asia. Printers equipped with online hot stamping machines can produce flip-top cigarette packs at a speed of 100 meters per minute, leaving these tobacco companies with a deep impression. With such a successful and promising demonstration, SICPA plans to develop UNIBOX's best ink formulation specifically for cigarette packaging printing.

Source: Global Box Industry

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