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Sun Chemical Develops Alternatives to Solvent Flexo Printing

Published on 2007-06-29. Author : SpecialChem

OSNABRÜCK, GERMANY -- Sun Chemical announced a significant breakthrough in water-based ink technology for flexographic printing on polythene (PE) film. The company's new approach offers a viable and cost-effective alternative to solvent-based inks, and allows printers to comply with pending European legislation that will affect the industry while printing up to 600 metres per minute.

From October 2007, the Solvent Emissions Directive states that every printing firm that uses more than 15 tonnes of solvents per year must either invest in incineration units or find alternatives for 75% of its solvent-based print colours. In addition, the Integrated Pollution Prevention and Control Directive legislates that printing firms using more than 200 tonnes of solvents per year must be in possession of a specific environmental certificate and must strictly apply procedures according to "best practice techniques".

Sun Chemical's innovative breakthrough is the use of modified amine soluble resins, which crosslink after they transfer from the press to the substrate, making the inks fully water resistant when dry. Each of the inks - known as Barracuda, Piranha and Beluga - has been designed for specific applications.

Erik Segers, Corporate Product Manager Liquid Inks, Sun Chemical Europe, said: "With the European legislation due to be introduced in October, only two real alternatives exist for printers currently using solvent-based inks for flexo PE printing; they make a significant investment in incinerating equipment, or they find alternative inks and lacquers. With these latest products, we believe we now have a water-based PE ink that not only offers printers comparable quality, but significant cost savings over solvent-based inks.

"Water-based inks are ideal for smaller printing businesses which do not have the capital to invest in the more costly incinerating equipment. Additionally, unlike the use of incinerators, water-based inks will not increase printers' carbon emissions, which could be taxed in the future to address concerns about global warming. Early trials suggest the total cost of print could be reduced up to 20% by switching from solvent-based to water-based ink. However, this could vary depending on a printer's individual circumstances. The savings would be achieved primarily through the lower cost for emission treatment of the water-based ink.

"Together with our Wetflex™ electron beam-curing ink and UV-based flexo printing inks, the new water-based inks allow us to support our customers with a range of options that meet the new environmental regulations and help them meet the requirements of the steadily growing PE packaging market."

About Sun Chemical

Sun Chemical, the world's largest producer of printing inks and pigments, is a leading provider of materials to packaging, publication, coatings, plastics, cosmetics, and other industrial markets. With annual sales over $3 billion, Sun Chemical has over 11,000 employees supporting customers around the world. The Sun Chemical Group of companies includes such established names as Coates, Hartmann, Kohl & Madden, and US Ink.

Sun Chemical Corporation in the U.S. and Sun Chemical Limited in England are subsidiaries of Sun Chemical Group B.V., the Netherlands. Sun Chemical has headquarters in Parsippany, New Jersey, U.S.A.; Slough, England; and Weesp, the Netherlands.

Source: Sun Chemical


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