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Water Based Folding Carton Inks

Inks for folding cartons need to be formulated with moderately high gloss and good surface rub resistance. Find out what are the common types of raw materials (waxes, resins, emulsions, defoamers, surfactants and pigments) used for producing water-based inks for folding cartons.

How to Select Materials for WB Folding Carton Inks?


Water-based Carbon Folding InksFolding cartons are used to pack a wide range of end products, from soft drink beverages to cigarettes and tobacco. They are typically printed by Gravure and Flexography and utilize multiple colors and overprint varnishes.

Inks for folding cartons need to be formulated with moderately high gloss and good surface rub resistance. Specific modifications to these ink formulations include:

  • The modification to C.O.F. (slip) values
  • Product resistance (water, alcohol, detergent etc…) and
  • Heat resistance

In general, increase in wax levels increases rub resistance and slip values (lowers C.O.F.). Waxes can also have an impact on other surface properties like water and soap resistance.


Common Types of Folding Carton Material


Typical substrates for folding cartons include paperboard and small flute corrugate Solid Bleached Sulfate (SBS). Main types include:

  • SBS is a bleached paperboard made from mostly virgin bleached wood pulp
  • SBS Kaolin Coated Kaolin/2-sided Kaolin is a clay coated board
  • CUK (CNK/SUS) chemically bleached with a Kraft back
  • Polyethylene (PE) resin coated SBS board
  • Uncoated Recycled Paperboard made from 100% recycled paper
  • Coated Recycled Paperboard made from 100% recycled paper with a kaolin clay coating

Tobacco Packaging


Packaging for cigarettes and tobacco require strict monitoring of the resins and additives that go into the ink formulations, particularly because raw materials can leave residual odors which can penetrate through the packaging and into the product. With this in mind it is possible to select key raw materials which are formulated with low residual odor and "cleaner" content.

Now, let’s see what are the main type of raw materials used to formulate inks for folding cartons & various factors which should be considered while selecting them…


Selecting Waxes for Water Based Folding Carton Inks


The main purpose for including waxes in these formulations is to improve rub resistance. The table below will familiarize you with the different performance characteristics of waxes used with water based folding carton inks.

Raw Material Rub resistance Scratch Slip Water resistance Gloss

Polyethylene Wax


goodgoodgoodgoodgood
goodgoodgoodgoodgood
goodgoodgoodgoodgood
goodhalf star
goodgoodgood

Paraffin wax

goodhalf star
goodhalf star
goodhalf star
goodgoodgoodgoodgood
goodgood

Polypropylene Wax

goodgoodgoodgoodgood
goodgoodgoodgoodgood
goodgoodgoodgoodgood
goodhalf star
goodgoodgood

Generally the larger the particle size - the greater the rub resistance, but also the greater the effect on gloss, so in general you want to formulate with the smallest particle size that gives an acceptable level of rub resistance. Paraffin waxes are used almost exclusively for imparting water resistance and shouldn’t be used unless this is a requirement.


Select Resins for Water Based Folding Carton Inks


These are the backbone of the formulation and are used for establishing the key properties of adhesion, heat resistance and gloss.


» Find All Suitable Resin Grades for Inks 

Raw Material
Pigment wetting
Adhesion Water resistance
Heat Resistance
Gloss
Acrylic resin
goodgoodgoodgoodgood
Excellent
pigment
wetting in
dispersions


goodgoodgood
Minor
contributor to
adhesion
goodgoodgood
Moderate
goodgoodgood
Moderate
goodgoodgoodgoodgood
Imparts
excellent gloss
goodgood
Unsuitable
goodgoodgoodgoodhalf star
Good adhesion,
but can be
more
expensive
goodgoodgoodgoodgood
Excellent
goodgoodgoodgoodgood
Excellent

goodgoodgoodgoodhalf star
Can impart very
good gloss
based on
compatibility
with other
components

goodgood
Unsuitable
goodgoodgoodgoodgood
Good adhesion
goodgoodgoodgood
Good, but requires careful selection
goodgoodgoodgoodhalf star
Very good

goodgoodgoodgoodhalf star
Can impart very
good gloss
based on
compatibility
with other
components



Select Pigments for Water Based Folding Carton Inks


 Raw Material  Color Strength  Transparency  Gloss/Brilliance
 Heat
Resistance
 Stability

goodgoodgoodgoodgood
Excellent

goodgoodgoodgoodgood
Excellent
goodgoodgoodgoodgood
Excellent
goodgoodgood
Moderate
goodgoodgoodgoodgood
Excellent

goodgoodgoodgoodgood
Excellent

goodgoodgood
Moderate
goodgoodgoodgoodhalf star
Very Good
goodgoodgoodgoodgood
Excellent
goodgoodgoodgoodgood
Excellent
goodgoodgoodgoodgood
Excellent
good
Poor
goodgoodgoodgoodgood
Excellent
goodgoodgoodgoodhalf star
Very good

goodgoodgoodgoodhalf star
Must be passivated for
water based
inks



Selection Defoamers for Water Based Folding Carton Inks


Defoamers can be categorized into silicone based defoamers and non-silicone based defoamers (e.g. mineral oil based defoamers). In general silicone based defoamers are the most effective for eliminating foam, but they are generally restricted to being used in the pigment grinding stages of ink manufacture because they require a lot of sheer to ensure that they are fully dispersed within the ink system.

» Select Defoamers for Water-based Ink Systems 

 Raw Material  Defoaming  Miscibility  Effect on gloss  Things to be alert for
 Silicone based
goodgoodgoodgoodgood
Excellent

goodgood
Poor
Needs high sheer
goodgoodgood
Moderate

Can cause surface defects in
printed film if not well
dispersed (fisheyes)

goodgoodgoodgood
Good
goodgoodgoodgoodgood
Excellent
goodgoodgoodgood
Little effect

Can become solubilized over
time leading to loss of
effectiveness



Select Surfactants for Water Based Folding Carton Inks


Surfactants are used to improve substrate wetting and for pigment wetting during the pigment grinding stage. The type of chemistry to use is often dictated by local availability and price. One should also consider that the more surfactant you use, the more the ink tends to form foam. Many surfactants have the effect of stabilizing foam, so it’s important to select the right surfactant for your system.

» Check Out All Commercially Available Surfactants Now! 

Raw Material
Pigment wetting
Adhesion Water resistance
Heat Resistance
Gloss
Acrylic resin

goodgoodgoodgoodgood
Excellent
pigment
wetting in
dispersions

goodgoodgood
Minor
contributor to
adhesion
goodgoodgood
Moderate
goodgoodgood
Moderate
goodgoodgoodgoodgood
Imparts
excellent gloss
goodgood
Unsuitable
goodgoodgoodgoodhalf star
Good adhesion,
but can be
more
expensive
goodgoodgoodgoodgood
Excellent
goodgoodgoodgoodgood
Excellent

goodgoodgoodgoodhalf star
Can impart very
good gloss
based on
compatibility
with other
components

goodgood
Unsuitable
goodgoodgoodgoodgood
Good adhesion
goodgoodgoodgood
Good, but requires careful selection
goodgoodgoodgoodhalf star
Very good

goodgoodgoodgoodhalf star
Can impart very
good gloss
based on
compatibility
with other
components



Formulations - Folding Carton Gravure Ink


Applicable segments: Beverage cartons, Cigarette cartons, food packaging

Ingredients Parts by Weight
Pigment Dispersion
40.00

Hard Non film forming emulsion
24.80

Film forming emulsion
25.00

Polyethylene wax
dispersion
3.00

Acetylenic diol based Surfactant
2.00

Mineral oil based defoamer
0.20

Water
5.00

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