The requirements for packaging of modern products are not only aesthetically attractive, but also increasingly require the attributes of their health. This is especially true for health-care products that are closely related to human health. With the improvement of peopleâ€™s awareness of environmental protection, the urgent need for â€œgreenâ€ printed materials is increasing. Ink is an important part of packaging materials. Water-based inks are simply called inks and are produced by compounding and grinding of water-soluble resins, organic pigments, surfactants and related additives.
The environment-friendly ink and ink market is developing rapidly
The main application fields of environment-friendly water-based inks are flexographic printing and gravure printing. Most of the products of these two printing methods are packaging products, and food packaging, tobacco packaging, and children's toy packaging occupy a considerable proportion.
In recent years, flexographic printing has developed rapidly around the world and is considered to be â€œthe best and most promising printing method on the planetâ€ in developed countries in Europe and America. In the United States, 95% of flexographic prints and 80% of gravure prints use ink. Flexographic printing is still in its infancy in China and currently accounts for only about 3% of the printing industry. In the flexo package printing, the vast majority of domestic and foreign water-based ink printing. From 1995 to the end of 1998, China introduced more than 130 combined flexo printing lines in more than 20 provinces and cities in the country in just a few years. There are nearly 200 narrow flexographic printing production lines in China. More than 100,000 tons.
In the flexo package printing, the vast majority of domestic and foreign water-based ink printing. With the increasing popularity of green packaging and environmentally-friendly packaging, many tobacco companies, wineries, pharmaceutical companies, cosmetics, and children's toy companies are preparing to use flexo printing products, and the proportion of flexo printing in the printing field, especially in the field of packaging and printing. Will increase gradually. It is estimated that by 2010, flexographic printing will reach about 15% in the printing field, and annual demand will be over 100,000 tons of water-based ink.
China's water-based inks were first developed and put into production by the Tianjin Ink Factory. There are more than 1,000 carton factories in each province in China. If 10% of water-based inks are used to print high-grade cartons, each household ink is 10 tons, and each province needs water-based ink annually. 1,000 tons or so. It is imperative to vigorously develop, develop and produce high-grade water-based inks. The product can be widely used in gold and silver paperboard, coated paper, whiteboard paper, plastic film, corrugated paper, self-adhesive paper, carton, paper packaging, books and magazines. Printed flexographic and gravure printing areas such as magazines.
The advantages and disadvantages of ink painting
1. The huge â€œgreenâ€ advantage of water-based inks, due to the absence of volatile organic solvents, greatly reduces the emission of organic volatiles (VOCs, the same below), thereby reducing air pollution, improving the environment for printing operators, and contributing to the health of employees. It can completely eliminate certain toxic and harmful substances in solvent-based inks, eliminate the harm to human body and the pollution of packaged goods, and improve the overall environmental quality. It is especially suitable for tobacco, wine, food, beverages, medicines, children's toys and other health Conditions require strict packaging and printing products. In addition, it can not only reduce the risk of fire and hidden dangers caused by static electricity and flammable solvents, but also reduce the toxicity of printed surface residues, and it is convenient for cleaning printing equipment.
2. Insufficient water-based ink
Whether it is imported water-based inks or domestic water-based inks, there are currently disadvantages such as non-alkaline resistance, non-anti-ethanol and water resistance, slow drying, poor glossiness, and easy paper shrinkage. To achieve alkali resistance, ethanol resistance, water resistance, and gloss enhancement, only flexographic UV inks are used. This not only increases the printing cost but also increases the printing process. If there is an automatic beer packaging production line, the use of alkaline lubricants, the pH value of 9-10, water-based ink can not bear, touch it on the fade. There is also summer when the South sells beer, not only to enter the refrigerator, and some are still immersed in icy water for a long time, and water-based ink cannot withstand it.
Other problems include: Ink is difficult to wet and print on substrates such as polyethylene; drying time is still the most important issue in ink applications, unless the press is equipped with enough drying equipment, otherwise printing The speed is affected by this; the gloss of the ink is lower than that of the solvent ink, which greatly restricts the use of the ink in places where the glossiness is required to be high.
How ink products are safer and healthier
Through nearly 10 years of technological improvement, the ink-and-wash system has successfully resolved most of the previously existing difficulties, and it has changed its initial disadvantage as an advantage, and has gradually grown and matured. Under the premise of environmental protection, safety, and health, how the ink-and-wash products meet the requirements for optimal printing and post-processing, and the improvement of economic benefits is a topic that companies concerned consider.
1. Improve ink performance
The current performance requirements for ink users are: a stable pH ink system, the ink-manufacturing industry must develop inks with stable pH values â€‹â€‹during the printing process, that is, there is no need to detect and adjust the pH during printing; re-dissolvability is another important factor. In the research field, the resin tends to solidify in the process of amine volatilization, and even fixes on the printing plate.
Recently, ink manufacturers have improved the performance of the resin to make it more soluble, which means that the printing system can be run longer before cleaning, ie, the production efficiency is increased; the ink application requires continuous improvement in the application performance of the polyethylene substrate. . The ink-manufacturing industry is expected to increase the surface resistance of ink-and-ink printing, especially in terms of oil resistance, grease resistance, and better heat and freezing resistance. Recently in Europe and North America, product innovation has been driven primarily by meeting user requirements. The specific requirements for ease of use come from users, which will also be the driving force for new product development.
2. Keeping up with the environmental situation
In order to achieve even more stringent environmental management goals, printers are always looking for new ways of solvent ink printing operations to meet government regulations. The current focus of the printing industry is to strengthen the handling of emissions from solvent ink printing. The usual practice is to use "incinerators" to absorb and incinerate VOCS. Other, more creative, applications are VOCS-based microbes or bacteria. All of these methods rely on the efficient absorption of VOCS for transport to systems that can be neutralized or incinerated or absorbed by microorganisms.
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