Food packaging has to meet high demands: it has to appeal to customers, pose no risks to health and be cheap to manufacture. A central role is played here by the printing process and the inks used. In a joint energy research project, four companies from different areas of the printing industry have developed a new process that has now reached market maturity.
The recently published BINE-Projektinfo brochure “The packaging Olympics: Better, quicker and more economic” (03/2011) details the printing process, the optimised production procedures, the energy savings achieved and the environmental benefits.
The new process is based on a further developed flexographic printing process, whereby special printing inks were developed that can be printed wet-on-wet. A new feature is that the inks are subsequently dried and cured using electron beams in a nitrogen atmosphere. This curing process takes just a few tenths of a second. This new development will be able to replace the previous standard printing processes that are mostly based on solvent-containing inks or are dried using UV lamps. In comparison, the new flexographic printing process requires just a sixth of the amount of energy, while the print speed and quality are comparable with gravure printing.
The global packaging market has an annual volume of 24 billion euros, of which 2.6 billion euros is spent on packaging materials. 240,000 tonnes of printing inks costing 400 million euros are produced each year in Germany alone. The BINE-Projektinfo brochure “The packaging Olympics: Better, quicker and more economic” (03/2011), which can be obtained free of charge from the BINE Information Service at FIZ Karlsruhe, is available online at www.bine.info or by calling +49 228 92379-0.
Press contactUwe Milles
About FIZ Karlsruhe
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