Water-based inks for flexo printing of plastic films

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SunChemical invests in the continuous development of its offer of water-based inks, with the aim of maximizing the sustainability of this crucial component of packaging.Here are the most innovative families of products for flexo printing of flexible substrates.

In flexible packaging printing, water-based ink is considered an alternative to solvent-based ink, capable of bringing benefits in terms of safety and environmental sustainability. In fact, printing with water-based inks, which have a zero or extremely low content of volatile organic compounds (VOC), takes place without emissions of solvents into the atmosphere and without the risk of fire. Also with economic advantages: the absence of solvents presupposes lower investment costs in the production plants and does not require systems for recovery and abatement.

New formulas from R&D

In recent years, water-based inks have been developed that allow prints with high color rendering and high graphic quality to be obtained, which adhere to various types of crown-treated plastic substrates, with good mechanical and wet strength. The formulations have been designed to optimize printability and performance: today the latest generation products are much closer to those of solvent inks than those which were obtained in the past.

Inks for external printing

The inks for external printing allow high performances on shoppers and on bags of PE, OPP and bio-film to be obtained. The printed material has good resistance to scratching, dry and wet rubbing and does not give blocking phenomena after winding on the reel.

SunChemical produces several series of inks for external flexographic printing, called Aquathene, which vary according to the type of support and the final application of the printed material. The Aquathene brand products, Vincotte-TUV certified for the printing of “OK compost” packaging, are suitable for compostability according to the EN 13432: 2000 standard. This family has four series:

  • Aquathene CB2 specific for HDPE and LDPE (with corona treatment of at least 38-40 dyne/cm), can also be used on other types of film and on paper and have a high solvability in the printing phase.
  • Aquathene SP for PE, polyester and PP. The greater adhesion capacity on various types of films makes them more versatile and therefore more suitable for different types of flexible packaging.
  • Aquathene RAU specific for flexo printing of PE diapers, resistant not only to water but also to urine simulants.
  • Aquathene BIO1 for compostable films, guarantee effective adhesion on substrates and good printability.

Inks for internal printing

The inks for reverse printing, intended for lamination with another film, enable high performance on bags for food and, more generally, on PET and OPP packaging laminated with PE or metallized PET. They are compatible with solventless adhesives and allow packaging with practically zero solvent retention to be obtained. In the Sun Chemical portfolio of inks for flexo printing on PET, polyester and PP they carry the Aqualam brand, and have excellent solvability combined with a high drying speed.

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