Did you know that… Sun Chemical produces not only inks, coatings and adhesives for the packaging, but has also developed a solventless printing method called WetFlex? The German group Knauer has been using it for years and says that…

High degree of gloss, ultra-resistant finishing, a higher food compatibility and, of course, a higher “gravure standard” print quality. These the results guaranteed by the patented Sun Chemical flexo solventless system under the name WetFlex. It uses highly solid inks with EB curing, which enable printing wet on wet on specially configured central drum machines.

The German converter Knauer, established supplier to the food sector with a particular specialization in dairy products, already adopted the system in 2008 and since then has used it to print the aluminum lids of its yogurt cups. Thanks to this technology it has also been able to satisfy even the most demanding users regarding possible implications in terms of “food safety”, has acquired new ones and now plans to expand its business.

Safety, quality, efficiency

«By printing with WetFlex – says Karl Heinz Knauer, CEO of the company – we can use low migration primer practically free of photoinitiators, a fact much appreciated by companies particularly sensitive to safety in all steps of the printing process. But we have also acquired new customers who appreciate the system’s the optimum ratio between quality and efficiency, attained due to a careful tuning conducted in collaboration with Sun Chemical: the machine “runs” very well and with a decidedly low-level of waste, and we have recently taken to using it for special colors».

Guido Pohls, head of the board, sums up the experience of these years: «We have always considered flexography with waterbased products as the ideal method, but with conventional inks we could not get either the print quality or the resistance we needed. With WetFlex we have reached a new milestone, and as far as we are concerned, this is just the start: the current WetFlex “2.1” allows us to achieve highly satisfactory results in printing on foil and now Sun Chemical is working on a third version of the system, with the aim of raising the quality bar another notch higher. It will be very interesting to see the new progress».   

Sun Chemical (DIC Group) is the largest global manufacturer of printing inks and pigments and a leading provider of materials to the packaging-, publishing-, coatings-, plastics, cosmetics and other markets. Its annual turnover exceeds 3.5 billion dollars and it employs over 8,000 people worldwide. The Knauer Group operates throughout Southern Germany with four plants and about 600 employees. It manufactures and supplies plastic packaging for food and dairy, and is composed of three units, each with its own specialty:
– Uniplast produces about 3.5 billion containers and caps a year, with relative sleeving, direct print and IML;
– Uniprint produces 2.5bn aluminum lids per year. Besides WetFlex™, it uses other printing technologies with low migration UV inks, a fundamental requirement for serving the food industry.
– Polylog operates at “end of lifecycle” recycling 2,000 t/year of plastic containers.