By Dr Stefan Kappaun, Executive Vice President of Inks and Fluids, Durst Group
Inks safety, security and standards – our market offering
With regulations in food packaging continuing to tighten, we believe the cost and ability to comply with the future regulatory curve will be easier to achieve with water-based inks.
We also believe that the ever-changing regulatory environment means it is essential to eliminate as many process steps with third-party fluids as possible.
The design of our SPC inks means corrugated converters can print without using a priming fluid, if they chose, and there is no need for an additional overprint varnish fluid and process step.
We have achieved this through adding a sealing step in the water-based ink to give abrasion resistance, gloss effect and anti-slip characteristics.
Our initiatives have had the added environmental impact of being able to reduce paper consumption. The ink enables a ‘non-touch’ printing process with no analogue primer or OVP (Over Print Varnish) resulting in potential topliner savings of up to 20%. This design results in fewer humectants (substances that attract and retain moisture) and vaporable compounds compared to other water-based ink systems.
Another process that will become a bigger issue in the future is deinking – the removal of printing ink from the recovered paper during the paper recycling process. We, in tandem with the industry, will continue to work tirelessly to push the regulatory framework on this important topic.
Our food-safe, water-based inks currently conform to all regulatory standards – such as Swiss Ordinance List, Nestlé and Good Manufacturing Practice – and have achieved the UL ECOLOGO® Certification recognized as a gold standard for sustainability credentials. In general, external certifications are used by us to ensure compliance with even the most robust regulations for food safety, security and sustainability. We are convinced that our water-based inks will be more likely to comply in the future as regulations further tighten.
Meeting the regulatory framework for food safety, security and sustainability is enabled by including a cross-linkable water dispersible polymer in our inks that cannot migrate due to its molecular weight. The corresponding organically pigmented, water-based inks have very high-water contents. The speciality resin in combination with the aqueous carrier allows odour-free and robust printing. A sealing step included in the SPC dryer ensures good gloss and scratch resistance without overcoating.
And what about the future? We, as a world leader within food-safe ink research and development, will continue on-going testing for migration in extreme conditions to prove safety.
Whereas it is the responsibility of converters to test and ensure that they comply with industry standards, we will continue to offer expert advice and support them with testing.