by clicking the arrows at the side of the page, or by using the toolbar.
by clicking anywhere on the page.
by dragging the page around when zoomed in.
by clicking anywhere on the page when zoomed in.
web sites or send emails by clicking on hyperlinks.
Email this page to a friend
Search this issue
Index - jump to page or section
Archive - view past issues
FLEXO Magazine : End of Year 2008
Sustainable FLEXO YEAR END 2008 www.flexomag.com Formulating Flexographic Printing Inks to Minimize Environmental Impact By John Daugherty and George Fuchs It is difficult to pick up a package today without seeing some indication toward environmental friendliness. Many compa- nies are developing or have implemented well-defined, pub- licly available programs designed to minimize the environmental impact of their activities. The trend in these programs is to evalu- ate all aspects involved in the production and marketing of a product. Product packaging is almost always a key component of these programs. This customer focus has led many flexographic print- ers to begin to look very closely at the "eco-friendliness" of their printing operations including their raw materials usage. Printing ink suppliers have a long history of working closely with their printer customers to meet specific requirements and this trend continues in the new green environment. This article takes a com- prehensive view of the issues to be considered when evaluating the use of a printing ink from an environmental im- pact perspective. There are a variety of flexographic printing ink compositional factors that have the potential to impact the environment. These include the use of bio-derived renewable raw materials, the amount of volatile organic compounds (VOCs), presence of haz- ardous air pollutants (HAPs), heavy metals and toxic/carcinogenic ingredients. In addition, printing ink manufacturers must take these environmental factors into account, while also providing a product that meets both the customer performance expecta- tions on the printing press and the end use requirements of the printed product. At present, there is no regulatory or industry consensus that defines how to minimize the environmental impact of manu- factured products. The USDA defines "environmentally prefer- able" to mean "products that have a lesser or reduced effect on human health and environment when compared with com- peting products that serve the same pur- pose." In the com- mercial context, it is generally accepted to mean the formula- tion of products with chemicals and other materials that have a relatively minimal adverse impact on the environment through the manu- facture, use and disposal/recycling of the product. Printing inks as formulated chemical mixtures have quantifiable properties that can be used to make technically sound assessments of environmental impact. In some cases these properties can be modified/adjusted to minimize the environmental impact throughout the product's lifecycle. All flexographic printing inks go through a conversion from a wet phase to a dry, durable printed film by a variety of physical and/or chemical processes that include evaporation, substrate absorption or exposure to a UV light/electron-beam source. Each Over the last two decades, ink companies have made a significant effort and investment in developing and reformulating ink systems that have lower VOCs than inks sold previously for similar applications while continuing to meet customer requirements.