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FLEXO Magazine : End of Year 2008
www.flexomag.com YEAR END 2008 Sustainable FLEXO 13 type of ink has limitations in terms of the level of volatile content and ability to utilize renewable raw materials. (See Table 1). Listed below are some of the key formulation tools that can be utilized to lessen the environmental impact of flexographic print- ing inks. Using bio-derived renewable raw materials • Minimizing or reducing the level of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) Minimizing, reducing or eliminating hazardous air pol- lutants (HAPs) Eliminating raw materials which contain toxic heavy metals Eliminating materials that are classified as toxic or known carcinogens Ensuring that ink waste can be classified as non- hazardous Ensuring the dry ink does not impede any potential re- cycling or biodegradation classification of the printed product Individual ink systems have specific performance criteria that can limit or restrict the extent to which these for- mulation techniques can be employed. Bio-derived Renewable Raw Materials • For the purpose of this report, bio-derived renewable materials are defined as any material originating from plants, animals or naturally derived sources (such as water) that can be replenished in the short term. TABLE 1. Comparison of Flexographic Printing Processes and Ink Requirements Ink Type Ink Chemistry Drying Process* VOC Composition Typical % VOC On-Press Emission Controls Water-Based for Paper Various resin types Evaporation NA 0 Ventilation Water-Based For Film Various resin types Evaporation Alcohols or other solvents 0-2 Ventilation Solvent-Based For Paper/Board Various resin- solvent combo Evaporation Various solvents 40-70 Afterburners Solvent-Based For Film Various resin- solvent combo Evaporation Various solvents 40-70 Afterburners Energy Curing For Paper/Board Acrylic monomers and oligomers Polymerization upon exposure to UV light or elec- tron beam Unknown 0-5 Ventilation for ozone Energy Curing For Film Acrylic monomers and oligomers Polymerization upon exposure to UV light or elec- tron beam Unknown 0-5 Ventilation for ozone *When printing on paper or board, some drying takes place due to substrate absorption