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FLEXO Magazine : March 2009
TECHNOLOGIES & TECHNIQUES Other environmental banned substances that are absent from these inks include: 1. Chlorinated Organic Compounds, such as Polychlorinated Biphenyls (PCBs) 2. Brominated Organic Compounds, such as Polybrominated Biphenyls (PBBs) and Polybrominated Diphenyl Ether (PBDE) 3. Asbestos 4. Formaldehyde 5. Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC). These five substances, along with the four heavy metals, lead, cadmium, mercury and hexavalent chromium, are also included in the Sony Technical Standards established in 2002 to prevent these banned substances from being used in Sony Electronics products and packaging materials, including water-based flexo inks. The four CONEG metals, along with PBBs and PBDE, six hazardous materials in all, are banned by the RoHS (Restriction of Hazardous Substances Directive) which was adopted by the European Union in 2003. VOCs are those organic compounds which participate in atmo- spheric photochemical reactions having ozone forming potential. With a few exceptions, all organic compounds of carbon are in- cluded as VOCs. The presence ofVOCs is substantially reduced in water-based flexo inks as compared to solvent-based inks. In cer- tain instances, VOCs can be reduced to zero. Formulations can be developed whereby ingredients are free ofVOCs, therefore, the ink is VOC free. If at all possible, VOCs can be easily and substantially reduced if the formulator does not use additives or ingredients such as low molecular weight alcohols, glycols, glycol ethers and amines. The new line of sustainable rosin ester-based inks has very little to no VOCs. Generally, they contain less than 1 percent VOCs. HAPs are another group of chemical compounds that have det- rimental effects on the environment. The list of HAPs contains about 200 chemicals including methanol, methyl isobutyl ketone, diethanol amine, triethylamine and certain glycol ethers such as the mono- and di-ethers of ethylene, diethylene and triethylene glycol. Most water-based flexo inks can be formulated so that they are free of HAPs. The new rosin ester water flexo inks do not contain any HAPs at all. The European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) has just published a Candidate List of 15 substances of very high concern (SVHC), which are either toxic, mutagenic, carcinogenic or some combination. The SVHC Candidate list includes compounds such as anthracene, dibutyl phthalate, cobalt di- chloride, sodium dichromate, etc. Water-based flexo inks, in general, do not and should not contain any of these 15 substances. The rosin es- ter inks, in particular, have absolutely no SVHCs in their formulations or in their constituent raw materials. The Canadian Department of the Environment, Canadian Environmental Protection Act of 1999, lists 14 chemicals that are hazardous to health and to the environment. Some of the compounds on the list include pigment yellow 60, pigment brown 22, isophorone, Michler's ketone, and dioxane. - Water-based flexo inks do not normally contain any of these banned chemicals, and rosin ester inks, definitely, have none of these in their formulations. BETTER FOOTPRINT Use of green, sustainable, environmentally friendly and eco- logically compatible water-based flexographic inks, especially eco-friendly inks from renewable pine rosin esters, may result in energy conservation and a reduced carbon footprint. Although exact figures cannot be obtained at this time, it is estimated that about three gallons of oil, used to make acrylics derived from pe- troleum, can be saved per 55gal drum of ink, by replacing acrylics with rosin esters. Again, as an estimate, this represents a savings of approximately 60lbs of carbon dioxide per one drum of ink, or about 6lbs of carbon dioxide per 5gal pail of ink. The new water-based flexo inks discussed above have been shown to be green, sustainable and environmentally and ecologi- cally friendly products. These inks are formulated with rosin es- ters which are derived from renewable pine tree tall oil rosin. The rosin esters replace petroleum-based acrylic resins, thus, preserv- ing petroleum resources, even at very small amounts. The rosin ester inks were shown to have properties equal to or, in certain cases, better than conventional acrylic inks, they are free or con- tain very low VOCs, they are free of HAPs, they are free of heavy metals and other environmental banned substances (CONEG, TPCH, Sony Standard and RoHS), they are free of any of the 15 SVHCs of the European Chemicals Agency List, and they are free of any of the 14 hazardous substances listed in the Canadian Environmental Protection Act. . ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Theodore Vemardakis is the director of research and development at BCM Inks in Cincinnati, OH. BCM is a manufacturer ofwater-basedflexo inks for the high-graphics cor- rugated printing industry. Vemardakis received his Ph.D. in Physical Chemistry from Oklahoma State University. He was a post-doctoral research fellow at the University of Cincinnati. He has been in the pig- ment and printing ink industry for more than 30 years. You may con- tact him at 513 469-0400 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. MARCH 2009 www.f I exog ra p hy.o rg FLEXO
Sustainable Winter 2009