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FLEXO Magazine : July 2008
TECHNOLOGIES & TECHNIQUES The wet-on-wet printing process can be integrated into existing conventional press operations. It will require additions to equipment. the inks while the press is running. In a conventional printing system, extenders are required to control print strength of the inks on press, but the EB-cured inks' color density strength can be controlled with the anilox volume. Some additional equipment is required to run the wet-on-wet printing process, including a low-energy electron beam, but the process can be integrated into existing conventional press operations with adjust- ments and additions to current equip- - J U L Y 2008 www.flexography.org FLEXO ment. Printing press designs with the wet-on-wet printing process integrated at the factory level are available from global printing press manufacturers. With the wet-on-wet printing process and EB-cured inks, flexographic printers will see an immediate improvement in print quality and color reproduction. The cross linkage created when the ink system is dried using the electron beam, offers a new level of resistance to a variety of com- mon chemicals and environmental agents. A PROMISING FUTURE As wet-on-wet technology and these EB-cured inks become prevalent in the flexographic industry, their potential ap- plications will bring new business oppor- tunities to the market. The cross-linking ability of the EB-cured inks means they are effective for use in printing the chemically resistant packaging required for household chemicals and outdoor products. EB-cured inks are highly resistant to chemicals, scuff- ing, and heat. The EB-cured inks associ- ated with the wet-on-wet printing process include high fade pigments particularly suited to prolonged use outdoors. The inks' compatibility with specialty coatings make them an ideal choice for applications requiring high scuff resistant properties. Food packagers have a critical need for packaging that contains no migratory components that would interfere with the packaging of food. They also have a criti- cal need for packaging that adds no smell or taste to their products-characteristics that end-users might interpret as spoilage in products on the shelves. These EB-cured inks have been shown to contain no migratory components on tested structures, and their lack of odor and off-taste make them a potentially high-val- ue choice for printers of food packaging. In addition, their wet trapping capability gives these inks the potential to dramatically increase the quality of printing on shrink- able film and other flexible substrates used in food packaging, translating into a strong brand image for the customer. . ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Michelle Hearn is the director of marketing for North America Packaging at Sun Chemical. She can be reached at 708-236-3728. This article refers to Sun Chemical's WetFlex™ process and UniQ.ure™ inks.
Flexo Sustainable Fall 2008