INK INNOVATION ALIVE AND WELL – MIDCOMP
WITH RAMAKRISHNA KAHN, CEO OF SIEGWERK INDIA, HAVING COMMENTED RECENTLY THAT ‘MANUFACTURERS ARE INNOVATING NEW FORMULATIONS WITH EACH PASSING DAY TO MEET SPECIFIC PRINT TECHNOLOGY NEEDS AND END USER DEMANDS’, IT’S HARDLY SURPRISING THAT THE GLOBAL PRINTING INKS MARKET WAS WORTH $37.01-BILLION IN 2021 AND IS EXPECTED TO REACH $42.21-BILLION IN 2025. PPM FOUND THAT LOCAL MARKET LEADERS ARE THINKING INK AS STRONGLY AS EVER IN THE QUEST TO SATISFY DEMAND FOR PRINTING QUALITY AND VERSATILITY, AND ENVIRONMENTAL AND HEALTH INTEGRITY. ONTROL THE QUALITY OF THE FLEXIBLE PACKAGING VALUE CHAIN FROM END TO END, STARTING WITH THE PRODUCTION AND EXTRUSION OF THE SUBSTRATES TO THEIR PRINTING, FINISHING AND RECYCLING, SO THAT IT CAN ULTIMATELY PROVIDE IMPORT REPLACEMENTS FOR CERTAIN RANGES OF FILMS.
This article originally appeared in Packaging & Print Media.
Ink and its impact are constantly top of the agenda for Midcomp, as HP supplier in South Africa to both the signage and packaging industry. Water-based inks are the way to go now, group marketing director Angelique Greer maintains, with the industry remaining alert to the potentially toxic effects of chemicals in its products.
‘Solvent inks were perfectly acceptable until inhaling volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and viewing printing containing VOCs were flagged as health hazards,’ she states. ‘VOC-free UV ink was amazing because it dried instantly, but we later learnt that protection was needed for print operators coming into contact with it. Furthermore, to achieve a successful curing process, the ink often contains a high concentration of photo-initiators, only a percentage of which is consumed, leaving the rest unchanged in the printed product.
‘Studies of printed food packaging have shown that small molecule photo-initiators in particular can migrate from the surface of cured ink into the contact material. As the ink has chemicals such as benzophenone, which is possibly carcinogenic, and isopropylthioxanthone, whose effects are still being determined, it is toxic and cannot be recycled.’
These are among the reasons that Midcomp ditched its solvent and UV inks several years ago, favouring water-based alternatives that it has proved perform as well as if not better for durability, colour gamut, fade resistance and print quality.
HP Latex printing technologies and HP PageWide XL inks address environmental and health concerns across the entire print life cycle, from production to disposal,’ Angelique explains. ‘Our latex inks have earned UL ECOLOGO certification for meeting stringent human health criteria and are also GREENGUARD gold-certified for their low chemical emissions into indoor air.’
ECOLOGO is a life cycle-based environmental certification that indicates a product has undergone rigorous scientific testing and exhaustive auditing to prove its compliance with strict, third-party environmental standards. GREENGUARD assesses the presence of VOCs in widely-used products, helping to reduce indoor air pollution and the risk of harmful chemical exposure, while promoting healthier indoor environments.
‘Apart from their environmental integrity, our range of HP Latex industrial printers and compatible inks ensure rich blacks and glossy results in print widths of up to 1.62m – and all prints emerge dry, odour-free and ready to use,’ Angelique adds.
‘With our latest printer, the HP Latex 800, users can print white without complexity as the printer features automatic recirculation and printhead cleaning, which reduce manual purging. This delivers vivid colours at high speed, achieving striking contrast using pure blacks and sharp four-point text.’