Mark Miller helps you identify the right material selection for tooling that will carry fluid to your substrate.Read more
Product and Technology of the Year Awards praise Hazen for Titleist golf ball sleeves and cartons and SAM N.A. for slot die with internal …Read more
Web handling expert Tim Walker offers three options for this machine direction folding process.Read more
Marketing expert Mark Lusky offers 3 tips to help you rev up your reputation and credibility in the marketplaceRead more
News | New Products
The Solution Coating Technical Center will offer customer trials and demos, toll coating, and R&D for the coating industry
The Tau 330 UV inkjet digital label press is said to provide up to 2 hours of uninterrupted printing, fewer changeovers, and less downtime
The DSS Compact Coex die is said to provide many benefits with less height and weight
The SPI Automatic Film Splicer performs non-stop film changes in food and beverage packaging operations
Attendees at the Spring meeting will have the opportunity to tour International PaperBox and learn about the company’s best practices
The PrimaPak package for Kar’s Nuts Second Nature Wholesome Medley is a silver winner in FPA competition
The association’s agenda includes a series of conferences and meetings to provide education and recognition to members of the narrow web industry
Directories | Reports
PFFC brings you exclusive White Papers from our online sponsors.
Visit Kelly on Static from Static control expert Dr. Kelly Robinson, president of Electrostatic Answers; Kelly has 27+ years of experience in problem-solving and consulting.
Visit Tim's Web Lines to handle and wind your paper, film, foil, and similar products. Take advantage of Tim’s 25+ years just like over 100 converters have.
Visit Mark's Coating Matters from fluid coating expert Mark D. Miller; Process improvement and project management for precision roll-to-roll coating applications.
Visit Marketing Mojo for dynamic marketing insights from Stephanie Millman that inspire new ideas on how to stay on top of your customer’s mind.
Visit Yo’s Yarns to share the thoughts, impressions, experiences, and news that impact the converting industry. . . or anything else that happens to be on her mind!
Visit Tom's Poly Ploys, where Tom will be writing on various topics that the typical polymer processor would encounter on the job.
- September 01, 2006, By David Argent Contributing Editor
It is estimated the total North American (US and Canada) market for packaging materials is approximately $125 billion in annual shipments. Ink is a relatively minor cost component of the packaging, yet it is the primary link to the consumer market in terms of shelf appeal and consumer acceptance.
During converting operations, ink management as a discipline is a key to productivity and low waste. The table below shows a breakdown of ink usage, which is small in comparison to the total for packaging.
There are three main printing processes used in packaging: flexo, gravure, and litho. There are four different ink chemistries used: water-based, solvent-based, oil-based, and energy cured. Not every chemistry is applicable to every printing method. Below is a summary.
Typical packaging applications for water-based inks include liquid packaging, aseptic packaging, cups and plates, corrugated containers, multiwall bags, beverage carriers, gift wrap, folding cartons, towel and tissue, and retail bags.
Typical applications for solvent-based inks are bread bags, frozen food bags, candy wrap, snack foods, meat and cheese wrappers, stand-up pouches, and towel/tissue overwrap. Use of water-based inks is almost exclusively for paper and board substrates where adhesion, wetting, and drying are facilitated by the substrate porosity. Solvent-based inks are used on film and foil substrates. Energy-cured inks are fully developed and in day-to-day use for litho printing. Their use in flexo is small but growing.
If we accept that the packaging market is relatively mature and proven in terms of materials and equipment in current use, then what is the basis of competition? If everyone has access to equivalent technology, that leaves us with opportunities for improvement in process design, control, and measurement.
However, all too often materials going into the press are selected in isolation, and when combined in a manufacturing process, they may or may not be conducive to high quality, low cost, and low waste. Ink is a relatively minor cost component with a major impact on converting and often does not get the attention required for optimum performance. Two tough questions for converters are: “What is your waste level, and how does this affect your bottom line?”
In the previous issue, this column discussed process modeling, and the concept of a dynamic workflow of “input-transform-output” was introduced. There are measurable and predictable relationships among ink composition, ink density, ink film thickness, press configuration, press efficiency, print quality, cost of use, and end-use properties. These relationships are controlled by system design and will be explored in upcoming issues of PFFC.
David Argent has 30+ years of experience in the converting industry. He specializes in process analysis and improvement with particular emphasis on ink and coating design and performance. Contact him at 636/391-8180; firstname.lastname@example.org