Music City plays host to converters attending the Flexographic Technical Assn.'s annual conference and exhibition.Read more
Folding carton and corrugated converters will find equipment displays and educational opportunities in die-cutting, foil stamping, embossing, and more.Read more
How well do you understand the relationship between your films and your corona treater?Read more
EVOH allows conversion from foil and metallized film laminations to co-extruded barrier films.Read more
News | New Products
The iAmp2 amplifier reportedly saves set-up time and simplifies web tension measurement
The reports shows the material known as nylon has a number of applications, including some found in the converting industry
ECG seminar will feature a wide range of topics and break-out sessions
The Novamelt location in Germany, where hot melt p-s adhesives are produced, is expected to play a key role in the integration of the two companies
According to a study from the Corrugated Packaging Alliance, shipping in corrugated containers saves 10.4 percent annually compared to RPCs
The 2015 North American Paperboard Packaging Competition, which recognizes excellence through the entire converting process, is accepting entries
A recent show in China was the occasion for the introduction of the modular ‘Concept’ and a carbon fibre chamber doctor blade
Directories | Reports
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- 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; email@example.com