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2001 flexo printing ink technology report

with the continuous development of flexo printing technology, flexo printing technology has become one of the main printing methods, which has brought a great impact on the flexo printing ink manufacturing industry. More and more ink manufacturers have participated in the development of high-quality ink. Every enterprise is looking for a production mode and technology mode that can occupy a place in the flexo printing field and open up more opportunities

flexographic printers use a wide range of technologies, which is one of the reasons for the bright future of flexographic printing process. For example, UV, EB and water-based ink technology are still a new and unproven technology in other processes, and they have been relatively mature in the field of flexographic printing and occupy a certain market share

in an article in 1995, the American ink world magazine predicted that the market value of flexo printing ink was 736 million US dollars; Today, they estimate that the value of this branch market will exceed US $1billion, which is undoubtedly good news for flexo ink manufacturers

Bob Mullen, vice president of packaging and printing ink Department of sun chemicals, said: "In the past few years, the growth momentum of flexographic printing is very obvious all over the world. The main reason is the expansion of the inherent market and the occupation of certain businesses from the existing gravure and offset printing fields. In order to occupy more market shares, flexographic printers must constantly improve their production processes, have the ability to print multi-color products and ensure the consistency and repeatability of colors. At the same time, other types of printing The brush method is also constantly improving, which makes the competition in the industry increasingly fierce, and the printing customers are the ultimate beneficiaries. "

on the other hand, due to the development of digital printing plates, the image quality of flexographic printing is getting higher and higher, narrowing the gap between the printing quality of flexographic printing and that of the Chinese industry, which is still in the early stage of development. A considerable number of printers have shifted from gravure production to flexographic printing

the demand for new inks is inseparable from the improvement of equipment. We can see that the progress in the narrow width rotary 4-color printing machine is very obvious, and the number of lines of its fine grain roller can even reach 1000 lines per square inch. In turn, this requires ink manufacturers to configure ink with greater strength and better transfer performance. The ink is usually transferred from the roller to the printing plate and finally to the substrate to achieve printing. In the process of transfer, the performance of the ink should be maintained. For example, the ink cannot be transferred or transferred incompletely if it cannot be dried prematurely in the holes of the roller

expanding market

the packaging products printed by flexographic printing have the widest prospects. People's demand for vertical handbags, packaging of fresh-keeping goods and packaging of pharmaceutical products in this field is significantly increasing; In the market of corrugated paper products, consumers require high-quality images to be printed on traditional brown cartons. The system of configuring ink inside the enterprise will be more and more welcomed by the paper product processors. The system will bring more profits to the enterprise. The ink "kitchen" and the corresponding technical services have improved the production efficiency, and brought standardized ink management to many carton factories

with the growing demand for cartons, the folding carton market also provides a huge market opportunity for flexo ink suppliers. Printers will adopt a variety of processing methods for production, and more and more manufacturers will adopt flexo printing technology

in the narrow rotating label and packaging market, the demand for high-quality images at a reasonable price will continue to grow. At the same time, consumers also require printing on demand, and the length of the operation will be shorter and shorter

in the field of flexo printing, packaging in direct contact with food is another promising branch. With the continuous improvement of flexographic printing technology, it has the ability to print high-quality images at a faster speed. Food companies have found that flexographic printing is a very attractive choice in terms of economic benefits. Compared with traditional offset printing, flexographic packaging products can directly contact with food without any adverse effects. Food companies also found that flexo printing inks, as long as they are properly formulated and dried after printing, have less impact on the smell and taste of food than offset printing products

colorcon company recently launched nt23br series ink products, which is a new type of water-based ink and coating in direct contact with food. This series can be used for packaging products that are in direct contact with food. In the past, transparent packaging paper or functional barriers were used to separate food from outer packaging

water based inks

ink manufacturers have been trying to develop water-based flexo inks. Water based inks can be used in various market fields, such as paper and paperboard, corrugated boxes, multilayer kraft paper bags, toilet paper, etc

flexographic printing with water-based ink is also increasingly used in carton printing. In addition, the further development of water-based ink is expected to further improve the solubility, find new surfactants and be easy to film

although it has been some time since narrow width rotary printers used water-based inks to reduce weight and cost for parts suppliers and OEMs, now some wide width rotary film printers have also generated great interest due to the environmental protection and harmlessness of water-based inks to workers' bodies, solvent based inks will exist for a long time in the wide width rotary market, In particular, those enterprises that invest heavily to control the VOC volatilization of the company within the scope of national standards will continue to use solvent based inks. In addition, water-based inks can only be applied to a few film bases that overcome the difficulties of poor product performance and quality stability of isolation bearings, mainly polyethylene and film coated films, and the print quality of solvent based inks is slightly higher than that of water-based inks, This limits the wide application of water-based inks

in general, environmental factors are the biggest advantage of water-based inks, which are very suitable for areas with VOC volatilization and restrictions on environmental safety. Workers can be free from exposure to harmful air. Because it is not inflammable, it does not require high transportation and storage costs. With the continuous improvement of resin and addition technology, the function of water-based ink will be further strengthened, and it will have enough strength to compete with solvent based ink and energy curing ink

whether to use water-based ink or solvent based ink depends on the cost of investment, which is fundamentally an environmental problem. In some areas where VOC volatilization is limited, if the printer does not have sufficient financial strength to invest in the incineration device for VOC gas treatment, it should choose water-based ink. Water-based ink can only reduce (increase) the temperature of the experimental container outside the tank to volatilize a small amount of VOC, and the investment cost is small

uv/eb ink

uv and electron beam (EB) technology has become a new bright spot in the ink industry and is one of the technologies most consulted by flexo packaging printers. Some narrow width rotary label printers have taken the lead in successfully applying this technology and have obtained good profits from the highly competitive market

from the perspective of quality, UV flexo printing is undoubtedly the best flexo printing method, which is better than solvent based and water-based flexo printing. Deco chem (a manufacturer of silk printing, flexographic printing inks and various coatings) recently launched a rotary screen printing ink, which can be used with UV flexographic ink, water-based flexographic ink or other rotary screen printing flexible inks. Eric Springer, the marketing director of the company, said, "RLP (rotary label plus) ink can be printed on or under flexographic printing ink or other rotary screen printing ink; RFP (rotary flexo plus) ink is specially developed for printing with RLP rotary screen printing ink. These new products bring a lot of convenience to packaging manufacturers."

in the first half of this year, the flexo printing division of Braden sutchin ink company launched a UV flexo printing and rotary screen printing ink production line, which improved the production performance of hybrid printing. This UV ink production line produces products with high strength, low viscosity and almost no silicon

although uv/eb technology has made great development and progress, it also faces many challenges like the emergence of various new technologies. The biggest obstacle is that this technology does not support the traditional printing process. For example, when printing commercial water-based inks replace solvent based inks, it is very easy to achieve, and there is no need to invest a lot of capital, and there is no need to transform the printing machine; However, before adopting uv/eb technology, ink curing equipment must be installed. Although the cost of the equipment has decreased, it is still a large amount of money. It can also be seen that the main reason that hinders the use of energy curing inks or coatings is the cost. Raw materials and related equipment are somewhat expensive, and the cost of raw materials may be 3 to 4 times that of traditional materials

Another reason for the slow development of uv/eb market is the problem of smell, which is not suitable for food packaging, and the market share of this part is relatively large. Many people believe that it will not replace water-based or solvent based inks and occupy the market significantly

the future of flexo printing ink

the prospect of flexo printing technology is very bright. Flexo printing technology is constantly improving, and more and more printers are aware of the benefits it can bring. Undoubtedly, this is good news for ink manufacturers. It is predicted that the market of flexo printing ink will exceed 1billion US dollars

there are two main reasons for the continuous growth of flexographic printing process. First, more and more printers carry out 10 color printing, and 6-color printing companies are very common. This multi-color printing method can replicate a wider range of colors. The second reason is the emergence of hybrid printing machines. In the narrow label market, hybrid printing is the online utilization of various printing and processing processes, including water-based flexo printing, UV flexo printing, rotary screen printing, embossing, offset printing, gravure printing, hot lamination, cold lamination or embossing. More and more packaging manufacturers combine UV flexo printing, UV rotary screen printing and thermal lamination processes to realize online operation

in addition, some printers who do not currently use flexo printing technology also intend to increase flexo printing equipment. For example, many offset printers are planning to expand their business scope in the direction of flexo printing

although flexo printing continues to grow, the cost problem is still the main factor that hinders its rapid entry into the market. End users have put a lot of pressure on packaging manufacturers and ink manufacturers to reduce costs. Aware of the potential market prospect of flexo printing ink and further reducing the cost of ink, many companies have taken the action of inter company acquisitions and mergers. In November last year, Braden sutphin acquired Roli ink company, hoping to further strengthen their position in the market. Now the company has a complete UV and water-based product production line for narrow width rotation, wide width rotation, packaging carton, form printing and other printing processes

flint ink company acquired Alper group company in 2000, which is a major measure in the industry. Flint and Alper are the two largest flexographic ink suppliers. After the merger, the products, experts and manufacturing equipment have become very powerful, and they can confidently provide products needed by various markets, with obvious advantages

in the next few years, there will be more companies

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