FINAT Technical Seminar 2018 – Part 2: Focus on inks and surface decoration
SPAIN • After an intense first day with presentations and workshop sessions, the second day of the biennial FINAT Technical Seminar (March 7-9, 2018), focussed on inks and decoration. Given by a range of companies out of the materials industry the presentations showed one more time the need of the industry to collaborate.
Opening the programme, Bo Meyer (UK) of UEI Falcontec looked at non-ink-based label surface enhancement in the form of hot or cold foiling, embossing, or texturing. This is today a popular choice for adding on-shelf value to labels on consumer products such as wines, he said, as well as for micro-embossing in product security/authentication applications. He laid out the technical parameters for hot foiling — including controlling heat dwell time, pressure, temperature, machine speed, and heat conduction in the foiling tool – and for cold foiling, primarily featuring metallised foils, which may be overprinted to achieve the required colour.
Then it was the turn of Dr Heinz Schweiger (DE) of Zeller+Gmelin to talk about the way in which, in label converting, the issue of ink migration into foods from labels and packaging can be addressed. He showed how the company’s proprietary DirectCure “curing technology for special UV inks employing a reduced number of photoinitiators can cost-effectively replace EB curing n such applications.
Sun Chemicals’ Jonathan Sexton (FR) explored the characteristics of all the key ink drying methods in use today, with a particular focus on UV and EB curing. “Substrate isn’t really important” he stated, but emphasized that the choice of a drying system must satisfy multiple criteria for both analogue and digital print, if optimal results in process optimisation and final print quality are to be achieved. “Talk to your suppliers!” he urged delegates.
Collaboration as key to success
It was time, then, to look at varnishes, which perform a variety of functions, from surface protection to the visual enhancement of print. Volker Michel (UK), Pulse Roll Label Products, discussed their chemistry, manufacture, and applications. He looked at overcoming common challenges – including the requirements of digital print; special finishes such as rough texture; print-to-cure dwell times; and possible contamination of the cationic systems used for peel-and-read labels. The key to a successful end result is, he said, collaboration between ink and varnish supplier, anilox supplier, repro company, and printer to identify the right formulation.
Raymond Lu (CN), General Manager of Dragon Foils, China, delved deeply into the subject of cold foils, of which his company is a major supplier. He discussed the structure, technology, application methods, and currently-active markets for cold foil decoration, which offers time and energy savings over hot foiling, although with a reduced colour intensity. Now used extensively around the world, the technology also now features leading-edge, highly-cost-effective digital printing foils; coloured foils; ‘registered lens’ foiling on packaging; and a variety of holographic patterns.
Coated facestock media used with water-based inkjet printing for demanding end-use applications such as tyre labels and chemical drum labels to BS5609 were discussed by Sihl’s Dr Axel Niemöller (DE). Choice of appropriate inks and media are, as ever, key to success. The print substrate must, he emphasised, feature an inkjet-receptive surface (primarily film based), and take full account of the label’s end use in terms of print key effectiveness, abrasion resistance, and print permanence.
Dr Anil Gaikwad (IN), head of R&D for film manufacturers Cosmo Film, India, analysed his company’s BOPP label films range, detailing their specific properties, manufacture, and suitable label applications. The range includes white cavitated films, high-clarity transparent films, and synthetic papers; and also high-gloss metallised films, both single-coated and two-sides-coated (so printable on both sides), asa replacement for metallised paper substrates.
“People like people – and our customers like to TALK to us!”
In the last formal seminar presentation, FINAT President Chris Ellison (UK), managing director of OPM Group (UK), studied the challenges and pitfalls of choosing an MIS supplier, and provided an in-depth “user’s guide” to choosing, installing, and implementing an MIS system that is appropriate for the label industry supply and service chain. “An end-to-end system: this is the way to go!”, he confirmed, from personal experience, adding that, while systems are great, “people like people – and our customers like to TALK to us!”
“I think we’ve learned a lot!”
Closing the programme and thanking all involved in creating the event, chairman of the FINAT Technical Seminar Subcommittee Alex Knott (B) of Dow Siilicones summed up the event appropriately in just one short statement: “I think we’ve learnt a lot about significant changes in our industry” – a statement which drew enthusiastic agreement from the seminar participants.