Flexographic printing is the most common method of label printing and requires the right type of flexo inks for the process. The proper flexo ink is necessary to achieve the highest quality and process efficiency. Choosing the right type of ink is a major component in the label market, and industry-leading converters are continually evaluating inks for end-use performance and excellent runnability on various substrates.
UV inks have become widely adopted in the narrow web label printing industry since first introduced in the late 1980s and offer many advantages for label printing processes.
The Many Advantages of UV Cured Flexo Inks
UV cured flexo inks provide many advantages to printers with ease of use, lower maintenance, improved print quality, and process efficiency. UV flexo inks are allowing printers to produce better products with a quicker cycle time and lead time, with cost-saving efficiencies. UV inks also contribute to a safer environment compared to the use of other types of solvent-borne inks.
Easy to Use
UV inks are operator friendly and easy to use as they are considered finished inks, ready to use without additives such as thinners, accelerators, or retarders. The viscosity remains constant from the ink reservoir to the substrate, providing a consistent process that is simpler and easy to handle.
Because UV inks cure only when exposed to UV light, the inks can be left on the press, which saves on cleanup and maintenance. Printers using water-based inks are continually battling drying speed, temperature, humidity, viscosity, and solubility characteristics. UV and LED cured inks can run consistently for hours or days and can be left in the press overnight. This eliminates a big variable and a big expense for label printers. The flexo plates stay clean because the inks never cure, which provides high quality for long-run printing jobs.
UV flexo inks provide superior print quality with a wider range of more intense colors, finer, sharper dots, and higher gloss for higher-quality images. UV inks boast properties of exceptional physical and chemical resistance that do not require protective coatings, thereby streamlining the process workflow.
Because of the fast drying time of UV flexo inks, print or save energy while achieving high throughput. Longer and cleaner runs with energy curable inks provide many advantages over water and solvent-based systems. Energy cured inks provide improved adhesion on various substrates with faster curing time and less maintenance on the press, leading to overall improved operational efficiencies. The use of UV inks can have a significant effect on efficiency with less maintenance required over long runs while still providing improved quality.
Evolving Technology Of UV Flexo Inks
Ink manufacturers are continually evolving their chemistries to improve properties while meeting a multitude of regulations, specifically for the food and beverage market. Flexo inks must meet a multitude of regulations where the migration of chemicals on packaging continues to be an ongoing regulatory topic. Regulations differ from the type of product or food in the container and from primary to secondary packaging. Regulations ensure that the chemicals used in packaging and printing are safe for consumers.
It is essential for printers and converters to choose the right type of inks for their printing process and to utilize the most efficient and productive converting equipment.
Tamarack® Products Offers Custom Converting Equipment
Tamarack® Products is recognized worldwide for designing, engineering, and manufacturing high-quality converting equipment. Founded in 1969, we offer more than 50 years of experience as a leading global manufacturer of converting and web finishing equipment such as patching, gluing, and die cutting equipment, RFID inlay insertion systems, inline film, and window patching equipment, customized to your specifications.
Tamarack® Products offers custom-engineered labeling and patching systems for quality, precision applications with various roll-fed materials. We specialize in providing flexible and scalable solutions to grow with your business and adding value with streamlined operations. Contact us with any questions on how to improve your flexo printing process.