Hi-tech Inks and Reifenhauser India organize seminar on sustainable packaging

Focus on Electron Beam technology for flexible packaging

Hi-Tech inks
Delegates at the Mumbai leg of the seminar. Photo PSA

Hi-tech Inks and Reifenhauser India Marketing Limited in association with Dupont, Comexi, ESI and Wikoff Color organized a half day seminar on the topic ‘Sustainable Packaging – the way forward’ in Mumbai and Delhi. The Mumbai event was held on 19 February at the Hotel Courtyard by Marriot. The seminar was attended by brand owners and members of the flexible packaging industry as well as the media.

The seminar began with a welcome note by Karan Mahajan of Hi-tech Inks and Gautam Prabhu of Reifenhauser India Marketing Limited.

The first presentation was by Pravin Pisal of General Mills who gave a brand owners’ perspective on sustainable packaging. He said the General Mills is targeting to have 100% of its packaging to be recyclable by 2030. In order for brand owners to be economically sustainable, they should go for light weighting, use recycled content, apply design to value principle, use life cycle analysis – cradle to grave, replace substrates with coatings, use monolayers, include return mailing label as well as returnable container for e-commerce, Pisal said.

Imtiaz Rangwala of Energy Sciences Inc enlightened the audience about the Electron Beam (EB) technology. Energy Sciences Inc. is one of the world’s leading EB systems and solutions providers. An Electron Beam processor is a device that accelerates electrons to high energies and projects them into a substrate. EB technology is used in flexible packaging and folding carton packaging to cure inks, coatings and laminating adhesives. It is also used to crosslink films. EB is one of the most environmentally clean processes, Rangwala said.

Evan Benbow of Wikoff Color spoke about the GelFlex Inks. Wikoff Color is licensed to manufacture, market and to sell GelFlex EB inks and coatings in Africa, Australia, Central America, Europe, Japan, Russia, India, China and South America, the Caribbean, and North America.

Gelflex is a flexographic ink system suitable for Cl presses that cures via EB technology. This product goes through a rapid phase change once applied to the substrate, forming a gel-like substance that allows for wet-trapping of flexo inks, helping to improve print quality and expand color gamut possibilities.

Explaining about the GelFlex EB inks, Benbow said it is 90% traditional energy curable flexo ink and 10% gel. Its chemical components include pigment, oligomer, monomer and additives. “Gel provides wet trap and EB provides final cure,” Benbow said, adding that GelFlex inks display improved laydown over conventional inks. Other advantages of GelFlex inks from sustainability point of view are reduction in solvent emissions, reduced heat in pressroom, reduced ink consumption, easy to retrofit current CI systems, provides surface print option, promoting less plastic material and higher recyclability and deinkability.

After Benbow’s presentation, Alfred Menhart of Reifenhauser talked about Ultra Stretch sustainable films which offers advantages such as superior shrink properties, no sealing issues, no adaptation on filling machine required, and maintaining full efficiency of converting process, among others. Menhart also spoke about EVO Ultra Flat films which offer superior flatness. EVO Ultra Flat film helps in 10% resin savings due to less curl, 20% ink savings in printing process and 30% adhesive savings in lamination process, Menhart said.

After Menhart’s presentation, Jordi Puig of Comexi talked about his company’s solutions for EB printing – the CI flexo EB and CO offset EB presses. The Comexi F2 MP is a hybrib press that processes GelFlex, solvent-based and water-based inks. Puig also spoke about the Comexi CI8 offset press which prints in eight colors with a band width of 900 mm to 1.100 mm and a maximum speed of 300 m/min. The CI8 replaces solvent inks for EB curing technology, which allows use of solventless inks.

Guru Kirsur of Dupont talked about the development in flexo plate making and the solutions that Dupont offers such as Cyrel FAST thermal plate maker. Kirsur also talked about the new TD2000 processor which offers new thermal processor design and an improved cleanout performance. The machine was launched in conjunction with new plates and is compatible with new screening technologies and helps in further reduction in emission.

The seminar wrapped up with a short testimonial by Vishal Patel, director of flexible packaging solutions provider, Vishal Containers, who has been using the Comexi F2 MP, a hybrid flexo press for the last one year or so. Vishal Containers is the first Indian flexible packaging company to have adopted this hybrid flexo technology.

The Covid-19 pandemic led to the country-wide lockdown on 25 March 2020. It will be two years tomorrow as I write this. What have we learned in this time? Maybe the meaning of resilience since small companies like us have had to rely on our resources and the forbearance of our employees as we have struggled to produce our trade platforms.

The print and packaging industries have been fortunate, although the commercial printing industry is still to recover. We have learned more about the digital transformation that affects commercial printing and packaging. Ultimately digital will help print grow in a country where we are still far behind in our paper and print consumption and where digital is a leapfrog technology that will only increase the demand for print in the foreseeable future.

Web analytics show that we now have readership in North America and Europe amongst the 90 countries where our five platforms reach. Our traffic which more than doubled in 2020, has at times gone up by another 50% in 2021. And advertising which had fallen to pieces in 2020 and 2021, has started its return since January 2022.

As the economy approaches real growth with unevenness and shortages a given, we are looking forward to the PrintPack India exhibition in Greater Noida. We are again appointed to produce the Show Daily on all five days of the show from 26 to 30 May 2022.

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