Uflex is the first Indian company to manufacture a gravure cylinder for glitter printing on its state-of-the-art direct laser engraving line. Pigments of glitter inks are substantially bigger in size as compared to conventional gravure inks therefore rotogravure printing on substrates using glitter inks has always been a challenge for convertors.
Talking about the new glitter print gravure cylinders PK Agarwal, joint president Cylinders Business at Uflex Limited says, “It is extremely difficult for a cylinder with electro-mechanically engraved conventional gravure cells to pick up pigments of the glitter ink and transfer them on to the substrate. Therefore in-case of this specialized cylinder, we developed bigger sized customized pits (cells) that trap the high solid content of the glitter ink. The customization of cell geometry of the rotogravure cylinder on our direct laser engraving line is the real innovation here. Pigments of the glitter ink have a tendency to get stuck inside the pits (cells) of the cylinder which is know as cell filling. When the printing surface is sandwiched between the impression roller and the gravure cylinder, the high solid contents of the glitter ink get transferred from recessed cells to the substrate with the help of capillary action and the tangential force of the roller.”
Agarwal explains that glitter inks unlike other conventional gravure inks do not possess self-curing properties. Therefore to enable their quick and effective curing, Uflex developed an LED curing system for its gravure proofing and printing presses. He adds, “The high solid content of the glitter ink on the printing surface renders a superior tactile effect along with the glittering shimmer which enhances the shelf impact of the pack and get customer attention. It took us about one month to develop the glitter print rotogravure cylinder while our chemicals business simultaneously developed the glitter ink. There is great demand for this type of flexible packaging printing for high impulse buying consumer goods particularly in the food and confectionery segment.”
The LED in-line cured gravure glitter ink for solvent or water based ink systems has been manufactured for flexible substrates like paper and heat sensitive films. Variants such as metallic and polymeric glitter are available in several colors while conventional metallic gravure inks are only available for gold, silver and copper effects.