In contemporary times digital printing is the name of the game given its ability to offer ultimate solutions for flexible packaging, labels and decorative printing segments. The converting industry for long has been grappling with restricted availability of the right type of substrate supporting direct digital printing without prior priming and coating or surface treatment for that matter.
The main objective of any surface treatment method is to increase film’s energy surface for improving wet-out and adhesion of coatings, inks and adhesives used in converting process. Surface treatment of films and substrates may involve several techniques like corona discharge; flame treatment; priming and chemical etching. This could be an expensive proposition besides increasing the lead time.
To alleviate this problem, India’s largest multinational flexible packaging materials and solution company Uflex has launched a special polyester film, F-PDP with modified surface on one side while the other side remaining untreated. This film is digitally printable without any need for priming or coating.
This film can be directly printed without requiring printing plates or cylinders as in the case of conventional printing process. Additionally, the film demonstrates good transparency; optical clarity; excellent machinability and dimensional stability besides offering excellent flatness and agile handling properties.
The polyester (PET) film F-PDP has been certified by Rochester Institute of Technology for digital printing by HP Indigo commercial and sheet fed presses. There are a multitude of benefits associated with digitally printable PET films. These films are suitable for small run jobs particularly for new launch or re-launch of products. The lead time is also minimized at converter’s end since no primer or coating is required. The print results are also excellent with high quality resolution for pictures and half-tone jobs using primary colors – CMYK and white giving results at par with conventional printing even on transparent substrates. Option of special colors like Gold, Silver etc. can further impart depth in printing;
JK Sharma, AGM, technical service and new product development (films), Uflex, said, “Coating or priming or surface treatment of a film for enhancing its ink adhesion properties is a time consuming process needless to mention the additional costs that are involved. Our special F-PDP film is a perfect delight for convertors at a time when the entire world is moving towards Just in Time (JIT) deliveries minimizing inventories. Polyester film suitable for direct digital printing has been a need gap. Other inherent advantages of polyester film like the ability to render excellent print results; being tear-proof and crack resistant make it a suitable and preferred media for digital printing. Additionally polyester is able to withstand high temperatures and remains stable and inert to many chemicals further enhancing its suitability for convertors.”
Talking further about this specialized polyester film, Pramod Sirsamkar, president –technical and new product development (films), Uflex, said, “Depending upon the requirements of the ensuing converting process, we can offer F-PDP film in various thicknesses ranging from 10-50 microns. The demand for this substrate is quite encouraging both in India as well as overseas as a result of which we are manufacturing it at all our plants i.e. India, UAE, Poland, Egypt, Mexico and USA.”
Ashok Chaturvedi, chairman and managing director, Uflex hailing the recent innovation, said, “Digital printing spells out immense convenience for convertors in terms of economized costs; suitability for shorter print runs; less set up time compared to offset printing and unmatched print consistency among others. I am happy that Uflex has engineered a special polyester substrate that is perfectly receptive for digital printing without requiring any priming, coating or special treatment.”