InkWeek Day Three: Spotlight on speciality inks

The third day of InkWeek shed light on the various speciality inks available in the market and how its recyclable versions are helping the supply chain to be almost sustainable.

23 Mar 2022 | By Aultrin Vijay

(clockwise) Chakravarthi AVPS, Lester Pinto, Rajesh Gandhi, Gaurav Sathaye, Jatin Takkar, B Bhaskaran and Akil Contractor

Day Three of InkWeek saw many valuable presentations on the various speciality inks, which are also recyclable, available in our country today.

Chakravarthi AVPS, managing director at Ecobliss India, in his keynote address, shed light on the importance of packaging, especially in the pharma segment. He highlighted the vision of the World Packaging Organisation, “Better quality of life, through better packaging, for more people.”

Chakravarthi believes that packaging plays an essential role in maintaining product quality and efficacy throughout the supply chain. “It acquires more importance in the lifesaving and life-sustaining pharmaceutical industry. Pharmaceutical packaging is designed to ensure the safe use of medicines by patients,” he said. This aligns to his statement, “Packaging will be your second physician.”

Explaining his statement, Chakravarthi said: “Packaging usually has two purposes; to protect a product and to encourage customers to buy the product. However, pharmaceutical packaging must not only accomplish these functions, but also address many more such as protect sensitive medication from spoilage, enable user convenience to access and use the drug, educate patients on dosage instructions, and most importantly comply with regulatory requirements for drug packaging.”

He said the future of pharma packaging will be driven by two major factors the first one being user centricity and the other being sustainability. He also said that almost 99% print converters are now becoming packaging converters in some or the other way.

“Integration of AI has made tidal changes. Today, customers are asking for something different each day. You have to listen to their demands, brainstorm with stakeholders and update our technologies to cater the requests of the customers,” Chakravarthi suggested.

The plenary session by Lester Pinto, managing director at Albea India, briefly touched upon the history of inks. He believed that ink might be as old as civilisation.

He said, “Our company is trying to change the way we make products to make it easier to be recyclable.”

The statement holds true as Albea has developed a paper tube ­– Metamorphosis tube – with a low-profile cap to reduce the amount of plastic. He also touched upon the various range of decorative effects offered by Albea.

Pinto’s session was followed by Jatin Takkar, head PSR, Siegwerk India, who presented on safe packaging inks and spoke about the chemical contaminants that enter our body through packaging. “Increase in packaging materials are also increasing the risk of chemical contaminants,” Takkar said.

Citing this, he emphasised the importance of food packaging safety. He also defined what Food Grade now means in today's times, citing FSSAI guidelines.

He said, “FSSAI and BIS have recently revised the norms related to packaging, which is a welcome move. They have outlined the rules for all packaging manufacturers by establishing the food grade concept for primary packaging.”

Takkar also touched upon the three must-dos for ink manufacturers for protecting the future: Ban use of chemicals with carcinogens, upgrade the negative list, and lay the foundation of positive list standards.

It is worth mentioning that Siegwerk went toluene-free in 2017. “Although we had a business impact, it was the right thing to do. This year we are committing to mineral oil-free inks,” Takkar revealed.

He added, “Promote transparency and integration among the supply chain partners for packaging safety, develop specifications at brand owner level or regulatory lever for better communication on requirements, and create monitoring and auditing protocols for supply chain.”

The next session by Gaurav Sathaye, director of United Speciality Inks, touched upon ink-based innovations and speciality and security inks. He said, “Innovation isn’t technology, disruption isn’t about technology. It is simply doing things differently and doing different things. It could be a simple jugaad.”

To back his statement, he shared some applications where innovative print can be used – brand protection/anti-counterfeiting, warranty expiry/product lifecycle indicators, children-friendly products, smart labels such as thermochromic wine labels, textorial marketing collaterals, printed electronics and more.

“Brand owners want the best effect, but they want it to always be new, at less cost, and delivered quickly,” Sathaye said, adding, “Today, security and speciality inks can be easily integrated into product packaging (labels and cartons) using conventional printing methods.”

Akil Contractor, director at Print Dynamic, started off his session with a beautiful Urdu shayari. He spoke about special application inks and how it extends to applications such as books and toys.  He said that the chemistry of colour change has the widest scope of formulation and “inks and coatings help protect from document fraud”.

Later, B Bhaskaran of Spico Inks gave an overview of his company’s portfolio. Rajesh Gandhi, vice president of Fujifilm Sericol India, in his presentation, said that screen printing matches up better with certain applications than most other printing methods. He also explained Fujifilm’s expertise across multiple market segments such as signs and display, textile, automotive, labels and packaging, corrugated cartons and more.

During the Q&A session, questions were raised regarding the life of scented inks after it was printed and many more. Pinto highlighted one of the challenges, “Packaging made in India must withstand the monsoon. Packaging that does well in the West, may not necessarily be suitable for Indian conditions.”

Meanwhile, Sathaye said that scented inks are available for the heat transfer process. “However, direct heat transfer could damage the ink's composition,” Contractor added.

Takkar, on the other hand, warned about the so-called biodegradable inks, which was flagged by BIS for false claims without valid proof. “The industry should be aware of that. There are no biodegradable inks available as of now.”

However, on a positive note, Contractor revealed that colour molecules based on vegetables are being developed, which could “lead to the development of biodegradable inks”.

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