InkWeek Day Two: Focus on technologies and ink science

Day Two was power-packed and informative. Six stalwarts from the industry shared insights on how to leverage inks for maximum benefits; plus boost machine performance and testing protocols.

22 Mar 2022 | By Aultrin Vijay

(clock-wise) KS Murthy, Prasanta Sarkar, Rohit Badlani, Faliith Y Pandyaa, Deb Debabrata and Dr JK Raghav

Day Two of InkWeek was informative. There were five presentations (three ink-makers and two business owners) plus a common-sensical opening address by ink industry expert Debabrata Deb. The science of inks was the focus and the feedback from ink users was a welcome addition.

The session started off with a keynote address from Deb Debabrata, director of Future Formats. He reminded us about the turbulent times we inhabit - and how the war in Ukraine has impacted the supply chain. He pointed out what ink makers must do to sustain the business, starting with ensuring higher speed and lower wastage. “They must minimise the number of solvents and use systems such as ink cooling, and minimise ink GSM to cater to the growing sustainable raw material needs of the industry.”

Debabrata made three important points: The industry needs to re-look at the Just In Time approach. The industry also needs to re-examine packaging structures (This is perhaps a good time to look at substrates and material sciences). And finally, one must look at bio sourcing of raw materials for inks.

“India has a huge agricultural base. Ink makers must try sourcing organic pigments and resins and solvents from plants,” he said, signing off, “We have to create certainty out of uncertainty by working together - and collectively.”

The next session was by KS Murthy, deputy managing director at Toyo Ink India, who introduced the latest products for commercial and packaging segments. Murthy’s colleague Ranvikram elaborated the three latest offerings from Toyo.

The first product was Kaleido ink, which was targeted for commercial business. He said the ink reproduces a wider colour gamut, which was formerly impossible to create with conventional colour printing process. The ink is said to be a vegetable oil-based ink with high strength and broad range of inks, with the capability to produce 970 colours out of 1,380 pantone colours (approximately 70% of Pantone colours).

The second product in the spotlight was the low migration inks series from Toyo – Life Premium. The ink has been designed for use on external food packaging, disposables, pharma, sweet boxes and much more.

The Life Premium series is said to have low migration and odour and complies with various regulations. It complies with IS 2846-1 colour standard and allows presses to print accordingly with ISO 12647-2 print standard. He said the ink series has “good light fastness and chemical resistance properties”.

The third product was Toyo’s high adhesion UV inks – the FDO 1 New series (conventional UV). It has been designed for tough/rigid plastic substrates such as credit/debit cards, liquor cartons, cosmetics and more.

The ink series is said to have stable ink and water balance with high strength, and excellent adhesion on most difficult plastic substrates. Murthy said Toyo is committed to sustainable solutions and will be launching biodegradable inks in India, soon.

The session was soon followed by Dr JK Raghav, VP – sheetfed technology and global projects, Siegwerk India, who started off by saying, “Ink is the most exciting component for the whole packaging value chain.”

Raghav said, “Ink contributes to less than 5% total cost of packaging, but is the most impactful and exciting component in the print and packaging value chain.” He said that it requires in-depth analysis of formulations and parameters to engineer and formulate inks.

However, he cautioned that we need to look at customer requirements to create a good ink. “We need to define testing protocols that can translate machine and print performance at the time of designing. Also, there’s no use with having successful lab results if the product does not fulfil customer requirements.”

He suggested that ink makers must design robust ink systems that can work in different climatic conditions on different machines at various speeds. Raghav also emphasised on the importance of supply security in terms of cost and availability. “Siegwerk ensured uninterrupted supply to customers even during the pandemic,” he claimed.

He also announced that from 1 May 2022, Siegwerk would stop manufacturing mineral oil-based inks in its factories and replace it with mineral oil-free inks such as the Vega series, a vegetable oil-based system. Raghav also explained the advantages and benefits of using the Vega series of inks.

The next session was a Show & Tell from Faliith Pandyaa, managing director at Print Vision in Ahmedabad. He showcased two types of inks used in their calendar and explained how it was able to add more value to its customers. 

Pandyaa demonstrated applications created from two types of ink for the job – water reactive ink and light responsive ink. The water reactive ink was applied via screen printing, where the ink becomes transparent when in contact with water and regains colour when water is evaporated. However, he pointed out that the lack of colour availability, excluding white, was a limiting factor to the inks.

The light responsive ink, like the water reactive ink, is applied using screen printing. But the difference is that the ink is responsive to light and remains invisible during the nascent stage until it’s exposed to light.

He said, “We experimented with different types of media to add value to the customer and put a premium on that, thus creating value per sheet instead of counting cost per sheet.”

The penultimate session by Prasanta Sarkar, GM – technical (sheetfed ink), Hubergroup India touched upon the food safe inks for direct food contact. He said that Hubergroup has started producing direct food contact inks and coatings – MGA contact and DFC inks, which are safe for food packaging.

Speaking about different migration tests, he said, “It is impossible to take individual food and run a migration risk test. So, there are six different categories of food stuff starting from Aqueous foodstuffs with pH>4.5.”

He mentioned that DFC inks are not required on packaging where the food is not in direct contact with the ink layer but has common air space. However, it can be used in applications of dry fatty foods and fast food.

The MGA Contact inks from Hubergroup are designed for direct food contact. It can be used for printing the food contact side of food packaging made of paper and board.

Citing restrictions for selection of raw materials, he said, “That applies to colourants. You have a limited choice of pigments. This can be solved by adding three more colours, making it a seven colour system.”

He also gave a heads-up that in order to MGA Contact inks, must follow certain criteria. “A dedicated press is preferred, proper preparation of press is necessary, use of suitable fount additives and water-based coatings are mandatory,” he explained. He shared a checklist for the delegates. This stated: rollers, blankets, varnish pipes must be not contaminated; thorough cleaning with dedicated, suitable cleaning agent;

finish roller-washing with water - avoid any contamination with wash up solution; amount of damping solution should be kept to a minimum; and due to the limited rub resistance of the ink layer use a water-based coating.

The final session by Rohit Badlani, director of MB Industries/Uvbiz in Indore was a case-study of how his company managed to reduce delivery times and shared his insights on how to produce volume for packaging for the big brands.  He also shared his feedback for the ink makers on how they can help future-proof the packaging business.

Badlani had earlier said the ink vendors were lagging in the sustainability drive, and that they should catch up. During the Q&A session moderated by Sriraam Selvam, PrintWeek's editor based in Chennai, Badlani stood by his statement. “Paper is recyclable, so ink manufacturers are safe. But when you go to a flexible packaging space, there is a difficult task for them.”

Sudhanva Jategaonkar, B2B business head at Haymarket SAC Publishing said, "Already we have notched up more than a thousand registrations for Day Three of InkWeek. The essence of print and packaging creativity is the ability to either look at different things from everybody else or to look at things in a different way. That's what Day Three of InkWeek is all about!"

PrintWeek and WhatPackaging magazines along with Siegwerk India and Hubergroup India are the hosts for InkWeek.

Day Three will focus on innovation and ideas. Don’t miss the sessions, REGISTER NOW.