OQ propyls supports industry’s transition away from toluene-based inks

OQ Chemicals (formerly Oxea) is committed to supporting the Indian printing industry with its propyls solvent solutions as India joins a growing list of nations in banning the use of toluene-based inks for food packaging printing, the company recently said.

04 Sep 2020 | By Rahul Kumar

(l-r) Dr Jens Klabunde, application expert, and Markus Hoschke, global marketing head at OQ Chemicals

India’s ban on the use of toluene in food contact materials (FCM) is a progressive and forward-looking step in the right direction. As the industry evaluates alternative solvent solutions, the adoption of propyls is a clear choice. Propyls-based solutions have proven to significantly increase print quality and at the same time, bring down printing costs by up to 20%, whilst delivering an average solvent reduction potential of 30%.

According to the company, propyls has successfully passed five years of application testing. In 2019 alone, 40 trials were completed with conclusive evidence demonstrating a smoother printing process when OQ’s propyls were used in comparison to conventional solvents. In order to validate the outcome from the various industrial trials, OQ has recently partnered with the University of Stuttgart in Germany to conduct three scientific trials on both flexo and gravure printing presses to gain insight on the detailed consumption of ink and to compare parameters with previous print runs on ethyls.

The Stuttgart University trial results corroborated with the industrial verdict from North and Latin Americas that propyls can improve process stability primarily as a result of its superior balance of viscosity consistency and evaporation rate. In comparison to conventional solvents, propyls’ properties provide superior viscosity stability, solvent retention reduction, photopolymer lifetime and moisture absorption reduction — all key attributes affording printers the confidence in being able to achieve consistent print quality.

Referring to the improved efficiency and sustainability that propyls bring to the industry, Markus Hoschke, marketing head, OQ Chemicals, said, “The Bureau of Indian Standards’ decision to put toluene on the FCM negative list is an important step towards greater food safety and consumer well-being. As seen in many parts of the world, the growing adoption of more cost-effective propyls-based solvents provides manufacturers with improved efficiency and peace of mind in the knowledge that they are contributing to sustainability goals through a reduction in the consumption of retardants and solvents.”

He added that OQ is fully committed to supporting the Indian printing industry in this transition and beyond as we expand our presence in the country through the establishment of a commercial office in Mumbai and technical support focused on propyls.

Through research with major printers and ink manufacturers across 40 trials around the world, OQ Chemicals has proven the superior performance of propyls, and its ability to deliver a better printing experience through ink and solvents savings, higher print quality and drop-in usability.

OQ is also widening its range of polymer products through its new Luban polyethylene (PE) solutions, which have applications for food and non-food packaging films including gift wraps, label films, packaging bags, and zip lock bags amongst others.

In 2019, OQ announced ambitious plans to invest USD 28-billion over the next 10 years, which include the USD 6.7-billion Liwa Plastics Industries Complex (LPIC) in Oman.