Sappi, Xeikon collaborate on resource-saving packaging
Sappi, the world’s leading manufacturer of flexible packaging papers with integrated barriers and heat-seal capability has joined forces with digital printing pioneer Xeikon in a developmental partnership. Sappi’s long-standing expertise in innovative, paper-based packaging solutions and Xeikon’s far-reaching knowledge of cross-sector digital printing applications and innovative ink technology ideally complemented each other in this collaborative venture. Together, the partners took an important step towards direct printing on paper-based materials and perfecting the recyclability of the resul
25 Aug 2023 | By Charmiane Alexander
With its latest dry toner innovation, TITON and the Xeikon TX500, Xeikon has set its sights on the paper-based flexible packaging market, which, as its partner Sappi has been reporting for some time, is experiencing strong growth due to demand for resource-saving, recyclable and plastic-free alternatives from end-users as well as brand owners and converters.
With TITON, Xeikon is meeting the industry’s need for environmentally friendly and product-safe packaging production: The new toner formulation combines the best features of toners and UV inks, merging the food-safe and odourless properties of dry toner with the special resistance to chemicals and mechanical abrasion of UV inkjet ink. It also withstands temperatures of up to 220-260 degrees C – essential for ensuring packaging integrity and product protection. The most important feature of the new technology is that thanks to its special formulation, TITON can be used to print directly onto paper-based packaging materials without the need for additional varnishing or lamination to protect the print.
Of course, an innovative toner such as TITON works best when the substrate used is just as innovative and perfectly matched to the respective application. With this in mind, it only made sense to test the technology with Sappi products.
The company has the most extensive portfolio of paper-based packaging solutions on the market. Since the beginning of the collaboration at the end of 2022, extensive tests have revealed two qualities in particular that work especially well with the toner:
“We achieved the best printing results with our innovative functional papers Sappi Seal Silk with a 67-g/m2 basis weight and Sappi AvantGuard S Natural in 75-g/m2 grammage,” Sibylle Hajostek, market manager of packaging solutions at Sappi, said. “Both papers have an exceptionally high-quality appeal and were developed specifically for the flexible packaging market. The results we achieved in combination with the TITON technology left absolutely nothing to be desired – neither visually nor functionally.”
The one-side coated, heat-sealable Seal Silk is recommended for standard flexible packaging in the food and non-food sectors in particular, while the uncoated, heat-sealable AvantGuard S Natural high-barrier paper is equally suitable for various flexible packaging applications in the food and non-food markets.
Frank Jacobs, market intel and senior product manager at Flint Group Digital, said, “The print image we created in combination with the Sappi papers was nothing less than phenomenal! Results like these on paper-based substrates can otherwise only be achieved with flexo printing.”
The two partners embarked on this journey together – with a single-minded focus on a resource-conserving approach to nature. The use of a primer or varnish, which is sometimes required, can have a negative impact on the recyclability of the final packaging. And paper-based substrates in particular usually require a primer when printing with water-based inkjet or UV inkjet technology and liquid toner to ensure satisfactory results. Dry toner technology, on the other hand, usually requires an additional coating for mechanical stability in the further packaging process and often reaches its limits in terms of thermal stability.