Uv/eb ink: challenges and opportunities coexist
in recent years, with the continuous improvement of technology and the increase of market demand, radiation curing ink has achieved rapid development in Europe. Especially in the field of packaging, uv/eb printing ink, a typical representative of radiation curing ink, has been widely used, which improves the processing quality of prints and improves the brand awareness
the so-called uv/eb ink is the ink cured by ultraviolet light or electron beam energy. Compared with traditional dry ink, Zhangjincheng, chairman of Luxi group, said: "We have increased investment in innovation, which has some unique characteristics: first, uv/eb ink has fast curing speed and high production efficiency, and it generally takes only 1/10 second to completely dry and fix on the surface of the substrate; second, after UV ink printing, polishing processing is carried out, and the gloss of the printed matter is quite high, and the surface is flat and uniform; third, the printed matter printed with radiation curing ink has strong resistance; fourth, uv/eb ink is not It contains organic volatile compounds (VOCs), which is more environmentally friendly; Fifth, energy curing ink has less irritation to human skin, which is conducive to the health of staff; Finally, the curing process can save energy
nevertheless, it will take some time for uv/eb inks to be widely used in printing. The biggest challenge comes from technology, including the development of related technologies by ink manufacturers, equipment manufacturers and chemical material suppliers such as surface additives. Specifically, the problems of UV ink are mainly manifested in odor, substrate adhesion, high-speed production and the cost that printing service providers consider most. In fact, these problems have been affecting the development of UV ink since it was applied in the printing field in the 1970s. So far, they still plague the whole industry
of course, once the problem is solved, UV ink will replace water-based ink in a certain field and become the most environmentally friendly and durable ink. Some people say that with the EU's legislative restrictions on VOCs, the use of solvent based inks has been restricted to a certain extent, and water-based inks have taken advantage of this good opportunity to enter a considerable market and gradually become a new favorite of the printing industry. However, printers are increasingly dissatisfied with water-based inks because their quality has not yet reached their expectations. At the same time, suppliers in various fields such as ink, equipment and raw and auxiliary materials have been working together to solve the problems related to uv/eb system. Fortunately, some technologies have also been improved and developed to make radiation curing more effective and less costly
current situation: technological improvement makes us confident.
the data shows that at present, the proportion of radiation curing ink in the whole printing ink is less than 10%, mainly because it has more difficulties than advantages in the promotion and application of offset printing and narrow width rotary flexo printing. According to the data analysis provided by Pira, a British packaging consulting company, in the field of packaging and printing in Europe, uv/eb ink accounts for about 65% of the sales of offset printing ink, equivalent to about half of the sales of uv/eb ink in the whole packaging field
for UV flexo printing inks, 80%-90% are used for packaging printing, most of which are used for label printing. In gravure printing, in order to save costs and obtain greater profits, trapezoidal screw will be used instead of ball screw digital printing, printing and other printing processes, the application of uv/eb ink is not satisfactory, and its market share is relatively low. However, with the continuous breakthrough of new technologies, especially the improvement of ink adhesion, uv/eb ink has also begun to develop steadily in the original less impressive fields
ELTEX, a professional company dedicated to electrostatic control, has made great contributions to the improvement of ink adhesion. At present, a professional system has been successfully developed to offset the adverse effects of static electricity in printing production. For example, by reducing the demand for photoinitiators and reducing the inhibition of oxygen on the surface of printing substrates, they have improved the effectiveness of UV inks in the application of sheet fed and web offset presses and reduced production costs. The biggest innovation of ELTEX system is that its demand for photoinitiator is lower than that of many UV systems: its demand accounts for only 1% to 3%, while that of some systems is as high as 10%. It is reported that elte and X company have also applied innovative curing technology to gravure printing. In this field, this new curing technology can ensure that the UV glazing of the magazine cover is completed on the gravure printing unit without the help of the off machine thermosetting offset press. At the same time, the speed of UV glazing can be coordinated with the printing speed of 420 meters/hour or 25000 prints/hour
eltex, a sales director, has used laser 3D printing technology in Europe to produce high-intensity A conference organized by the precision accurate 3D model Gravure Printing Association said, "publishing and printing is a potential development field of radiation curing ink, because the polishing process production of magazines (especially covers) and pamphlets is a development trend. In addition, the application of new solidification technology in packaging and other fields also improves the use ability of UV ink in harsh environmental conditions."
for this improvement, A technical official of the European gravure association also encouraged: "ELTEX's improvement of curing technology has been welcomed and concerned by the gravure printing field. Especially in packaging gravure printing, UV ink has been further developed and widely used. At present, many brand owners are suggesting printing service providers to use UV ink in packaging and printing production, so as to create a strong visual impact effect, which is conducive to brand marketing and construction."
business opportunities: great potential makes us full of hope
in recent years, the electronic industry and digital technology have developed rapidly, and the demand for radiation curing materials has further expanded. At present, the use of uv/eb curing ink still has certain limitations, mainly because the price is quite different from that of traditional ink. Therefore, the application of uv/eb printing ink is also mainly concentrated in high value-added production fields or high-efficiency application fields, such as inkjet printing, flexographic printing, high-end packaging printing
in the field of digital printing, UV inks have only made limited development. Recently, the continuous development and improvement of technology has promoted the application of radiation curing ink in inkjet printing. The biggest advantage of UV ink in digital printing is its good stability. It can be dried and solidified only under the irradiation of UV light, which can effectively avoid blocking the print head, thus extending the actual service life of the print head. However, the disadvantage is that many factors will lead to the reduction of printing speed, such as the limitation of ink supply and the speed of a large amount of ink passing through the print head. In addition, the characteristics of digital printing itself have also delayed the development of radiation curing ink in its field to a certain extent. The most prominent problem is that the composition of printer ink is limited by the printing equipment manufacturer, which greatly affects the customized ink of customers and the supply and research and development of ink required by them
in order to better meet the market demand and promote the development of uv/eb ink in the field of digital printing, many well-known manufacturers have taken the development of new products as their important plans, and have launched corresponding innovative technologies and products. One of the largest manufacturers and suppliers of silk printing inks and prepress products in the world, serico of the United States launched UV curing inks uvijet series for inkjet printing. This series of inks can be used for a variety of substrates, including paper and paperboard, as well as PVC, polycarbonate, polypropylene, polyethylene and other polymers
in the field of silk printing, equipment suppliers have also developed special silk systems to make the use of UV ink more efficient, which ensures that UV ink can play an excellent role in the reproduction of fine four-color images on CD and DVD discs. The technical improvement of UV printing ink used for CD and DVD disc printing has effectively promoted its market share in printing ink. According to statistics, the proportion of UV printing ink has been higher than 25%, and its annual growth rate is as high as 5%-10%
the challenge comes from its own shortcomings
at present, the biggest problem for radiation curing ink is to meet the two requirements of high-speed printing and firmly adhering to the printing substrate, which cannot be solved at the same time. The preferred solution to solve the poor adhesion of UV products is to improve the viscosity of radiation curing ink, but higher viscosity means that the printing speed is reduced
the head of German Bolte consulting company analyzed this: "Inks with higher molecular weight are not easy to shrink under UV light, which is the main reason for poor adhesion, and it is not easy to eliminate odor. In fact, inks with higher molecular weight usually contain acrylic binder, which has high temperature resistance and can effectively promote curing. In actual production, ink suppliers do not actively try to provide high viscosity inks, because they pursue high-speed printing." Service providers are used to using low viscosity inks. "
at present, various excipients provided to improve the adhesion of uv/eb ink also have certain disadvantages. For example, some products contain certain solvents, which usually do not work well with uv/eb inks. In addition, it is impossible for ink manufacturers to require printers to invest in additional equipment to eliminate these solvents to meet the EU regulations on organic volatiles
in a word, only by better solving the problem of adhesion, uv/eb ink can occupy a certain market in printing ink. In fact, water-based inks also face the same problem, especially on polymer substrates, its adhesion ability is also relatively poor. In this regard, an expert in the industry said, "compared with water-based ink, uv/eb ink has many obvious advantages, especially its high temperature resistance. We have reason to believe that once the adhesion is improved and solved more effectively, the application of uv/eb ink will be more extensive, especially in the field of laminated composite processing."
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