Printing inks: “Market Shift in UV-Curable Formulations”
What do you consider a driver of trends in raw materials for printing inks?
Ray Verderber: Raw material suppliers today face various challenges from the market; most notably is the constant updating/changing of rules and requirements from regulatory authorities and non-governmental organizations. As a result, one of the trends has been the market shift in UV-curable formulations, going from commonly used, economical photoinitiators to polymeric ones. While this shift has limited the overall selection of available raw materials to choose from for the formulator, it also creates opportunities for those on top of the trends to meet the latest market needs.
Looking specifically at metallic inks for printing, are there any new applications?
Verderber: Printing inks formulated with vacuum metallized pigments have been used for many years in order to create decorative effects that simulate the appearance of metallized substrates. There has been a resurgence in the demand for these types of printing inks, especially in the folding carton segment. Metallized board poses a challenge in the waste/recycling process, whereas removal of printing inks containing metallic pigment is already well established. Printed metallic effects help to provide an advantage to brand owners looking to offer more sustainable packaging solutions.
Ray Verderber is a technical manager, Metallic Pigments and Powders, at Eckart America Corporation
What new pigment products for the printing industry are you currently working on?
Verderber: Brand owners and graphic designers are always looking for new effects in order to differentiate their products on store shelves. One of our latest product developments has been a stunning, metallic rainbow-colored effect, as an alternative to holographic foil. This effect had been previously available only in solvent-borne products, but recent advancements in pigment technology have allowed us now to offer this in UV-curable printing inks. Further research is ongoing to determine whether we can expand this technology into water-borne formulations as well.