When it comes to printing, there are many ink options based on the type of substrates , and capabilities of the operation. Depending on the use, for example, there are Lithographic inks, Flexographic inks, Gravure inks, Letterpress inks, Digital inks and more. Each printing application needs specifically engineered ink that will help maximize efficiency, output,and profits while producing an excellent final product .
Within Flexographic inks, there are four main categories: water based, solvent, UV, and electron beam. While each ink differs in chemical composition and characteristics, it should be noted that price and efficiency are usually the determining factors as to what ink printing companies end up selecting.
With a wide variety of applications for Flexography (printing on packing materials such as boxes, cardboard, paper & plastic bags, food packaging, etc.), some inks are better suited for a particular process than others.
The total cost of EB ink is less than conventional solvent based inks. Cost savings are realized through less energy consumption, no interstation drying needed, 60% less ink laydown, and less waste due to no thermal distortion and quick color matching.
In a recent EPA study titled “An Evaluation of Flexographic Inks on Wide-Web Film”, the EPA became concerned about health factors surrounding water-based, solvent, and UV Flexographic inks: “However, all ink systems contained chemicals of clear concern for health risks to flexo pressroom and prep-room workers, as well as safety hazards.”
The study also found that “press speed was the most important driver of operating costs.” With EB ink, more specifically Gelflex-EB ink, line speed is significantly increased without the need for interstation dryers. Solvent inks, for example, require a dryer between each color station, whereas, Gelflex-EB requires only one end of press dryer.
When it comes to speed, safety, efficiency, and the overall quality of the final product, EB ink is far superior.