Next Generation Curable Inks

Next Generation Curable Inks

We keep hearing about new developments for electron beam (EB) curable inks—and now a new EB ink has arrived. This past November, Uteco wanted to showcase a new EB ink system, and invited various printers, writers, and industry experts to witness the unveiling and judge for themselves if in fact, a revolution in CI flexo printing had arrived.

Over 10 years ago the first eBeam inks appeared in flexo applications. Eventually, to meet the technology and marketing changes, EB ink was improved upon. Gel-based inks entered the arena in 2008, and with the collaborated efforts of TechnoSolutions, Uteco, and Energy Sciences Inc. (ESI), a new ink was created—Gelflex-EB ink.

Gelflex-EB ink has a higher viscosity than previous electron beam flexo inks and with "the special formula of Gelflex-EB, it is possible to realize a much higher level of pigments,” writes Sebastian Reisig, one of the industry experts that attended the Uteco event.

The first thing printers want to know about Gelflex-EB is what is the cost per pound? Assuming it produces a better final product, how much will that affect my profit margin? Will it make a difference to my customers?

"Due to the low usage of solvents, less costs of storage of inks and solvents, less costs of an eventually use of an oxidizer, and less costs of power consumption, makes the price level using Gelflex-EB roughly 20% lower in comparison to solvent-based platforms,” Reisig wrote.

Viewers at the Uteco gathering also got to put Gelflex-EB ink to the test regarding whether or not it produced "Gravure-like quality”. With a possible resolution of 70 l/cm (178 lpi), the end result was quite stunning and produced excellent resolution. Gelflex-EB also showed "other EB typical advantages such as high gloss, high mechanical resistance, low dot gain, smooth ink laydown and high SID,” Reisig wrote.

In the end the experts at Uteco were impressed about the cost savings, final product, and efficiency of Gelflex-EB ink.

Source: Flexo Gravure Global, Volume 19, December 2013