In recent years, China's ink industry has achieved rapid development. Its output has continued to grow rapidly, and the level of application of new technologies and new equipment continues to increase. The production technology level and product quality of most enterprises have been greatly improved, and the market for environmentally-friendly ink products is rapidly increasing. Growing, people are increasingly valued. In particular packaging inks, as an important growth area of ​​the global ink, eco-friendly products are in full swing. The important development trend of current packaging and printing materials is to improve their environmental performance, choose energy-saving, low-consumption, non-toxic, non-polluting, and easily degradable pollution-free packaging materials, and inks are the raw materials that cause more serious pollution. Therefore, to reduce the environmental pollution and energy consumption of ink, each ink production company is obliged to pay the bill.

First, the domestic ink industry overview

At present, China's ink industry has reached a considerable scale, with more than 300 production companies, of which more than 30 have considerable scale and production and research and development capabilities, and the overall production capacity of ink is about 220,000 tons per year, ranking fourth in the world. It accounts for 5% to 6% of the world's total production. Generally speaking, although China's inks can basically meet the needs of the domestic printing and packaging industry, there is still a certain gap compared with the advanced level in foreign countries. For example, in China's plastic gravure inks, benzene-based solvent-based inks account for a large proportion, while developed countries such as Europe and the United States have clearly stipulated the prohibition of the use of benzene-based solvents in food packaging and printing. After China's accession to the "WTO", "technological trade barriers" have become the biggest challenge faced by many exporters of products.

Second, the development direction of China's ink industry

In April 2005, at the ink conference held in Hangzhou, many experts proposed to improve the environmental protection and sanitation of inks. It is suggested that the control indicators for heavy metals should be enhanced in the ink industry standards. This year, the new ink national standards will be introduced soon, which will rigorously stipulate and control benzene solvent residues and heavy metal content. The introduction of such standards will enable domestic plastic packaging inks to be linked with safety and hygiene in future product development. For its solvent system, it should be towards benzene-free, alcohol-soluble, and water-based; in terms of its binder technology, it should be towards the alcohol-soluble aqueous polymer system. Polyurethane inks are highly favored by users due to their low toxicity, good printability for PET and NY materials, high temperature resistance, resistance to freezing, and wear resistance, and will gradually replace chlorinated polypropylene inks. Plastic packaging inks will move toward the absence of heavy metal pigments for their pigment systems. If the domestic pigment manufacturers cannot integrate with international manufacturers at this point, they will face the risk of being eliminated. In this way, China's ink will move into the fast lane of rational development.

Third, fundamentally improve the ink's impact on the environment

1. Improve the ink connecting material

In Europe and the United States, plastic ink can be divided into two major types of surface printing and inward printing. Considering the production cost and market development requirements, the current surface printing ink is mixed with alcohol-soluble polyamide and nitrocellulose as connecting materials, and the produced ink can completely replace the current surface printing ink using toluene and isopropyl alcohol as solvents. . The performance of surface printing ink with polyester and polyurethane as the main connecting material is very good. At present, it is the leading ink for high-grade flexible packaging printing in Europe and the United States. Some of the higher requirements for printing and packaging use this type of ink. Water-based plastic film flexible packaging inks have been reported abroad in recent years in the application of flexographic printing. At present, domestic use of benzene-free (or alcohol-soluble) composite ink, mainly based on polyester / polyurethane or PVB resin binder, can print BOPP, PET, NY film, its printability, complex suitability, and specific functionality All requirements meet or exceed benzene inks. In addition, there has been a substantial breakthrough in the research and development of alcohol-soluble inks with modified acrylic polymers, PVB binders, and water-based flexible packaging inks. Similar alcohol-soluble inks have been introduced to the market in volume, such as Zhejiang New Oriental Ink, Shanghai. DIC, Shanghai Si Kebai and Dalian Schmidt have their own special alcohol ink products.

2. Fundamentally eliminate

China's plastic color printing manufacturers vary in size, and the performance levels of production equipment are uneven, with small-scale color printing manufacturers accounting for the majority. Due to the intensified competition in the packaging industry, some small-scale manufacturers have focused on product costs, neglected the intrinsic quality of products, and lacked evaluation of comprehensive performance and safety and health. In view of this, printing manufacturers have made great efforts to strictly control printing equipment, raw materials, and process parameters. However, toluene has a good affinity for polyolefin films such as BOPP, and it is difficult to volatilize solvent residues on printed matter in packaging bags, especially printed products with large ink areas and thick ink layers. Although there is strict process management, once it is out of control, there may be excess benzene solvent residues. Some large-scale printing manufacturers, despite possessing advanced equipment, are often difficult to control the amount of toluene residue in printed matter, which has become a difficult point in the quality control of soft packaging. Only control from the source can fundamentally eliminate it. At present, many manufacturers have adopted the alcohol-soluble compound ink as the printing bottom new technology, and the amount of toluene residue has been greatly reduced, which can meet the current industry's recommended control standard of <3mg/m2. Although toluene residues are controlled within a limited range, they are still inconsistent with EU and US standards, and export products still cannot pass the technical barriers of developed countries such as Western Europe. Only the introduction of mandatory standards can fundamentally solve the problem of the safety and health of solvent residues in the printing and packaging industry in China. Fortunately, the National Certification and Accreditation Regulatory Commission has attached great importance and will implement the product certification control system (3C certification) starting from this year. It must meet the hygiene standards for composite food packaging bags. Only plastic food packaging products that meet the 3C certification standard can be listed. This standard addresses all food packaging companies, including plastic products, paper products, composite packaging products, and glass ceramics. This standard requires that enterprises that produce food packaging materials must implement this mandatory standard from the procurement of raw materials to the production process, to the safety of the human body during production, use of products, and the safety of post-use wastes to the environment. This is a great challenge and a great opportunity for color printing and packaging companies and ink production companies.

Fourth, promote the concept of green packaging

Zhejiang New Oriental Ink Group Co., Ltd. has always advocated the concept of green packaging. Over the years, it has cooperated with (H.K.) Singapore-based HG RESIN Corporation and integrated with the technical development characteristics of foreign alcohol-soluble inks. It has fully realized the adjustment of industrialized organizations and has taken the lead in introducing food and pharmaceutical packaging. Environmental-friendly inks: Among them, Gouda 421FD alcohol-soluble compound inks are specially used for the printing of BOPP films; Chaolifu 303FD alcohol-soluble compound inks are used for PET and ONY film printing; and Chaolifu 313FD and 311FD alcohols. Dissolve functional inks for printing LDPE co-extruded films and other products. These alcohol-soluble (non-benzene, butanone-free) environment-friendly inks are currently used in large quantities in liquid food packaging such as milk and frozen foods, fresh vegetables, milk powder, biscuits, and chocolate. Among them, Howard 421FD white ink can also be used together with chlorinated polypropylene color ink to achieve a significant reduction in the amount of residual toluene in the printing film. In the field of retort packaging inks, the new-generation (single-component) Chao Lifu 3100FD cooking-resistant (no benzene, butanone) alcohol-soluble compound inks have also been fully introduced to the market. The printability and post-processing suitability of such environment-friendly inks are superior to those of benzene inks.

To sum up, ink companies must have a sense of advancement: First, adhere to the scientific concept of development, put the improvement of human health and environment on the top of the work; Second, attach importance to the transformation of equipment and technological innovation. "Prevention of packaging pollution is at the source," and "source" is the manufacturing enterprise of ink packaging materials. Only controlling from the source can be fundamentally eliminated. Third, attention is paid to the packaging safety information of foreign countries, especially the European Union, the United States, and Japan.

Source: China Packaging News

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