Cork Tech Talk Blog

Before soft touch finishes we had to live with hard surfaced materials that were converted into products designed for our use. Think about it! Metals, stone, glass and wood are hard surfaced materials. Most plastic materials are hard surfaced materials, especially those that are used for non-disposable products manufacture.

Soft Touch GrowthThere has been exponential growth in the use of plastics recently due to the attractiveness of light weight, low cost and durability.

Plastic materials have found a tremendously wide range of applications because of these positive attributes. Plastic materials also have a negative side in that they tend to yellow after long term weathering, and are subject to scratching and chemical attack.

Read more: Soft Touch Print Coatings Deliver Perception of Quality

EB Curing Flexible Packaging Breakthough Evolving

EB technology applied to flexo and offset CI presses are competing to be a major factor in the future of flexible packaging.

Electron beam technology is widely used in a variety of industrial applications, including wide web offset printing/coating, food preservation, food packaging & medical products sterilization, polymerization, transformation and cross-linking of plastic films, cross-linking of wire/cable insulations, welding, and the evaporating of metals.

What is EB curing? 

Central Impression ChamberEB curing is a process wherein electrons are generated in a closed environment so as to impact specially formulated inks and coatings causing cross linking (polymerization).

Read more: Electron Beam Flexible Packaging

With the global customer base for retailed food increasing, food packaging must more and more conform to international food quality, and safety standards. This also can mean longer shelf life is a necessity.

Increased global consumer awareness, income, combined with busier lifestyles, is creating a growing demand for convenience foods. Consumers typically want the food they buy to be safe to eat, stay fresh longer, and meet their taste, and appearance preferences. Essential to this end is food packaging that can extend shelf life, and maintain food freshness.

Barrier CoatingsSimply stated, consumers want protective economic food packaging that offers easy open, and see through features, combined with barrier protection from degrading oxygen, water vapor, and aromas.

Read more: Barrier Coatings for Food Packaging

Work & TurnWork & Turn is a term used to describe the sheetfed litho practice of printing on both sides of a substrate. Typically, the first printing pass prints one side of the substrate. A second printing press pass follows as the job is turned and fed through the press again. The second pass can commence after the first pass inks are set and/or dry enough avoiding offsetting.

UV or hybrid(UV) inks are immediately cured (dry) enough to turned and second pass printed without drying time delays. Conventional sheetfed offset (litho) inks and overprint varnishes are based on resin systems and oils that set and dry by time dependent absorption and oxidation. Spray powders are used to dust these conventional litho inks and varnishes to prevent offsetting to the adjacent sheet back, when sheets are stacked in a pile at the end of a press.

Read more: Work & Turn Aqueous Coatings
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About the Author

Elmer W. Griese Jr, having accumulated 35+ years of knowledge working in the coatings and printing ink industries has now authored the Cork Tech Talk News, newsletter since 1992 producing 112 issues. He remains dedicated to educating and illuminating technological progress that offers the potential to advance coating technology and its applications.

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