INX International Ink Co., producer of inks and color management technologies, introduced GelFlex-EB gel-based inks for CI flexo printing. The surface print ink system has print quality similar to gravure and provides a cross-linked, durable ink film that eliminates the need for a lamination layer, reducing costs and total package weight. The inks produce print designs suitable for food packaging and other consumer applications.

“We understand there are specific expectations of brand owners, converters and printers, ranging from maintaining the print quality of graphics to providing yearly cost reductions through improved efficiencies and package light-weighting. GelFlex-EB inks address these concerns and present several opportunities,” says Renee Schouten, INX director of marketing.

In addition to food packaging, GelFlex-EB inks can be used for household, industrial, outdoor, pet food and pet care products. A finer line screen and lower BCM anilox counts result in tonal value, higher line screen plates and contrast range, along with smooth vignettes and solids, higher details in full color images and detailed brightness in high light zones.

“Printers can reduce their overall ink consumption and experience energy savings, compared to conventional solvent or water-based flexo inks,” said Schouten. “Additional cost savings are possible by eliminating lamination layers for flexible packaging and using various decorative and special effects coatings in its place. From a presentation viewpoint, these inks also open the door for new point-of-sale interactions and experiences with consumers.”

As a gel-based ink, GelFlex-EB is fluid for CI flexo printing and thickens for effective, high-speed wet ink trapping. Gloss, matte and other decorative or special effect coatings can be applied in-line. The combined structure is cured by a single EB dryer at the end of the press to create a cross-linked polymer matrix. The company says using GelFlex-EB instead of traditional inks can result in a 30% weight reduction of the lamination layers.

“With GelFlex-EB being a Low Migration ink and meeting various food packaging compliance standards, it is a safe and sustainable choice,” says Schouten. “The dramatic reduction in solvent and improved recycling attributes is part and parcel with increased efficiencies and lower costs. Printers will experience higher productivity with ultra high press speeds and no distortion on the web, as well as extended gamut printing, higher opacity white and less material waste.”

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