Siegwerk, Henkel, Comexi and ESI presented GelFlex EB technology at Comexi’s Technological Centre Manel Xifra Boada. The event, held on July 19, demonstrated minimum dot gain, consistency and improved mechanical resistances as some of the key advantages that printing with EB 730 curable inks from Siegwerk can offer over conventional solvent inks printing.

Printing tests were performed on a Comexi F2 WB capable of printing both water-based and solvent-based inks. The press was mechanically modified to print also with the EB 730 inks. The configuration of aniloxes, tapes and plates was also the result of months of tests, analysis and deep deliberation from the different experts conforming the team.

A 7-color job using Siegwerk inks plus a high-gloss EB curable overprint varnish from Henkel was printed. The wet-on-wet flexo application allows for high gloss and superior abrasion resistance as compared to conventional solvent or water-based lacquers.

Printing with curable inks offers a wide range of opportunities that involve opportunities to increase profitability in the flexible packaging market. Not only does it offer a saving in solvents, but also a bigger savings due to avoiding lamination by surface printing the only substrate to be used, and applying an overprint varnish to increase the optical and mechanical performance.

Additional benefits from the EB curable inks are:

  • Single downstream EB unit, which eliminates the need for multiple curing stations vs UV flexo.
  • Excellent print quality and great dot gain control.
  • Large reduction in VOCs.
  • Very low energy required to cure.
  • Absolute optical control.
  • Printable on both surface and laminated structures.

“The increased interest for sustainable technologies from converters, the pressure from big brand owners on finding eco-friendly solutions, the appearance of different players competing on EB curable inks for flexo printing and the always present menace of a possible restriction (or even ban) on the solvents is creating a huge momentum on the utilization of this technology that has helped to quickly move it forward,” says Raúl El-Fakdi, Comexi’s flexo brand manager.