Challenges and opportunities coexist in the hottes

2022-08-02
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Uv/eb ink Market: challenges and opportunities coexist

in recent years, with the continuous improvement of technology and the increase of market demand, radiation curing ink has achieved rapid development in Europe. Especially in the field of packaging, uv/eb printing ink, a typical representative of radiation curing ink, has been widely used. It has improved the processing quality of prints and improved the brand awareness

the so-called uv/eb ink is the ink cured by ultraviolet light or electron beam energy. Compared with the traditional drying ink, it has some unique characteristics: first, uv/eb ink has fast curing speed and high production efficiency. Generally, it can be completely dried and fixed on the substrate surface in only 1/10 second; Second, after UV ink printing, polish the printing, the gloss of the printing is quite high, and the surface is flat and uniform; Third, the printing products printed with radiation curing ink have strong resistance; Fourth, uv/eb ink does not contain volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which is more environmentally friendly; Fifth, the energy curing ink is less irritating to human skin, which is conducive to the health of staff; Finally, the curing process can save energy

however, it will take some time for uv/eb ink to be widely used in printing. The biggest challenge comes from technology, including the development of related technologies by ink manufacturers, equipment manufacturers and suppliers of chemical materials such as surface additives. Specifically, the problems of UV ink are mainly manifested in odor, substrate adhesion, high-speed production and the cost that printing service providers consider most. In fact, these problems have been affecting the development of UV ink since it was applied in the printing field in the 1970s. Up to now, they still plague the whole industry. Introduction to metal drawing process

of course, once the problem is solved, UV ink will replace water-based ink in certain fields and become the most environmentally friendly and durable ink. Some people say that with the EU's legislative restrictions on VOCs, the use of solvent based inks has been restricted to a certain extent. Water based inks have taken advantage of this good opportunity to enter a considerable market and gradually become a new favorite of the printing industry. However, printers are increasingly dissatisfied with water-based inks because their quality has not yet reached their expectations. At the same time, suppliers in various fields such as ink, equipment and raw and auxiliary materials have been working together to solve the problems related to the uv/eb system. Fortunately, some technologies have also been improved and developed to make radiation curing more effective and lower cost

current situation: technical improvement makes us confident.

the data shows that at present, the proportion of radiation curing ink in the whole printing ink is less than 10%, which is mainly because it has more difficulties than advantages in the promotion and application of offset printing and narrow width rotary flexo printing. According to the data analysis provided by Pira, a British packaging consulting company, in the packaging and printing field in Europe, uv/eb ink accounts for about 441.365% of the sales of offset printing ink, equivalent to about half of the sales of uv/eb ink in the whole packaging field

for UV flexo printing inks, 80%-90% are used for packaging printing, most of which are used for label printing. In gravure printing, digital printing, printing and other printing processes, the application of uv/eb ink is not satisfactory, and its market share is relatively low. However, with the continuous breakthrough of new technologies, especially the improvement of ink adhesion, uv/eb ink has also begun to develop steadily in the original less impressive fields

ELTEX, a professional company dedicated to electrostatic control, has made great contributions to the improvement of ink adhesion. At present, a professional system has been successfully developed to offset the adverse effects of static electricity in printing production. For example, they improve the effectiveness of UV ink in sheet fed and web offset press applications and reduce production costs by reducing the demand for photoinitiators and reducing the inhibition of oxygen on the surface of printing substrates. The biggest innovation of ELTEX system is that its demand for photoinitiator is lower than that of many UV systems: its demand accounts for only 1%-3%, while that of some systems is as high as 10%. It is reported that ELTEX has also applied innovative curing technology to gravure printing. In this field, this new curing technology can ensure that the UV glazing of the magazine cover is completed on the gravure printing unit without the help of an off-line thermosetting offset press. At the same time, the speed of UV glazing can be coordinated with the printing speed of 420 M/h or 25000 prints/h

eltex, a sales executive, At a conference organized by the European Gravure Printing Association, he said: "publishing and printing is a potential development field of radiation curing ink, because the polishing process of magazines (especially covers) and pamphlets is a development trend. However, in addition, the application of new curing technology in packaging and other fields has also improved the use ability of UV ink in harsh environmental conditions."

for this improvement, A technical official of the European gravure association also encouraged: "ELTEX's improvement in curing technology has been welcomed and concerned by gravure printing. Especially in packaging gravure printing, UV ink has been further developed and widely used. At present, many brand owners are suggesting printing service providers to use UV ink in packaging printing production, so as to create a strong visual impact effect, which will help brand marketing and construction."

business opportunities: great potential makes us full of hope

in recent years, the electronic industry and digital technology have developed rapidly, and the demand for radiation curing materials has further expanded. At present, the use of uv/eb curing ink still has some limitations, mainly because the price is quite different from that of traditional ink. Therefore, the application of uv/eb printing ink is mainly concentrated in high value-added production areas or high-efficiency application areas, such as inkjet printing, flexographic printing and high-end packaging printing

in the field of digital printing, UV ink has only made limited development. Recently, the continuous development and improvement of technology has promoted the application of radiation curing ink in inkjet printing. The biggest advantage of UV ink in digital printing is its good stability. It can only be dried and solidified under the irradiation of UV light, which can effectively avoid blocking the print head, thus extending the actual service life of the print head. However, the disadvantage is that many factors will reduce the printing speed, such as the tensile strength of oil breaking elongation and tensile energy absorption, the limitations of the ink supply link itself, and the speed at which a large amount of ink passes through the print head. In addition, the characteristics of digital printing also delay the development of radiation curing ink in its field to a certain extent. The most prominent problem is that the composition of printer ink is limited by the printing equipment manufacturer, which greatly affects the supply and R & D of customized ink and other ink requirements

in order to better meet the market demand and promote the development of uv/eb ink in the field of digital printing, many well-known manufacturers have taken the development of new products as their important plans, and have launched corresponding innovative technologies and products. One of the world's largest manufacturers and suppliers of silk printing inks and prepress products, Sericol company of the United States launched UV curing inks uvijet series for inkjet printing. This series of inks can be used for a variety of substrates, including paper and paperboard, as well as PVC, polycarbonate, polypropylene, polyethylene and other polymers

in the field of silk printing, equipment suppliers have also developed special silk systems to make the use of UV ink more efficient, which ensures that UV ink can play an outstanding role in the reproduction of fine four-color images on CD and DVD discs. The technical improvement of UV printing ink for CD and DVD disc printing effectively promoted its market share in printing ink. According to statistics, the proportion of UV printing ink has been higher than 25%, and its annual growth rate is as high as 5%-10%

the challenge comes from its own shortcomings.

at present, the biggest problem with radiation curing ink is that it can not meet the two requirements of high-speed printing and firmly adhering to the printing substrate at the same time. The preferred solution to solve the poor adhesion of UV products is to improve the viscosity of radiation curing ink, but higher viscosity means that the printing speed is reduced

the head of German Bolte consulting company analyzed this: "Inks with high molecular weight are not easy to shrink under UV light irradiation, which is the main reason for poor adhesion. At the same time, it is not easy to eliminate odor. In fact, inks with high molecular weight usually contain acrylic binder, which has high temperature resistance and can effectively promote curing. In actual production, ink suppliers do not actively try to provide high viscosity inks because they pursue printing with high-speed printing Service providers are used to using low viscosity inks. "

at present, various auxiliary materials provided to improve the adhesion of uv/eb ink also have certain disadvantages. For example, some products contain certain solvents, which usually do not work well with uv/eb inks. In addition, it is impossible for ink manufacturers to require printers to invest in additional equipment to eliminate these solvents to meet EU regulations on organic volatiles

in a word, only by better solving the problem of adhesion can uv/eb ink occupy a certain market in printing ink. In fact, water-based ink is also facing the same problem, especially on polymer substrate, its adhesion ability is also relatively poor. In this regard, an expert in the industry said: "compared with water-based ink, uv/eb ink has many obvious advantages, especially its high temperature resistance. We have reason to believe that once the adhesion is improved and solved more effectively, the application of uv/eb ink will be more extensive, especially in the field of laminated composite processing."

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