The hottest market for water-based inks

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Water based ink market

first, the water-based ink market is developing rapidly

at present, the main application fields of environmental friendly water-based ink are flexographic printing and gravure printing, and most of the products of these two printing methods are packaging products, including food packaging, tobacco and alcohol packaging, children's toy packaging and so on. With the improvement of people's awareness of environmental protection, the urgent need for "green" printing materials is growing. In recent years, flexographic printing has developed rapidly all over the world. It is considered as "the best and most promising printing method on earth" in developed countries in Europe and America. Taking the United States as an example, 95% of flexographic printing products and 80% of intaglio printing products use ink with the continuous progress of society. At present, there are nearly 200 narrow width flexographic printing production lines in China, and the annual demand for water-based ink is more than 100000 tons. Coupled with the wide application of water-based ink in corrugated box packaging and printing, there is a considerable market potential

China's water-based ink was first developed and successfully put into production by Tianjin ink factory. At that time, it was mainly used for gravure printing. At that time, after the gravure printing ink was improved from benzene solvent to gasoline based solvent, although its toxicity was improved compared with benzene based ink, its flammability was not improved. Therefore, it was proposed to improve gravure printing ink into non-toxic and non combustible water-based ink, which was called water-based ink at that time. Because the ink is made with rosin acid amine salt as the main connecting material, the connecting material is unstable in the storage of water medium, so the ink is easy to lose light, dilute, dry slowly, and have poor water resistance during storage, which is easy to cause paper shrinkage and other disadvantages. These disadvantages have limited gravure printing and flexographic printing in our country. We have to use the method of high-end water conservancy microwave radiation imported at a high price to reduce potassium permanganate into manganese dioxide ink, which virtually increases the printing cost and limits the development of printing industry in our country

in the 1990s, with the rapid development of China's economy, people's awareness of packaging aesthetics and environmental protection has been continuously improved. From 1995 to the end of 1998, China has introduced more than 130 combined flexographic printing production lines in just a few years, which are distributed in more than 20 provinces and cities across the country, 90% of which are narrow width flexographic printing machines. Now the number is increasing by about 30 every year, and there are many imported high-end three-color and four-color water-based ink printing slotting machines for corrugated paper color printing

in flexographic packaging and printing, at present, most of them at home and abroad are printed with water-based ink. The wide application of flexographic water-based ink is one of the important factors for the rapid development of flexographic printing. According to the statistics of relevant departments, there are about 1000 large and small carton factories in each province in China on average. If 10% of high-grade cartons are printed with water-based ink, and each household has 10 tons of ink, each province needs about 1000 tons of water-based ink every year, which does not include other printing and packaging products of flexographic and gravure printing (at present, 100% of domestic flexographic printing uses water-based ink, and 80% of gravure printing uses water-based ink)

of course, flexographic printing is still in its infancy in China, accounting for only about 3% of the printing field at present, but with the gradual popularity of green packaging and environmental protection packaging, many cigarette factories, distilleries, pharmaceutical factories, cosmetics, children's toys and other enterprises are preparing to adopt flexographic printing product packaging, and the proportion of flexographic printing in the printing field will gradually increase, especially in the field of packaging and printing. It is estimated that flexographic printing will reach about 15% in the printing field by 2010, and the annual demand for water-based ink is more than 100000 tons. Therefore, it is urgent to vigorously develop, develop and produce high-grade water-based inks, and the market potential is great. This product can be widely used in the fields of flexo and gravure printing of gold, silver paperboard, coated paper, whiteboard, plastic film, corrugated paper, self-adhesive paper, carton, paper packaging, books and magazines, etc

II. Advantages and disadvantages of water-based ink

1. Huge "green" advantages

because water-based ink does not contain volatile organic solvents, it greatly reduces the emission of VOC (organic volatiles, the same below), thereby reducing air pollution, improving the environment of printing operators, and is conducive to the health of employees. It can completely eliminate some toxic and harmful substances in solvent based inks, eliminate the harm to human body and the pollution of packaged goods, and improve the overall environmental quality. It is especially suitable for packaging and printing products with strict sanitary conditions, such as cigarettes, alcohol, food, beverages, drugs, children's toys, etc. In addition, it can not only reduce the fire risk and hidden danger caused by static electricity and flammable solvents, but also reduce the residual toxicity on the printing surface, and it is convenient to clean the printing equipment

2. Shortcomings of water-based inks

at present, both imported and domestic water-based inks are not alkali resistant, ethanol and water resistant, slow drying, poor gloss, easy to cause paper shrinkage and other disadvantages. To achieve alkali resistance, ethanol resistance, water resistance and improve gloss, only flexible UV ink can be used. This not only increases the printing cost, but also increases the printing process. For example, some automatic beer packaging production lines use alkaline lubricants with a pH value of 9~10. The water-based ink can't bear it and will fade when touched. In addition, when selling beer in the south in summer, you should not only enter the refrigerator, but also soak it in ice water for a long time, and the water-based ink can't bear it

in addition, the problems also include: the high surface free energy of water components in ink makes it difficult for ink to be well wetted and printed on polyethylene and other substrates; The drying time is still the most important problem in the application of ink. Unless the printing machine is equipped with sufficient drying equipment, the printing speed will be affected; The gloss of ink is lower than that of solvent based ink, which greatly limits the use of ink in occasions with high gloss requirements

III. suggestions for future development

through nearly 10 to 15 years of technological improvement, the ink system has successfully solved most of the original difficulties, such as difficulties in use, ink storage, limitations of substrates, corona treatment and surface tension. The new generation of ink has changed its initial disadvantages into advantages, and gradually grown and matured. Under the premise of environment, safety and health, how to meet the best adaptability of printing and post-processing of ink products and improve economic benefits is the subject we consider

1. Improve the performance of ink

at present, the performance that ink users require to improve is: the ink system with stable pH value, the ink manufacturing industry must develop ink with stable pH value in the printing process, that is, it is easy if there is no difficulty in printing; It is not necessary to detect and adjust the pH value again; Re solubility is another important research field. During the evaporation of amine, the resin tends to solidify and even fix on the printing plate. Recently, ink manufacturers have improved the performance of the resin to make it more soluble, which means that the printing system can run longer before cleaning, that is, to improve production efficiency; The application of water ink requires continuous improvement in the application performance of polyethylene substrate. The ink manufacturing industry is expected to improve the surface resistance of ink prints, especially in oil and grease resistance, as well as better heat and freezing resistance. Recently, in Europe and North America, product innovation is mainly driven by meeting user requirements. The specific requirements for ease of use come from users, which will also be the driving force of product development that makes the XPS industry face survival challenges

2. Keep up with the environmental protection situation

at this stage, the pressure from all aspects indicates that environmental problems will receive further attention. In order to achieve more stringent environmental management goals, printers are always looking for new methods of solvent ink printing process to meet government regulations. At present, the printing industry focuses on strengthening the treatment of emissions from solvent ink printing. The usual practice is to use an "incinerator" to absorb and incinerate VOCs. Other more creative is to apply the treatment system of microorganisms or bacteria that take VOCs as food. All these methods rely on efficient absorption and transmission of VOCs to systems that can neutralize it, either by incineration or by microorganisms

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