Biodegradable and paper packaging, downgauging or PET elimination from the structure – these are just a few examples of a more ecological approach to packaging solutions. However, the sustainability trend is not just about the materials from which packaging is made. It also reaches the technologies that are used. One of them is offset printing with EB curing system.
An electron beam (EB) is used to cure the inks. In this process, electrons collide with the liquid ink and trigger the polymerization process when penetrating through the liquid layer. As a result, the ink solidifies immediately on the printing surface.
Although the offset printing technology is old, its connection with special inks, EB curing system and central drum brings many new elements and possibilities.
What are the advantages of the EB system?
Electron beam curing of inks has significant benefits, several of which contribute to greener packaging production. The main advantages include:
- No photoinitiators
For photoinitiators used by the UV curing system there is a risk of migration into food. That poses a safety risk. However, with the EB system, the level of crosslinking is much higher, and thanks to this, we can print packaging that comes into contact with food.
- No solvents
Inks that are used in the process are solvent-free. That means a lower environmental load.
- Energy efficiency
There’s no need to dilute the inks, subsequently exhaust solvents or water, nor is the heat impact on printed material required. The whole process thus reduces energy consumption significantly.
- Preparation speed
The time required for the preparation of the plates is considerably shorter than that of rotogravure cylinders and flexographic printing clichés. That also reduces costs, making this type of printing cost-effective even at low volumes.
- Less plastics
EB system will contribute to the reduction of the amount of plastics in the packaging in the future. By moving towards monostructures, it will no longer be necessary to use glue and two films, but only one film with highly resistant inks will be used.
The practice itself shows that electron beam curing of inks is fast, clean and more environmentally friendly. More and more of our customers are discovering these benefits.