WetFlex, a new printing process designed to improve print quality and efficiency for flexible packaging using a new generation energy curable ink technology developed and patented by Sun Chemical, has had its worldwide commercial launch in Girona, Spain.
More than 500 customers from around the world flew to the headquarters of press-manufacturer Comexi for a live demonstration of the innovative technology that involves the inks being wet-trapped through a common impression (CI) cylinder press and cured instantly by an in-line electron beam at the end of the press.
Sun Chemical and Comexi have joined forces with U.S.-based Energy Sciences Inc (ESI), a leader in electron beam (EB) systems, in the technological breakthrough that involves printing wet on wet.
“We are really happy with the response to our worldwide commercial launch at Comexi and will now be working with our customers to take it to the next level," said Michelle Hearn, director of marketing, Sun Chemical Packaging North American Inks. "With WetFlex, the possibilities of flexographic printing are now realities, providing product-safe, high quality package printing that can be executed in less time and with less waste, saving companies valuable time and money.”
The WetFlex flexographic printing process uses Sun Chemical’s UniQure inks, which are wet-trapped and cured using a single EB unit at the end of the press, eliminating the need for inter-station drying. The WetFlex dot structures demonstrate minimal dot gain for high quality print graphics.
For food applications, the low odor of the UniQure ink system virtual eliminates any concern for food taint and odor. High color strength offers significantly better mileage than conventional flexo inks and the cured print has inherent resistance properties that allow it to be used in the home and garden products market.
The combination of the WetFlex process and UniQure inks do not require heat for drying, making them ideal for shrink-sleeve applications, in which heat is needed to shrink the sleeve around a product. The inks also do not contain volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Converters can use them on retrofitted presses, easily and economically adding capacity to existing press lines.
Felipe Mellado, corporate vice-president, marketing and technology, Sun Chemical Europe, said, “Sun Chemical has been working with Comexi and ESI to bring the WetFlex product onto a commercial footing, which has now been achieved through partnership. Live trials are going ahead and the move towards European manufacture is well under way and will soon be available in many other locations.”