“The market is moving at such a fast pace that it’s vital for buyers to consult their ink supplier regularly to keep informed of the latest developments,” says Emma Isichei, Sun Chemical’s marketing director for UK and Ireland.
The packaging sector is one area where flexo and gravure ink technologies are developing at a rapid rate. Brand owners are demanding that their products stand out on the supermarket and store shelves. “For instance, just a year ago, ink manufacturers were experimenting with multi-sensory products,” says Isichei.
Inks manufacturer Stehlin Hostag has recently made its move into the water-based ink sector for packaging. It believes that brand owners are also looking for colour consistency. According to James Buchanan, national sales manager for Stehlin Hostag’s packaging division, manufacturers are trying to make their products as flexible as possible.
“If a large international brand has seven different printers all printing with different substrates and using UV, water-base, and offset inks, we try to maintain colour consistency across that whole range,” says Buchanan.
But price increases are continuing and at present are showing no signs of abating. The cost of raw materials has been steadily increasing for the past 10 years and it’s only relatively recently that manufacturers have started to pass on these hikes to the customer.
“Ink costs may not be at their cheapest at the moment but it’s only a small part of the overall spend,” explains Buchanan. “We have therefore been focusing on the impact of ink on overall production. Our products are designed to save time and reduce waste.” Ink manufacturers are keen to work together with printers in order to offset costs through savings in the production process.
Buchanan advises that printers should look at the full cost of the ink across the whole process, including ink mileage and performance. Sun Chemical’s Isichei adds: “A good ink supplier should also be able to recommend the most effective products and solutions for each client’s business.”
WHAT’S NEW IN FLEXO, LETTERPRESS AND GRAVURE INKS
• Stehlin Hostag has brought out a new product range, the Hydro-X, officially launched at drupa. The water-based inks signal the company’s intention to focus and expand its market share in the UK packaging sector. “We have a national network of service platforms to support this drive and aim to bring the same levels of service that the commercial market knows us for into packaging,” said James Buchanan, national sales manager for packaging in the UK
• Label Makers has bought the UK’s first Solaris Colorsat from Sun Chemical. It allows high-batch frequency users to accurately mix UV-curing, water-based flexo, screen and gravure inks at the touch of a button
• Flint Group launched a solvent-based ink portfolio for the packaging ink market in December. The portfolio includes: the PluriRange of nitrocellulose-based ink systems for high-quality gravure work; the FlexiRange for flexographic printing; and the MultiRange of PVB-based ink systems formulated for both gravure and flexo printing
Read the original article at www.printweek.com.
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