Food packaging is the last step in the modern food industry. It plays an important role in packaging, protection, beautification, promotion and convenience of food storage, transportation and sales. To an extent, food packaging has become an integral part of food. . However, at present, the form facing the food packaging industry in China is not optimistic. Many food packaging materials on the market are difficult to meet the national requirements for food safety, hygiene and environmental protection. For example, the toxicity and residual amount of solvents, and heavy metal content not only endanger the health of the nation, but also affect the food packaging industry in China and even the entire food industry. Healthy development. After China's accession to the WTO, "technical trade barriers" have become the biggest challenge facing many export enterprises. At present, China's plastic gravure ink, benzene-based solvent-based inks account for a large proportion, and in developed countries such as Europe and the United States are clearly banned in the use of benzene solvents in food packaging and printing, alcohol soluble, water-based and other environmentally friendly benzene-free ink The application of plastic gravure will be increasingly concerned by the industry, and it will have a dominant trend in the future ink printing market.

In 2005, three years after China's accession to the WTO, “developing green flexible packaging” and “connecting with international standards”, these slogans began to be mentioned by more and more domestic flexible packaging companies, and the appeal for environmental protection has been rising in the academic and flexible packaging industries. . At the same time, the domestic flexible packaging industry is practicing this theme, and a series of environmental protection policies, regulations, measures and products have been introduced successively, such as prevention of excessive packaging legislation, safety and environmental protection product certification, flexo, solvent-free compound, degradable films, Environmental protection aluminum foil, etc., these policies, products and technologies have been welcomed by consumers and the market. Green environmental protection has become the only way for flexible packaging printing.

First, what is the green packaging

The so-called green packaging should have five connotations: one implements reduction of packaging; two packaging should be easy to reuse (Reuse), or easy to recycle (Recycle); three packaging waste can be degraded (Degradable); four Packaging materials should be non-toxic and harmless to humans and organisms. The packaging should not contain toxic elements, germs, and heavy metals; or these contents should be controlled below the relevant standards; 5 packaging products from raw material collection, material processing, manufacturing products, Product handling, waste recycling, and regeneration will not cause harm to the human body and the environment until the entire process of its final disposal.

The raw materials currently used in green food packaging are mainly benzene-free inks, which are inks based on polyurethane as the main resin, and basically do not contain benzene solvents. In the case of using a small amount of benzene solvents, the residual amount of benzene solvents after drying the ink is also Very few. This feature is increasingly favored by the food packaging industry. Ink manufacturers also gradually develop products from benzenes and ketones to toluene-free, alcohol esters or water-based inks.

Second, the development trend of China's food flexible packaging ink

1, the direction of technology research and development

China's plastic flexible packaging market, the vast majority of small and medium-sized enterprises, because the production of technical products is not high or similar, so the competition is fierce, and finally often focus on the cost reduction, while ignoring the product's technical and health requirements. Although the use of domestic plastic ink has increased significantly, there has been no corresponding improvement in safety and health performance, and there has been a significant lag. For example, toluene and other aromatic solvents are still in use, and chlorinated and acrylic inks occupy More than 60% and so on.

Since China’s accession to the WTO, China’s economy and trade with other countries have become closer, and “internationalization” has greatly driven the development of the Chinese plastic ink industry toward environmental protection. The domestic plastic packaging ink must be linked with safety and hygiene in the future product development. As for its solvent system, it should develop towards the direction of non-benzene and alcohol solvent. In terms of the alcohol-soluble ink technology, Shanghai Sikebai, DIC, Zhejiang New Oriental and other enterprises are in a leading position. As for its connection material technology, it should develop towards the polyester polyurethane system. Polyester polyurethane inks are highly favored by users due to their low toxicity, excellent printability for PET and NY materials, high temperature resistance, resistance to freezing, abrasion resistance, etc., and will gradually replace chlorinated polypropylene inks. . Polyester inks produced by Zhejiang New Oriental Ink Group Co., Ltd. currently account for more than 50% of the company's total ink production and become the company's core competitiveness products. Plastic packaging inks will move toward the absence of heavy metal pigments for their pigment systems. If the domestic pigment manufacturers cannot integrate with international manufacturers at this point, they will face the risk of being eliminated.

2, process development

In supermarkets in Europe and the United States, we found an interesting phenomenon: its product packaging is very simple, regardless of color or texture and domestic differences of a grade. If the flexible packaging is singled out and compared with similar products in China, it is believed that China's QC (Quality Control) department will treat most products in Western countries as inferior goods. Why do developing countries catch up with developed countries in the packaging field? We use the American flexo as an entry point for analysis: flexo printing is a little inferior to gravure printing at the outlets, and the quality of printing is low, but it is an advantage in environmental protection. First, the U.S. government has formulated tough environmental protection laws; secondly, due to the cost reduction caused by flexo printing scale economies, manufacturers are willing to accept; and with good social education, consumers tend to use environmentally-friendly products. Therefore, the flexo printing rate in the United States is as high as 90%. Countries, businesses and consumers have all become big winners in this environmental game. However, the acceptance of environmental technologies such as domestic flexo printing is not high in the market. Because flexo printing uses the principle of embossing, compared to the gravure of heavy oil, gravure has relatively less ink, is relatively thin, and the degree of coloration is not very high. In terms of brightness, it is not as good as gravure. Domestic soft packaging consumption has long been in a fixed position with high gravure coloration and high brightness, and it is not yet able to accept this new environmentally friendly printing technology. Moreover, the development of flexo printing technology is also limited by the market itself. The need for environment-friendly inks depends on imports for a long period of time, which leads to high costs and is one of the reasons why flexo printing is not widely promoted.

In China's food plastic flexible packaging, gravure has absolute advantages, has been in a steady state of development, and has good prospects for development, in large supermarkets, the leading food, daily necessities packaging are gravure products. In view of the above analysis and the current status of domestic gravure printing, we have reason to believe that gravure will continue to maintain its absolute leading position in the printing of plastic flexible packaging.

Third, green water-based ink

Water-based ink refers to a volatile ink that uses water and some alcohol as a solvent. The ink dries with evaporation of water. The printing process has no pollution to the environment. The ink is not toxic to the human body, and it is not easy to burn and has good safety. Solvent-based inks also use a volatile dry method, but there is a large amount of volatile organics released. Judging from the current situation in China, ink is mainly used in corrugated paper, paper gravure printing and some flexo printing. It is rarely used in the gravure printing of plastic films. The use of water-based inks in plastic film printing is an intrinsic requirement for gravure printing itself. On the one hand, in the printing of plastic flexible packaging, the advantages of gravure printing are very significant: the printing pattern is bright and the performance is strong; the printing capacity is very good and can reach more than 1 million printing times; and the seamless image printing is realized. On the other hand, the adverse effects brought about by gravure printing are also obvious. Due to the non-absorption characteristics of the plastic film, a large amount of organic solvents is used in the ink itself and the actual printing process, which damages the environment and harms human health. At present, BOPP film printing is used for gravure printing, and most of the inks used are chlorinated polypropylene type inks in printing. A large amount of toluene is used as a solvent, and chlorine monomer is used in the resin production process, which brings people's health and safety. Hidden danger. If the gravure printing industry wants to avoid weaknesses and achieve sustainable development, it must eliminate the negative environmental impact brought by gravure printing and the potential safety and health hazards.

Zhejiang New Oriental Ink Group Co., Ltd. has accumulated years of experience in the production of plastic gravure inks, combined with the development of foreign water-based ink technology, the first to introduce a new water-based ink: Gouda 400-water-based gravure plastic composite ink, suitable for BOPP film printing, With excellent printing adaptability and good composite strength, the printed product has no odor, no toxicity, and is the best choice for environmentally friendly food flexible packaging. According to the current situation of China's flexible packaging market development, the company first promoted 400 water-based white inks to the market and used them with chlorinated polypropylene color inks. It is expected that the supply chain of the gravure printing industry will include color printing manufacturers, equipment manufacturers, and end-users. Water-based plastic inks will jointly promote the development of the gravure printing industry in China toward environmental protection.


Source: Shanghai Packaging

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