Tokyo – Toray Industries, Inc., announced today that its technology for waterless electron beam (EB) offset printing has been applied successfully for the first time on flexible packaging. The technology is free of volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Spain’s SP Group, a European manufacturer of flexible retail food packaging, completed a series of tests to print retort pouches with this technology.
The tests demonstrated the key benefits of this innovative printing technology. These include maximum sustainability and resource conservation and optimal compliance with health and anti-pollution standards. Another advantage is exceptional print quality, with sharper, higher resolution images that comply with food contact materials regulations. The printing industry should accordingly enjoy significant savings and efficiency gains over the medium term.
Retort packaging samples
The testing success represents a milestone in Toray’s R&D into waterless printing technology, which started in the early 1970s. Such technology has helped reduce VOC emissions for more than 40 years. Toray began developing printing technology that is completely free of these chemicals in 2015.
The application that the SP Group created for its test on the COMEXI CI8 offset press employed water-washable EB ink from Toray. Francisco Bernal, CEO of SP Group, emphasizes that, “Using such innovative technologies as waterless EB offset, VOC-free printing has matched our core corporate principles of sustainability while maximizing quality. Testing with Toray technology embodied SP Group’s pioneering spirit and ongoing commitment to optimization.”
Toray’s technology offers several advantages. Waterless offset printing does not require dampening water, so VOC emissions are 60% to 80% lower than with wet processes. The special ink and EB curing-based process eliminate the need for solvents. Liquids that clean printing units are free of organic solvents, for zero VOC consumption in cleaning processes. Finally, Toray could achieve 100% VOC-free in all printing processes.
Toray will continue to innovate materials and processes to lift living standards and contribute to sustainable social progress.