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Sun Chemical and partners introduce WetFlex technology to commercial packaging market

Press release from the issuing company

GIRONA, SPAIN - June 12, 2006 - 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. BPI is the largest producer of Polyethylene packaging in Europe and is the market leader in sacks for the horticultural and aggregate industries. Production development director Paul Cooke, who attended, confirmed that he would be interested in a trial of the WetFlex process, adding: "Obviously this is extremely interesting technology. As a company, we have spent a lot of time trying to use water-based inks in the past as an alternative to solvents. "The customers who we serve have a particular need for weatherability in many products used outside, given that we work in the industrial sector. This technology potentially offers a breakthrough in the physical characteristics in terms of the durability of the inks." Sun Chemical, the world’s largest maker of inks and pigments, and print partner Comexi, the Girona-based packaging print and machinery specialist, have joined forces with U.S.-based Energy Sciences Inc (ESI), the recognised global leader providing state-of-the-art Electron Beam (EB) systems, in the technological breakthrough that involves printing wet on wet. Michelle Hearn, director of marketing, Sun Chemical Packaging North American Inks, said: “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. 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. This results in higher quality products at a lower cost. The WetFlex dot structures demonstrate minimal dot gain for high quality print graphics. For food applications, the low odour of the UniQure ink system virtual eliminates any concern for food taint and odour. High colour 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.” For more information, please visit our website at www.sunchemical.com/wetflex.