Flint Group has launched EkoCure Ancora Dual Cure, a UV-curable ink for food, pharmaceutical, and cosmetic labels, as well as flexible packaging applications compliant with indirect food contact regulations.
EkoCure Ancora Dual Cure assures thorough ink anchorage and identical color quality results under LED and mercury lamps, as well as low migration results on both unsupported film and label substrates. These properties have led to its compliance to the Nestlé guidance note on packaging inks (2018), current GMP, the Swiss Ordinance on Materials and Articles (SR 817.023.21), and the EuPIA Exclusion policy, The Plastic Regulation (EU) No 10/2011.
The compatibility of both UV technologies enables converters to make a gradual switch to LED bringing improvements in sustainability and efficiency. According to Flint Group, it reduces energy costs by at least 50 percent compared to mercury lamps. Also, the elimination of mercury and ozone and the reduction of ambient noise means safer working conditions as well as a smaller environmental footprint. UV-LED curing offers increased production time as lamps require no warming or cooling before and after operation.
Additionally, for brand owners, the assurance of an effective migration barrier, made possible by the ink in combination with the substrate, may facilitate the move to lighter, easier-to-handle packaging. For example, a change from glass to film, such as pouches or blister packs, may deliver significant supply chain savings.
‘There is no doubt that switching from mercury to UV-LED curing yields cost and production benefits throughout the production process,’ said Catharina Aaroe, product, and continuous improvement manager – narrow web, Flint Group. ‘The addition of EkoCure Ancora Dual Cure inks makes these benefits accessible to food-contact and pharmaceutical value chains, combined with the assurance of compliance to the highest safety standards.’
New inks are formulated at the same strength as their mercury-curable counterparts, making color-matching simple when switching to the new ink. Furthermore, it is possible to run the Dual Cure inks with existing pure mercury-curable inks in different positions on the press for the same job. This reduces inventory waste when switching to the new ink, as existing stocks can continue to be used normally until they are ready to be replaced with new Dual Cure inks.
The series comprises flexo shades, metallics, and coatings. These include yellow, transparent yellow, orange, red, violet, blue, and an opaque white screen ink; gold and silver, as well as gloss and matte varnishes that provide resistance against yellowing.
Flint Group’s Dual Cure ink series is available for almost all narrow-web applications. Others include EkoCure F, for printing on almost all film and paper labelstocks, as well as cartons and tags, and EkoCure XS for shrink sleeve labels.