The Status and Development of Intaglio Printing Inks for Plastics

Packaging manufacturers want: a single solvent, a wide range of applications, table printing, printing, compounding, cooking one, the price is moderate, the ideal gravure ink, which is the current domestic ink production companies dedicated research topics.

Plastic gravure inks are mainly used in plastic flexible packaging: food packaging, salt packaging, cosmetic daily product packaging, pharmaceutical packaging, paper product packaging, garment packaging and so on. Food packaging is based on compound in-printing inks, and some candy papers use surface printing inks; cooking and packaging use high-temperature cooking inks; generally, vacuum packaging uses polyester inks; dairy products are suitable for water-resistant, acid-resistant and heat-resistant inks. Pharmaceutical packaging and cosmetic packaging are based on polyester inks. Some manufacturers of salt packaging use printing ink, some manufacturers use composite printing ink, but more manufacturers use polyester ink. Daily goods packaging, paper product packaging and clothing packaging use a lot of ink, but the table printing ink should be a special, smooth, scratch-resistant, anti-adhesion ink. With the increase in the packaging market, there are more and more products using composite inks and specialty inks.

At present, in the domestic plastic flexible packaging industry, large-scale enterprises account for only about 10%, while small and medium-sized enterprises account for more than 90%.

Large-scale plastic packaging enterprises have advanced printing presses and fast printing speeds (high-speed printing presses); high-grade products, large batches, special varieties, high requirements for ink quality, and high usage volume, generally using two to three ink manufacturers Produced ink. However, many small and medium-sized plastic packaging companies' presses, although many manufacturers have been updated in recent years, but the medium and low-speed printing presses also account for the majority. The equipment and conditions are poor, the variety of products produced is numerous, and the batch size is small and the quantity is small. Therefore, the used ink is more complex and there is no fixed ink manufacturer. Generally, the low-priced ink is the first choice. Large-scale plastic packaging companies are large users of ink, but they are small markets in the domestic ink market; medium-sized plastic packaging companies are users of ink, and they are also ideal markets for ink manufacturers; many small plastic packaging. Enterprises are small users of ink, but in the current domestic market is a large market for ink sales.

Domestic Plastic Gravure Ink Enterprises and Market Status

In recent years, China's ink production companies have continued to increase. The various oils used in gravure printing have been produced domestically. Both the quality and quantity can meet the needs of gravure printing production. In addition, the quality of inks has generally improved, and the gap with foreign products is getting smaller and smaller. However, the low-priced inks produced by many domestic ink manufacturers are not standardized.

The printing speed of foreign printers is fast, the production environment is more standardized, and the varieties are bulky and color-specific. Therefore, the inks only require high solids content, low viscosity, brilliant color, and strong coloring power. Many domestic medium and low-speed printers are the main products, and domestically produced printers are uneven, with huge performance gaps, small product quantities, various types of products, poor production environments, unregulated operations, and fierce price competition. Therefore, the ink is required to have strong adaptability, good fluidity, and low price. Then there is the mentality of the operator who uses the imported ink. If there is a problem with the printing, it is considered to be the cause of the operation and the printer is adjusted. In turn, if you use a domestic ink to print a problem, you must be looking for ink and printing problems. Second, the ink circulation system of domestic gravure printing presses is poor (except for high-speed printing presses that deliver ink supplies). There are also many small and medium packaging color printing plants in the north that do not use an ink circulation system. Again, just do not know the law of the ink on the gravure printing, little understanding of the performance of the ink, the ink dilution is not in place (According to the observation of the ink wasted on average 25% to 30%, there are many small packaging color printing plant even waste rate 40% to 50%). Therefore, it is more necessary to popularize the basic knowledge education of the production technology of plastic flexible packaging, and the technical service of ink after sales.

At present, the domestic gravure printing ink contains a large amount of organic solvents (about 50%). Toluene, ethyl acetate, butanone and other solvents, low boiling point, high volatility, aromatic hydrocarbons, toxic and flammable, is the main source of environmental pollution. Intaglio printing inks are generally made of chlorinated polymers. In the ink production process, the chlorinated polymer needs to be dissolved using a strong solvent (such as toluene and other aromatic solvents), and the viscosity of the ink is adjusted during the printing process using toluene. Chlorofluorocarbon gases that are volatilized during the production of chlorinated polymer inks can destroy the atmospheric ozone layer. The use of aromatic solvents (toluene) in the production and printing of inks can harm workers' health and safety (fire risks). In addition, the problem of ink solvent residue in packaging products is a concern. Benzene can easily remain in the dry ink film layer (low-speed printing requires xylene to adjust the drying speed of the ink, xylene is more likely to remain), and benzene residues can contaminate the food or articles in the package. Although the gravure alcohol ester ink is the leader of the alcohol-soluble ink, although there is no benzene and ketone, it will still pollute the environment and there will be residual solvent.

The production of plastic gravure inks is under the control of fire laws, labor safety laws, and health laws. Therefore, it is an inevitable trend to actively develop and apply green gravure inks and water-based inks that meet environmental requirements. Although water-based gravure inks have attracted a lot of attention as a solvent-based ink replacement system, inks in packaging film printing are still water-based and have not yet reached a real practical stage. On the whole, the important reason why water-based gravure inks have not been able to obtain further popularity is that printing performance and quality still cannot meet the criteria for printing solvent-based gravure inks. Mainly due to the greater surface tension of water, resulting in difficult to wet the ink; water does not volatilize, printing speed can not go up. If the printing speed and the printing quality of the gravure solvent ink are to be obtained, not only the aqueous ink itself needs advanced technology improvements, but the gravure printing apparatus and the printing plate roller also need to be improved. For example, the etching or electroetching cylinders with a printing plate roll depth of approximately 38 microns to 42 microns are changed to laser plate rollers with a depth of approximately 24 microns to 28 microns. The printing plate rollers also need to be made of corrosion resistant materials. . There is also a need to retrofit more powerful and effective ink drying systems and equipment components such as ink squeegees on the press. These improvements all require considerable investment and a long period of time.

Since water-based gravure printing inks cannot replace solvent inks other than paper-based printing, the ink industry has been working hard to develop alcohol-soluble inks with less environmental pollution. Alcohol ester composite plastic gravure ink has low odor, no benzene, ketone and other characteristics. The use of alcohol-soluble ink can solve the Benzene-induced health hazards of benzene and benzene residues affect the quality of packaged foods. The production of such environmentally friendly inks will certainly increase the competitiveness of gravure printing in the field of plastic flexible packaging printing. Toluene inks have been replaced by alcohol-soluble gravure inks in countries such as Japan, Korea, and Southeast Asia. In Europe, flexographic printing is strongly advocated. Intaglio printing can only use alcohol-soluble ink (benzene dissolving ink is prohibited). The development of water-based ink in the United States has taken the lead. Alcohol ink has been gradually applied in the domestic gravure printing industry.

The development direction of domestic ink production enterprises

In addition to adapting to environmental protection requirements and promoting the improvement of alcohol ester inks, domestic ink manufacturers should also actively develop water-based inks. Water-based inks Compared with solvent-based inks, the use of water-based inks for gravure printing has two main problems: First, the printing quality (especially the brightness of the printed products is slightly poor); Second, the printing speed is reduced, usually the use of water-based gravure printing machine The printing speed of the ink is 15%-25% lower than that of the solvent-based ink. At present, paper printing is used in the gravure printing process—the use of water-based ink in large quantities is also very difficult. China must also work hard in this regard and strive to make breakthroughs in water-based inks in recent years.

Due to the global crude oil price in 2004. The soaring price of raw materials that led to the production of inks for solvents, titanium dioxide, pigments, additives, and containers in the second half of 2004 has also been rising along the way, which has become a major factor in rising costs. What is more, some of the major raw materials are under-supplyed. From the point of view of ink manufacturers, it is undoubtedly an increase in the burden of on-time shipments, and the profit margin is reduced. From the perspective of future developments, oil prices may still remain at high prices for some time, but the price of plastic gravure ink is difficult to adjust. Therefore, ink production companies need to tap into the company's internal potential, reduce costs, while maintaining the company's low profits, more to be considered for customers, for social considerations, and contribute to the stability of China's gravure printing market.

At present, the competition in the domestic plastic intaglio printing ink market continues to intensify and is still in a state of saturation and oversupply. High-priced ink sales decreased, medium price ink service, low price ink everywhere. Alcohol ester inks have become a trend to replace benzene dissolving inks. Although water-soluble inks are environmentally friendly, they are not yet mature. Production packaging companies want: a single solvent, a wide range of applications, table printing, printing, compounding, cooking one, the price is moderate, the ideal gravure ink, which is the current domestic ink production companies dedicated research topics.

Domestic ink company marketing strategy

In view of the large amount of ink used by large users, the large amount of rebates for large price rebates, and the long repayment period, ink manufacturers must beat people and require strong funds. The risk of large investment in the previous period is large. The user is convenient for sales management and is an ideal target for sales. However, oil and ink factories need support for sales policies and long-term patience. Many small users of human resources investing in the current domestic market are large markets for ink sales and require a lot of manpower investment. Rely on the multi-directional service after sale. Marketing strategies should be used to control the use of large ink users, the development of ink in the household, the development of small ink users. Priority is given to the production of high-profit varieties, plans to produce micro-profitable varieties, and to reduce or not produce loss-making varieties. For cash-paying users, the distributor must guarantee and satisfy the supply. The users of the reconciliation payment plan to supply. For users with poor operating conditions, poor creditworthiness, and large defaults, they must be cautious and eliminate supply. Only by concentrating the limited capital of the company, minimizing the risks and maximizing the economic benefits

In summary, due to the rapid expansion of the domestic plastic packaging industry, the soft plastic packaging market weakness, the continuous rise in the price of petrochemical products, making the ink market competition intensified, difficult marketing, sales profit reduction, some varieties of profit or no interest. A large number of sales will cause losses to the company, and production companies will struggle. In particular, the mid-price ink is more difficult for manufacturers.

How can a manufacturer of plastic intaglio printing inks get rid of the current predicament? First, it is necessary to understand the current situation and needs of the market, and then, based on the characteristics and advantages of the company itself, strengthen enterprise management and formulate a series of really feasible marketing strategies. Second, to avoid their own shortcomings, training to improve the overall quality of all marketing staff, to cultivate the belief in teamwork and increase the intensity of market services. At the same time, production personnel should closely cooperate with each other, based on product quality first, increase production and save for the purpose of steady development for survival.

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