Environmentally friendly printing. A new trend in packaging printing.
Major brand owners in the retail trade are responding to public demand for less environmentally damaging product packaging. Recently, Unilever, among others, announced a drastic change from plastic packaging to alternative materials. For the printing industry, this means, on the one hand, a change in the utilization of printing presses and processes used up to this time, and, on the other hand, a shift in requirements with regard to the necessary know-how within a print shop if it wants to stick to the orders placed up to then.
If, for example, plastic packaging was produced in the flexographic printing process and is now to be produced in the offset printing process on paper or cardboard, a whole series of challenges arise.
Established colors, associated with branded products are to be reproduced on other materials with the same appearance. If the resulting end product is then to be biodegradable, the printers will have to overcome enormous procedural obstacles. Some of the material properties of plastic packaging cannot be reproduced with paper-based materials, or only to a limited extent. For example, grease barriers, odor barriers, oxygen exclusion or tightness in the case of overpressure and packaging with a protective atmosphere contained. It is almost impossible to take a detour around plastics or metals. In addition, paper packaging usually has to be glued in several places in order to retain its final shape.
Coatings and effects should continue to be used in order to bring aesthetic advantages to the presentation of the end products at the POS in addition to technical requirements. The effects, as they appear on conventional materials, can differ with direct printing on environmentally friendly substrates. Especially when using recycled cardboard, chemical reactions of the foreign substances contained in the cardboard can interact with the finishes, which can cause an occasional deviation from the expected effects.
What are the challenges, especially with the production printing of packaging?
- There are no uniform printing standards for printing on mostly uncoated paper or coated recycling materials. However, the designs prepared for printing are color-managed for output on coated standard papers.
- This results in an increased effort for the press operator during the coordination phase of the printing process. This also means that the printer pulls more test sheets during ongoing print production and decides whether color corrections are necessary. This also means that the printer himself is less available for parallel work around the press.
- Repeat jobs are particularly demanding because the quality and properties of the substrates used can vary significantly.
How can the problem of color security in printing on recycled paper be addressed efficiently?
Together with our partner, System Brunner AG, we create solutions with which printing on any printable material in offset printing is industrial and stable. The control technology developed by System Brunner as part of the “instrument Flight” product normally aims to achieve printing standards immediately after the first print and to consistently control the quality achieved throughout the print run.
Technological advantage through sophisticated technology.
The same technology also works excellently when it comes to controlling substrate-related influences on the printed image. Deviations from the target coloration are detected fully automatically in the running production flow and software algorithms calculate compensating target density values in milliseconds. This ensures that the correct color is maintained over the entire print run, even in the case of varying printing on recycled materials.
The technology behind System Brunner Instrument Flight also allows the color characteristics of previously printed runs to be reproduced visually correct for later runs as part of color control.
System Brunner Instrument Flight is currently the only tool available on the market for intelligent, automatic color control on printing presses. Instrument Flight reads all the color information available from the color bars. Using its unique software algorithms, Instrument Flight uses this color information to generate an interpretation of the printed image that is adapted to human perception. On the basis of this interpretation, Instrument Flight provides a reliable color control technology that is far superior to other methods. Instrument Flight is also the only fully automated color control system to date (2019) to have received critical G7 certification from Idealliance.
Are you interested in how packaging on recycled materials or environmentally friendly substrates can be reproduced consistently in color? We are at your service with our know-how and/or in combination with System Brunner products.