Siegwerk, a manufacturer of printing inks for packaging applications, labels, and catalogs, has unveiled new low migration LED UV flexo inks: The SICURA Nutriflex  LEDTec ink series. Siegwerk is now the first company in the market to offer LED UV printing inks for food and pharmaceutical packaging. Because the requirements for the food and pharmaceutical industries regarding safety and efficiency are very high, Siegwerk’s new ink is considered a real breakthrough.

The main advantages of the new inks are rooted in the LED UV technology. Compared to conventional UV emitters featuring mercury vapor lamps, the LED UV curing technology can potentially save up to 40 % of energy costs. Other benefits include low heat generation, the relatively long life of LED UV lamps as well as no ozone generation and therefore no need for suction removal. Furthermore, UV power is available as soon as an LED UV system is activated, so that the process does not require any warm-up.

Since the inks are a novelty, Siegwerk had to solve several problems to create the new series. One of the challenges that Siegwerk faced while developing the ink was minimizing migration risk while ensuring optimal efficiency, performance and short production times. “One of the difficulties in developing this new kind of ink is the limited availability of the necessary raw materials at the moment”, says Rolf Montag, Product Manager of the Business Unit Narrow Web at Siegwerk Switzerland AG. Another problem that Siegwerk successfully solved was to create a color system that works flawlessly with the LED light’s wavelength and offers high color performance, short curing times and low migration risk.

Siegwerk is committed to expand its range of LED UV inks to offer its customers greater opportunities for using the technology. Especially low migration inks are gaining in importance, which is why Siegwerk is expecting a shift in order volume from conventional to low migration UV inks in 2016. Right now, it is not easy to predict how the market for LED UV inks for the food and pharmaceutical market will develop.

“In general, we see an increasing interest for LED UV systems from label printers,” says product manager Rolf Montag. Since LED UV systems have great potential regarding their eco-friendlyness, potential cost savings and productivity, they are seen as drivers in the market. “A further expansion of applications will enable printers to use LED UV inks for their full range of print jobs”, says Montag. Since the technology is still new and the market is in its early stages of development, it is hard to make precise predictions how it will grow. But most experts agree that there is definitely a lot of potential for growth.