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Low-down on Low Migration

Product recalls resulting from the imperceptible transfer of some toxic printing ink substance into dry or liquid foodstuffs are the stuff of nightmares for brand owners, and fortunately don't happen very often.

But perceived or otherwise, such risks have led many brand owners and packers to demand low migration (LM) inks and coatings for food packaging where some form of radiation curing is used. Extension of such demands to include the pharmaceutical, cosmetics and healthcare sectors cannot be ruled out.

LED-UV curing is the most energy-efficient of all curing processes, and offers many benefits.

LED-UV curing is the most energy-efficient of all curing processes, and offers many benefits. The compact size of the curing units offer greater flexibility compared with conventional UV systems, while lower heat levels facilitate the handling of temperature-sensitive films. The combination of reduced energy consumption and longer lamp life should also reduce running costs.

As for the hardware, EFI Jetrion was among the first to introduce a dedicated LED-UV inkjet press with the modular, end-to-end 4950LX model. It features Phoseon lamps and inks from Flint Group Narrow Web. The inks are said to be compliant with indirect food contact regulations. 

Epson's first single-pass industrial press, the SurePress L-6034VW, offers the technology with inline digital varnishing and high-opacity white using its own LED-UV inks. INX Digital combines water-cooled LED curing on the six-color NW140 inkjet press with air-cooled LED pinning. The parent INX Corporation manufactures the inks and coatings. Shiki's PicoJet features LED curing supplied by Kyocera, which also supplies the print heads.

Although limited to a varnish unit, in 2011 Gallus broke new ground by fitting a LED-UV curing unit on an ECS 340 in partnership with Phoseon Technology. Today it offers the technology on all of its narrow web combination presses. Ink maker Siegwerk in fact demonstrated a six-color Gallus EM280 using iSicura Flex LEDTec inks at the last Labelexpo. The new Screen LEDTec ink series includes a non-yellowing relief varnish with a relief height of 250 microns. It was shown on Codimag's six-color Viva 340 Aniflo waterless offset press (the final Stork screen unit used IST's LED-UV modules). Siegwerk also supplies LED-cured inkjet inks for the Gallus/Heidelberg Linoprint L.