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Ink meets wood: Siegwerk presents new range of sustainable inks

Siegwerk unveils UniXYL, a new ink range, incorporating renewable, forestry-based components for water-based flexographic printing applications.

Siegwerk, one of the leading providers of printing inks for packaging applications, labels, and catalogs, is now offering its second generation of sustainable water-based inks for paper and board applications – UniXYL. The new product range is partially based on natural resins and provides an environmentally friendly alternative to conventional inks.

Water-based inks have grown in popularity and demand. They are characterized by low VOC (volatile organic compounds) emissions and lack of flammability, making it easier to comply with relevant regulations. Siegwerk combines this technology with a basis of renewable components. The result is the UniXYL series – sustainable inks offering an environmental benefit. The bio-based resin contained in UniXYL inks is obtained from lignocellulosic bio-mass, which is available in particular in feedstocks from forestry.

“As one of the leading ink manufacturers, we want to set a good example and champion the development of eco-friendly inks. At the same time we have tried to reduce the bio-mass obtained from food or feed plants, which we have now achieved with UniXYL”, explains Pierre-Antoine Noirot, Vice President of the Global Innovation Network at Siegwerk. The fact that the bio-mass used in UniXYL is composed of forestry or agricultural waste products is reflected in the product name: XYL hinting at the Greek word “xylon”, which translated means “wood”.

While the new ink range is water-based and also contains bio-mass components, customers benefit from the same level of performance compared to conventional water-based inks. “UniXYL is characterized by our typically high standard of Siegwerk quality. It provides excellent printing results with outstanding color strength, great print quality and good rub resistance at stable viscosity”, says Pierre-Antoine Noirot. This printing ink range is suitable for paper and board applications, including those intended for food packaging. It complies with current product safety regulations, such as the Swiss Ordinance. UniXYL has successfully completed several beta trials under industrial conditions at some customers’ printing facilities. “We are now delighted to be able to offer this environmentally friendly ink to all our customers”, adds Mr. Noirot.

Christiansen Print Garanciéres, formerly France Flexo, a preprint specialist for corrugated board applications, was one of the companies that tested Siegwerk’s new water-based ink series. “Operating at the highest standards also means testing new printing solutions that meet future expectations and in particular address customers’ desire for fully renewable packaging. Sustainable processes and eco-friendly materials play an important role in this regard,” Nadine Rodrigues, General Manager at Christiansen Print Garanciéres, explains. The company has been successfully using UniRICS, Siegwerk’s first sustainable, partially plant-based ink range containing a bio-acrylic binder, and already has won several awards, for example, at the “Concours FlexoStar 2015”, an annual competition organized by the Association Technique Française de Flexographie (ATF). “We’ve tested UniXYL recently, and the inks provided excellent print quality, good color flow, fantastic color strength, as well as efficient machinability,” describes Mrs. Rodrigues the test results.

Siegwerk produces its water-based and eco-friendly inks in a dedicated laboratory at its Technical Center in Annemasse (France). The hybrid technology of the new UniXYL ink range – modified bio-polymers combined with standard oil-derived acrylic polymers used as a binder – goes back to the development of the UniRICS product line, which was successfully launched in 2011. Like the new UniXYL ink range, UniRICS was developed by Siegwerk’s “Global Innovation Network”, the company’s in-house research network, which is tasked with increasing the share of plant-based raw materials in all Siegwerk products.

Siegwerk is committed to a comprehensive approach to sustainability. The company is always mindful of the environmental, economic, and social impact of its product development, entire production process, its customer relationships as well as its supplier selection and employees. Sustainability means progress to Siegwerk. That’s why the company is driving the development of eco-friendly inks. Assessing ways of enhancing the ecological footprint of the company’s inks with no loss of performance is one of its key research and development efforts.

With the motto “We color the future”, Siegwerk will exhibit at this year’s drupa, the world’s leading trade show for graphic and industrial print, in Duesseldorf, Germany from May 31 to June 10, 2016. Visitors can meet with Siegwerk experts at Booth A58 in Hall 3 and obtain more information about Siegwerk’s range of products and services, including its portfolio of eco-friendly inks.