When it comes to printing and converting in the aluminum foil packaging world, there are two ink systems most commonly used; Solvent-based and Water-based. Here at Catty we have the capabilities to provide each, however over the years we have favored water-based for two primary reasons; improved plant safety and a significantly lower environmental impact. Beyond those two key benefits, water-based ink technology has evolved through the years and is now a solution for many of the more complex challenges in the aluminum foil packaging realm.
The number one benefit in the use of water-based inks vs solvent-based is the environmental effects of each ink system. The vehicle agent (the body of an ink that is mixed with color pigmentation) in Solvent inks are made of up 100% volatile organic compounds (VOCs), vs your typical water-based which, by definition, contain high levels of water and a significantly lower (>1%) VOC level. These environmental effects trickle throughout our entire production process as these water-based inks can be cleaned using only water and soap whereas solvents require additional VOC-carrying solvents throughout the cleaning process.
Another top benefit to housing water-based inks are the safety benefits they bring to a manufacturing area. When asked about his dedication to water-based inks throughout the years, Catty Corp President Bruce Scott offered this comment; “We were the first to move to water-based inks on aluminum foil in the 1980’s and I have continued to support our use as they are the safest inks for my employees.” Water-based inks are much less volatile than their solvent counterparts and provide a safer environment for those who interact with the inks both during production and during the clean up process.
Challenges Easily Met Thought Water-based Inks
The technology behind, and the popularity of, water-based inks have come a long way throughout the years. Water-based inks now offer exceptional abrasion resistance whether it be rub, scuff, or scratch, while also excelling in providing heat and water resistant coatings for end-users. Direct resistance to water can be observed in the video above of a water-based coating undertaking a Sutherland rub test here at Catty. Visually, water-based inks have a unique advantage when combined on aluminum foil. Water-based inks tend to be denser and provide a more opaque lay down which can translate into to richer and brighter colors.
Want to learn more about water-based inks in printing? Contact your Catty Representative or email firstname.lastname@example.org