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Mono-material corrugated board: Advance with coatings in a recycling-friendly manner

The high-quality, multicolored design of packaging is on a par with the protective properties that contribute to the integrity and quality preservation of the filling goods. With coatings, produced in a single operation on Panther Print's flexo preprint system, there is a wide range available to significantly expand the performance criteria of corrugated board.

The food industry, for example, can benefit from Panther Print's coating technology for numerous products: inner linings for vegetable trays or for packaging frozen fish are equipped with water-resistant barriers.

Corrugated board packaging with fat-resistant barriers on the inner lining offers semi-finished products such as raw chocolate, i.e. products with a high fat content, optimum product protection. Their effectiveness is also determined in suitable tests, for example DIN 53116.

Specific barrier coatings can also be implemented for deep-freeze applications, which allow the products to be frozen, thawed and baked in the packaging.

A wide range of interesting applications can be found in the non-food sector. For example, corrugated board packaging with an antistatic coating for electronic items and a non-stick coating on corrugated board are beneficial. Coatings for dust binding were developed for the glass industry.

Waste avoidance and product protection go hand in hand

The examples given so far show the compatibility of the greatest possible protection of packaged goods with packaging designed for recycling, which contributes to avoiding waste and substitutes more problematic solutions.

The lacquers and printing inks used in the Panther Group are water-based acrylic resin lacquers, paints and coatings that are practically solvent-free. According to the definition of the printing ink industry, these products are also considered to be free of heavy metals. If disposed of properly, there are no less toxic (harmful to health) and certainly no toxic substances within the meaning of the Hazardous Substances Ordinance. Corrugated board packaging coated with these coatings is completely recyclable and can be returned to the paper raw material cycle at any time, while the recyclability of other surface finishes, such as cellophane wrapping and UV coating, is not fully guaranteed.

The frequently asked demand for the increased use of recycled paper can also be met in flexographic pre-printing. It should be noted that the papers made from these secondary fibers can pose more challenges in the production process than paper grades made from primary fibers.

Water-based printing inks have proven to be very suitable for flexographic printing. The flexo preprint process in particular has taken advantage of this. The practical advantages lie primarily in the use of water as a solvent, which enables easy disposal. Since Panther Print only uses water-based inks, the products can be easily recycled with waste paper. Toxic heavy metals are not used with these paints.

Lacquers and coatings: protection and enhancement of packaging

Corrugated board packaging can be provided with a wide variety of coatings. These include high-gloss finishes, protective finishes, anti-slip finishes and various coatings. All paint finishes and coatings refine the packaging.

First and foremost, the varnishes and coatings protect the packaging from color abrasion, annoying scratches, moisture or grease. At the Panther Group, these coatings are applied in a single operation during the printing process using preprint coating units and transfer rollers and chamber doctor blade systems.

Depending on the intended areas of application, the types of painting and coating differ:
High-gloss coatings are mainly used to visually enhance the print and packaging. Because shiny packaging has a valuable and high-quality impression for the end consumer.

A direct definition of the gloss is only possible to a limited extent, since this is a sensory impression of the viewer and his viewing angle. Different gloss effects can be achieved depending on the paper qualities used (coated/uncoated) and the amount of varnish applied.

Protective coatings primarily serve to protect the printing and not so much to enhance the packaging's appearance. A glossy effect is not necessarily given here. This coating is characterized in particular by its extremely high temperature resistance as well as scratch and abrasion resistance.

Technological progress and the development expertise of the team at Panther Print in Wustermark (Berlin-Brandenburg) will continue to drive these forward for the benefit of the numerous areas of application. In partnership with other members of the flexo preprint process chain, such as ink and pigment manufacturers, machine builders, those involved in prepress, etc., solutions are developed in order to be able to react to changing market situations.

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