Glossary: ​​Green ink

With the successive launch of a series of non-aromatic hydrocarbon solvent inks (such as alcohols, ester-soluble inks), water-based inks, UV inks, and soybean oil-based inks, the environmental protection of inks is gradually deepening.

The key to environmental protection

The so-called "environmental protection" is relatively speaking and should be considered from the following aspects.

Heavy metal content

This concept was first proposed by Germany. Since children often put ink-printed toys into their mouths, there is the possibility of inadvertent absorption of heavy metals. Therefore, people began to request the heavy metal content of inks. Heavy metals are mainly derived from pigments and auxiliaries in inks. Although most of the inks have now reduced the heavy metal content, until now there are people using chrome yellow and chrome red to make inks.

Aromatic hydrocarbon solvent

Mainly refers to toluene, xylene, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons and their derivatives. They will evaporate into the air with the drying of the ink, polluting the air and threatening the health of the printing operator.

Volatile organic compounds (VOCs)

It has many types, such as alcohols, esters, ethers, ketones, mineral oils, and the like. Like aromatic solvents, it evaporates as the ink dries, polluting the air.

China's environmental protection ink development history

The green ink introduced in the Chinese market can be divided into the following categories in chronological order.

Solvent type ink

Conventional solvent inks generally contain aromatic hydrocarbon solvents (toluene, xylene). Some international ink companies first introduced non-aromatic hydrocarbon solvent inks in the Chinese market, using alcohols, esters, ethers, ketones, and gasoline as solvents, eliminating the potential hazards of aromatic hydrocarbon solvents.

The solvent type inks currently used for flexographic printing are basically aromatic-free, but there are still many volatile organic solvents, which mainly affect the air quality of the printing shop. Residual odors are rare in prints, and there may be a small amount of odors in the composite prints, but they are almost impossible to find in surface prints.

Water-based ink

Compared with solvent inks, water-based inks have taken environmental performance even further. It not only does not contain aromatic solvents, but also greatly reduces the VOC, but still can not be zero content, still contains a small amount of alcohol, ether, and even organic amines. It has less impact on the environment, mainly polluting the workshop air.

UV ink

UV offset inks contain no volatile organic compounds, and this is a big step forward, safer than water-based inks. However, its drying is achieved by ultraviolet light. Ultraviolet light may cause skin cancer and make oxygen become ozone. Therefore, the dryer of the printing machine should be installed with exhaust equipment to discharge ozone to the outside. Water-based UV inks, like water-based inks, have a small amount of volatile organic solvents, which are worse than ordinary UV offset inks.

Offset printing ink four steps

As discussed before, environmental protection is only relative, but for the most used offset inks, its contribution to environmental protection has not stopped.

The first generation of environmentally friendly products - heavy metal standards

This was achieved many years ago. Of course, it cannot completely rule out the fact that a few low-priced, low-grade offset printing inks still contain a lot of heavy metals.

By printing, heavy metals will remain in the print. Dry ink film contains more heavy metals than wet ink. Of course, if you do not come into direct contact with food, it may not be harmless to enter the human body, but in fact, it is difficult to avoid.

Therefore, the standard for heavy metals in ordinary offset printing inks is the first step in achieving ink environmental protection.

The second generation of environmentally friendly products - aromatic-free

The main solvent in common conventional offset printing inks is mineral oil. Some mineral oils contain a relatively high content of aromatic hydrocarbon solvents, which tend to volatilize a pungent odor. Although there is almost no residue of aromatic hydrocarbons on completely dried prints, the market is still looking for environmentally friendly products.

As a result, in some high-grade inks, mineral oils that are completely free of aromatic hydrocarbons have been basically used.

The third generation of environmentally friendly products - soybean oil-based ink

The disappearance or disappearance of aromatic hydrocarbons in the inks still cannot avoid the effects of VOCs, so soyoil-based inks in which some mineral oils are replaced by soybean oil appear. Due to the relative reduction of VOCs, air pollution in the printing shop will also be reduced, but there is still a small amount of mineral oil.

The fourth generation of environmentally friendly products - low VOC ink (VOC <1%)

It contributes more to environmental protection than water-based inks and UV inks. Discarded prints are recyclable, and even if they are actually discarded, their decomposition in nature is easier than other inks. Therefore, it can be considered the most environmentally friendly ink.

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