NETHERLANDS – Paper and pulp-producing company, Sappi has joined forces with digital printing pioneer Xeikon to develop resource-saving flexible packaging.

With Xeikon’s latest dry toner innovation, Titon and the Xeikon TX500, the company has set its sights on the paper-based flexible packaging market, which, as Xeikon’s collaboration partner Sappi has been reporting for some time, is experiencing strong growth due to demand for resource-saving, recyclable and plastic-free alternatives from end-users as well as brand owners and converters

Frank Jacobs, market intel and senior product manager at Flint Group digital understands that the demands made on inks for direct printing on paper-based materials for applications in the flexible packaging sector are very high:

“Over and above ensuring a good print result, the inks need to be extremely resistant throughout the packaging process and insensitive to temperature, e.g., for heat-sealing,” said Jacobs.

“And, especially for applications in the food sector, they also need to be odorless, tasteless, food-safe and migration-proof.”

The new Titon toner formulation combines the features of toners and UV inks, merging the food-safe and odorless properties of dry toner with the special resistance to chemicals and mechanical abrasion of UV inkjet ink.

It also withstands temperatures of up to 220-260°C – which is essential for ensuring packaging integrity and product protection.

Titon can be used to print directly onto paper-based packaging materials without the need for additional varnishing or lamination to protect the print.

Xeikon tested the toner technology with Sappi products, and extensive tests revealed two qualities in particular that work especially well with the toner:

“We achieved the best printing results with our innovative functional papers Sappi Seal Silk with a 67 g/m2 basis weight and Sappi AvantGuard S Natural in 75 g/m2 grammage,” said Sibylle Hajostek, market manager packaging solutions at Sappi.

“Both papers have an exceptionally high-quality appeal and were developed specifically for the flexible packaging market. The results we achieved in combination with the Titon technology left absolutely nothing to be desired – neither visually nor functionally.”

The one-side coated, heat-sealable Seal Silk is recommended for standard flexible packaging in the food and non-food sectors in particular, while the uncoated, heat-sealable AvantGuard S Natural high-barrier paper is equally suitable for various flexible packaging applications in the food and non-food markets.

Frank Jacobs added: “The print image we created in combination with the Sappi papers was nothing less than phenomenal. Results like these on paper-based substrates can otherwise only be achieved with flexo printing.”

Titon technology has passed all criteria of the Nestlé Standard on Printing Inks for Food Packaging, the EUPIA Exclusion Policy for Printing Inks, the Swiss Ordinance as well as what is known about the German Ink Ordinance and other migration tests.

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