Printing Ink Day – a celebration of innovation and sustainability

Each year, January 16th marks Printing Ink Day in the United States – a special day for all of us at Flint Group. A day when we celebrate the people and technology that we use every day to bring colour to the world.

There is a lot to celebrate about this remarkable industry. Recent years have seen the print sector overcome many challenges. This means today’s industry is rich with innovation and financially strong. And, at Flint Group, we are proud to lead the way with our focus on Products, Planet, and People.

Sustainability is key across the printing industry

Sustainability is one of the burning issues affecting every industry and the print and packaging sectors have a particularly important role to play in reducing carbon emissions across the supply chain.

At Flint Group, sustainability is part of our DNA. That means our ink & coating solutions are developed with their potential environmental impact in mind. We have designed our PRISM framework as the basis of our approach to this critical topic. This divides sustainability into three clear categories, the same way a glass prism refracts a beam of light into separate colours.

The three pillars of our PRISM strategy are Products, Planet, and People

  • Products - we innovate to reduce the impact of our products, services and those of our customers
  • Planet - we reduce our environmental impacts and help our customers reduce theirs
  • People - we invest in our employees, health and safety, and a diverse workforce

This means we take a holistic approach to sustainability that incorporates all aspects of a product’s lifecycle.

Our pioneering EkoCure® range is an example of the great strides we have made to support our customers’ sustainability goals in recent years. EkoCure® is a range of inks that can be cured using UV LED light.

UV LED lamps use much less energy than traditional phosphorescent UV bulbs used in curing, keeping the amount of emissions produced during production to a minimum. LEDs are also low maintenance and do not need to be replaced as often, and do not produce mercury waste when disposed of.

Material replacement is another crucial way ink technology can help companies meet their sustainability goals. EkoCure® F is a UV LED curable ink made using bio-renewable resin technology, which means it consumes fewer of our planet’s natural resources.

Ink choice can also impact how recyclable a product is at end-of-life. Labels can complicate the recycling process of PET bottles as the ink can contaminate the plastic as it moves through the recycling stream. Our Evolution Series was developed in response to this concern. It consists of a Deinking Primer, which is applied to the substrate before the ink, and a Varnish.

The primer helps ensure the label’s ink can be easily separated from the label during the caustic wash process. The label substrate is then broken down into flakes, ensuring the entire PET bottle can be recycled into something new. By contrast, Evolution Varnish protects the inks during the caustic wash, preventing them from contaminating the washing solution and improving the quality of the reclaimed material. In that sense, inks have a huge role to play in the circular economy of the future.

Ink is essential and reliability is key

Inks and coatings play a huge part in every industry. They bring packaging designs to life, which is crucial for retail goods in today’s crowded marketplace. The importance of ink formulations that provide reliability cannot be understated. It’s a vital tool brands can use to build relationships with consumers. Many of the world’s leading brands rely heavily on instantly recognisable hues as part of their identity.

Importantly, the manufacture of inks and coatings is part of the essential packaging industry. For example, packaging is vital to minimise food waste, keep essential food and beverages safe for global societies, and provide clear labelling for important pharmaceuticals.

Poor colour and print consistency can damage the trust a consumer has in a brand. Therefore, ensuring that selected inks and coatings have the attributes needed to perform throughout the supply chain is vital.

We have developed a wide range of solutions suitable for almost any application. For example, our range of inks for Flexible Packaging includes options that are optimised for flexographic and rotogravure printing. As flexible packaging becomes more popular due to its lightweight, minimal material properties, using the right inks for these print techniques is becoming more important by the day.

Inks and coatings that are not delivered on time affect a critical value chain of packaged goods getting to consumers worldwide.  At Flint Group, our supply chains are secure and we are focused to ensure that printers and converters in all regions of the world receive the products they need to continue printing.

Inks & Coatings for safe packaging:

Meeting the stringent demands of food packaging is complex and important. Flexocure® ANCORA™ 50 B3 ink is designed for applications that require very low migration. Flint Group offers inks for safe packaging of food and beverages for flexible packaging, folding carton and labels.

Ensuring high-quality readable text for printing on labels and pharmaceutical packages is paramount. Flint Group’s Flexocure® IVORY and EBONY offer maximum opacity white and black flexo inks respectively providing excellent press stability and print quality and can be used to create legible text even in the smallest label size and on a variety of materials.

Our UV Scratch Off solution provides a one-component press-ready coating that can be used to provide functional benefits. In pharma applications, this can be used to print tamper-evident ‘void if removed’ labels.

Ink innovation has progressed further than aesthetic quality. Combinations of inks and coatings can be used to give packaging and label products the required performance properties for each specific application, from moisture and grease resistance to barriers to aroma and light.

Printing ink is what brings products and brands to life. However, choosing the right ink or coating can do so much more than this. It can influence the durability and effectiveness of the finished label or pack, promote a more efficient printing process, whether that is for corrugate, offset, flexo, or any other application. It can also strongly impact recycling and circular economies, and promote safety via packaging for the well-being of people around the world.


To learn more about how the latest ink and coating technology can make a difference to your business, get in touch with our team of experts today.