Reducing Layers in Flexible Packaging

Electron Beam technolog supports innovative packaging design

What is EB Curing?

EB Curing is a beam of electrons to polymerize a combination of monomers and oligomers into a substrate. Coating liquid is applied by an anilox roller to a film web, which then passes into the electron beam to crosslink the coating by electron radicals.  EB curing allows the manufacturer to run at or near ambient temperature, making this process ideal for heat-sensitive substrates. Sensitive and flammable substrates benefit from the EB curing technology because no solvents are used.

Traditional multi-film packaging versus mono-web packaging structure

Traditional flexible packaging requires laminating adhesive between film layers to achieve optimal package performance. Reverse printing is expensive and time consuming with multiple layers and steps in the process. In addition, standard varnishes require solvent or water drying and provide poor rub resistance which can be a problem as the film moves over machine rollers. Traditional flexible packaging needs a few hours to cure to remove the final solvents from conventional inks and achieve full chemical and physical resistance properties of the entire structure.

Alternatively, EB curing technology removes one of the film layers and uses the coating to adhere the layers together. An EB coating needs one pass through the electron beam to provide instant cure and gain the full performance properties seen with traditional multi-layer structures. EB curing technology is a key driver in reducing layers in flexible packaging. 

Traditional flexible packaging requires laminating adhesive between film layers to achieve optimal package performance. Reverse printing is expensive and time consuming with multiple layers and steps in the process. In addition, standard varnishes require solvent or water drying and provide poor rub resistance which can be a problem as the film moves over machine rollers. Traditional flexible packaging needs a few hours to cure to remove the final solvents from conventional inks and achieve full chemical and physical resistance properties of the entire structure.

Alternatively, EB curing technology removes one of the film layers and uses the coating to adhere the layers together. An EB coating needs one pass through the electron beam to provide instant cure and gain the full performance properties seen with traditional multi-layer structures. EB curing technology is a key driver in reducing layers in flexible packaging. 

Why would you convert to EB technology?

While the move to a mono-web packaging structure may be compelling, there are many reasons EB curing technology is an ideal solution.

  1. Food Safe – Henkel’s EB cure products do not contain photo-initiators.  Several products are designed for food packaging and meet FDA and EU food regulations.
  2. Energy Savings – EB curing technology uses less energy than conventional coating techniques to create the final package structure.
  3. Improved Productivity – EB coatings require less than a second of exposure to the electron beam for cure. This allows web line speeds of 1,000 ft/min and higher.  Products are instantly ready for testing and shipment by eliminating wait time for cure. This enables the line able to run at high speeds and allows product to ship quickly with instant cure of your flexible package.
  4. Cost Savings – Layer reduction in flexible packaging allows a converter to reduce material cost with the same quality of product.
  5. Environmentally Friendly – EB curing is a solvent-free process; thereby, making emissions and flammability of no concern.  Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are eliminated from the material and combined with the elimination of film layers offers the potential to create a recyclable package.

 

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