The hyper-competitive packaging industry has been a constant motivator for formulators to offer higher pigmented packaging inks. With thousands of products to choose from, packaging can be a deciding factor for consumers during a purchase decision in a retail setting.
A brand’s visual appeal has a significant role in catching a shopper’s eye. Research shows consumers make a subconscious judgement about a product within 90 seconds of viewing, with up to 90 percent of that assessment based on color, highlighting the need for inks with greater color strength and vibrancy.
Changing regulations are another factor in a formulator’s choice of pigments and dispersions, as some substances may not be permitted for use in printed food packaging in some markets. Meeting these regulations becomes more important as formulators look to unify their offerings across different markets.
BASF’s JONCRYL HPD high-performance line of acrylic resins and resin solutions are already a popular choice for formulators, but new innovations support the development of rich, vibrant printing inks that also comply with the latest regulations.
Strong color for a long-lasting impression
An integral part of water-based inks, a pigment dispersion is formulated with raw pigment and a dispersing agent, often a resin solution.
“These resin solutions enable effective dispersion of the pigment as it goes into an ink,” explains Simon Foster, Industry Marketing Manager for Printing & Packaging at BASF. “The more dispersed the pigment is, the more vibrant the color will be and the better the printed product will look.”
The more dispersed the pigment is, the more vibrant the color will be and the better the printed product will look.
Industry Marketing Manager for Printing & Packaging, BASF
Improved tonal reproduction for high-quality imaging is important for brand owners who need to recreate specific shades to represent their brand. When designing a logo, for example, different colors can change how a brand is perceived.
Recreating these colors isn’t always easy, as certain pigments are more difficult to work with than others. In some cases, a greater pigment concentration is needed for some colors, requiring a more effective dispersion.
“A major trend that we’re seeing is the desire to increase the amount of pigment that goes into a pigment dispersion,” says Foster. “JONCRYL HPD resins allow for more highly concentrated pigment dispersions, which enable more vibrant, more effective and stronger colors in the printing process.”
Choosing the right resin
Products in the JONCRYL HPD line are designed for compatibility with a wide variety of pigments, allowing for a more straightforward formulation process for ink formulators.
“JONCRYL HPD products are very compatible with a wide range of different types of pigments, from some of the less high-maintenance ones to some of the more challenging ones,” says Foster. “Formulators are able to use one pigment dispersion across a range of different pigments without adjusting their formulation, so they're easier to use and more versatile as well.”
JONCRYL HPD 296 is one of the most popular dispersions in the HPD line and provides improved viscosity and shock stability of highly pigmented dispersions.
“JONCRYL 296 is very much the market standard for pigment dispersion resins,” says Foster. “It’s used quite a lot in the industry, and it's really set the bar for the market.”
Aside from higher color-strength pigment dispersing resins, there’s another crucial factor impacting the pigments, dispersions and resins used in printing inks: food packaging regulations.
Switzerland established the Swiss Ordinance List in 2017, making it the first and only European country with legislation that specifically regulates food packaging printing inks. The Swiss Ordinance is now an important standard for the evaluation of printing inks in the EU.
Annex 10 of the ordinance contains a list of positive printing inks divided into Part A (evaluated substances) and Part B (non-evaluated substances). Printing inks must comply with the regulations within the annex in order to be used or sold in Switzerland. In many ways, these regulations have become the defacto regulatory requirements for inks and coatings in Europe, and even more broadly.
JONCRYL HPD 496-A is designed to combine the superior color development and performance capabilities of JONCRYL HPD 296 with added Swiss Ordinance A compliance, an essential qualification for formulators across regions.
“For formulators that are more global in nature, have more global formulations or are harmonizing their formulations across North America and Europe, having that Swiss A compliance is quite helpful,” says Foster.
In a similar vein, JONCRYL HPD 396-A, delivers improved shock stability, high pigment loading and food contact legislation compliance. As a water-based grind resin, it also helps to reduce grinding time and improve production line efficiency.
These new introductions to the JONCRYL HPD family aim to further improve the performance capabilities of water-based printing inks, making them a more sustainable and attractive alternative to solvent-based inks.
“We have a wide range of pigment dispersing resins that can cater to all different types of applications,” says Foster. “We’ve been well known for a number of the products that we have in our portfolio. However, we also are continuing to innovate and bring out new products that enable customer formulations to continue to improve in a variety of areas.”
For more information on BASF’s JONCRYL HPD line or to request a sample, Click Here.