Solvent costs could be eliminated with new ink system

By Jane Byrne

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Printing Food safety European food safety authority

Solvent-free inks that offer low migration and low odour risk are suitable for a range of primary and secondary food packaging substrates and ensure cost efficiency, according to the developer.

Belgium headquartered Agfa Graphics added that its new Agorix LM UV inks system, which has been formulated for use in the Dotrix Modular LM inkjet press, also guarantees low set-off risks and can be used with substrates such as multi-layer aluminium, aluminium, PET, PE, PP and OPP.

Jan de Vooght, head of sales and marketing for the Dotrix product line, told that the inks do not contain chemicals such as ITX or benzophenone and are considered sustainable through the lower operating expenses enabled by the elimination of solvent recovery costs.

He also stressed that all components are cured through its molecule freezing process.


Printing with low-migration inks is crucial in the food service industry, ensuring that no contamination occurs from the ink on the outside of the packaging to the food inside.

Inks, according to the Commission, are not covered by specific European legislation on food contact materials. However the use of printing inks has to comply with the general rules of Regulation (EC) No 1935/2004 and with good manufacturing practice (GMP) as laid down in Commission Regulation (EC) No 2023/2006.

In relation to components of packaging such as inks, Regulation (EC) No 1935/2004 states that under normal or foreseeable conditions of use they should not transfer their constituents to food in quantities which could endanger human health.


According to de Vooght, a scotch tape test showed excellent adhesion of the ink to the substrates in comparison to existing UV inks on the market. “Even without pre-treating the substrates, the Agorix LM system shows good grip properties, as opposed to liquid-toner or toner based systems whereby the substrates require treatment to ensure adhesion,”​ he said.

He said that Afga's in-house laboratory team has thoroughly tested the inks in accordance with EUPIA standards and used chemical simulates for ink migration analysis over a three week period using worst case scenario storage facilities.

“We can certify migration levels of less than 15 parts per billion (ppb) according to EUPIA guidelines,”​ said de Vooght.

Odour analysis was conducted through panel sessions with substrate suppliers, and the ink system received a consistently high rating, he continued.

de Vooght added that the inks come in six colours, in CMYK and CMYK-OV sets, which is an extension of Agfa’s previous UV ink colour gamut offering and he claims the system can meet industry demand for reproducing spot colours, providing up to 90 per cent of Pantone colours.

Agfa Graphics said it will be showcasing the ink system at IPEX in Birmingham in the UK next month.

Ink enquiry

Last year, the Commission launched a probe into the chemical found in food packaging inks, 4-methylbenzophenone (4MBP), after German and Belgian food safety bodies found the substance had migrated from packaging into breakfast cereals.

And while the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) determined that the chemical posed no long-term health risks at the reported levels, the bloc’s member states subsequently agreed to encourage firms to limit or phase out its use.

Related topics Processing & Packaging