The published articles are meant to primarily educate the students in printing to supplement their knowledge in the field of Printing. These are not simple Glossary of printing terms, but to the extent possible every term has been explained in brief so that it can be of some use to the students who appear in some sort of examinations and interviews.
I served the Printing Industry for over 40 years
in various capacities, a major part in an Security Printing Organization. In order not to waste the printing and paper related knowledge which I gained over years, I decided to keep them in public domain for the reason stated in prepara. Most of the illustrations - over 90% - have been generated by me to explain the terms suitably.
While I am not sure to what extent the published content will help, if the content is going to be of use to some one in some manner, I will be greatly satisfied.
Your views may be sent to me ( for my record and correction wherever needed.



- Over 400 terms-

Click on this line to read from 'A'

Saturday, December 10, 2016

printing ink-- harmful colours

Do not wrap food in newspapers...
printing ink contains harmful colours
Printing inks may also contain harmful colours, pigments,
binders, additives, and preservatives. Besides chemical
contaminants, presence of pathogenic micro organisms in
used newspapers also poses potential risk
to human health. (Shutter stock) 

Wrapping food items in newspaper is bad for your health as its ink has multiple bio active materials with known negative health effects, the Food, Safety and Standard Authority of India (FSSAI) said on Friday.

“Wrapping food in newspapers is an unhealthy practice and the consumption of such food is injurious to health, even if the food has been cooked hygienically,” FSSAI said in an advisory.

“Printing inks may also contain harmful colours, pigments, binders, additives, and preservatives. Besides chemical contaminants, presence of pathogenic micro organisms in used newspapers also poses potential risk to human health,” the advisory said.

The advisory also said that even paper/cardboard boxes made of recycled paper may be contaminated with harmful chemicals like phthalate which can cause digestive problems and also lead to severe toxicity. “Older people, teenagers, children and people with compromised vital organs and immune systems are at a greater risk of acquiring cancer-related health complications, if they are exposed to food packed in such material,” the advisory warned.

The advisory comes after Health Minister J.P. Nadda’s directions to the food regulatory authority against the practice of wrapping and covering food items in newspapers in India. Speaking in this regard J.P Nadda said: “It has been observed that vendors have been using newspapers in packing and serving food, which is harmful. I urge the public to dissuade the vendors from doing so.”

According to the advisory, the Commissioners of Food Safety of all States/Union Territories will initiate systematic campaigns for generating awareness among all the stakeholders to discourage the use of newspapers for packing, serving and storing food items.


News Courtesy: Hindustan Times dated 10th December, 2016
"Read by clicking column: life style "


Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Two interesting news on currencies

Read below two interesting news on Currencies and Bank Notes as published by two leading National Daily News Papers

Vegans, religious groups protest use of tallow to produce ‘longer lasting’ currency
A new £5 note issued by the Bank of England has generated concern and anger among religious groups, vegans and vegetarians after it emerged that it contained traces of animal fat.
The note entered circulation in September, but its controversial content became known only on Monday after the Bank of England responded to a question on Twitter confirming that there was a “trace of tallow in the polymer pallets used in the base substrate of the polymer £5 notes.”
“Tallow is derived from animal fats (suet) and is a substance that is also widely used in the manufacture of candles and soap,” the central bank said in a statement.
An online petition asking the bank to cease using animal products in its notes quickly gained support: more than 90,000 people had signed the petition to be delivered to the Bank of England by Wednesday. The notes, the petition started by Doug Maw said, were “unacceptable to millions of vegans, vegetarians, Hindus, Sikhs, Jains and others in the U.K.”
“We demand that you cease to use animal products in the production of currency that we have to use,” it said. More to come
The new note is the first of a series based on polymer being issued by the central bank, as part of a drive to make notes that “last longer, stay cleaner and are harder to counterfeit than paper notes.” The bank conducted a consultation on the switch to the notes in 2013, and there is even a website devoted to it: New £10 and £20 polymer notes are due to come out in 2017 and 2020 respectively.
The bank estimates these notes last 2.5 times longer than paper.
On how Indian groups see the issue, Poonam Joshi, founder of Indian Ladies UK, a networking organization for first generation migrants, said, “There is huge disappointment, shock and anger among our members, especially those who are vegetarians, Jains, Hindus and Sikhs.” “Thousands have already signed the petition.” “This country is very stringent about mentioning everything on the label and yet it took two months for this finding to come to light,” she added.
Trupti Patel, president, Hindu Forum of Britain, which represents over 300 Hindu organizations, was surprised at the move.
It contrasted with the largely inclusive and sensitive approach of U.K. authorities towards concerns of faith groups, she said.
Ms. Patel said she believed the inclusion of animal fat was simply an oversight. “I think it’s most likely a mistake. When you develop something new and its animal content doesn’t matter to you, you just don’t think of it.” 



Away from the crush of long queues and a daily cash crunch that’s expected to exacerbate the crisis come Pay Day tomorrow, an estimated 3,000 workers in the security printing presses in Dewas, Madhya Pradesh and Nashik, Maharashtra are hard at work. And have been incentivised for churning out a record production of Rs 500 notes. Days after the November 8 announcement, the long two-hour lunch break has been done away with at two presses of the SPMCIL (Security Printing and Minting Corporation of India Limited) and workers now get a daily group lunch incentive — the lunch break has been staggered; the printing never stops with a per diem allowance for extra time thrown in.
In the SPMCIL presses in Dewas and Nashik which have until now taken the burden of exclusively printing the new 500-rupee notes, workers have been given a “target allowance”—marked up March 2017 — which may, roughly, translate into Rs 10,000 extra as monthly emoluments.
Besides this, top SPMCIL officials say they have also cleared the long-pending demand of senior staff at the security presses for a productivity linked pay package which is expected to be announced shortly. This special allowance will annually add another Rs 20,000-30,000 to the pay package of managers and senior supervisors.
As a top SPMCIL official put it, “The workers have been motivated and told they too are in a war-like situation. That the entire country is waiting for the Rs 500 currency notes they are printing.”
As a result, officials said production of Rs 500 notes has gone up these past two weeks from 6 million pieces a day to 10 million a day at Dewas and from 3 million pieces a day to 5 million pieces a day at Nashik.
Except for delivery to adjoining cities, the cargo of currency is now being airlifted and rushed to the 4,400 currency chests across the country.
The almost frantic printing cycle for Rs 500 notes has resulted in some obvious and some unnoticed changes. For one, there are frequent breakdowns of machine, which officials admit, have been badly in need of overhaul for years. Also, tenders are being issued by SPMCIL on a daily basis. For example, over the past few days, tenders have gone out for the purchase of thousands of gunny bags for huge consignments of chemicals and installation of CCTVs and access-control systems at the presses.
Top officials told The Indian Express that as of now, despite the spike in production of Rs 500 notes, they have not yet resorted to emergency import of currency paper since sufficient stocks are available. The only urgent import that has been effected is for OVI (optically variable ink) from the Swiss firm, SICPA, which gives the Rs 500 currency another of its anti-counterfeiting features.

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Low Migration Inks (LMI)

(Written by : N.R. Jayaraman)

Most of the printers in India may not be aware of the developments beyond Quick set and UV drying inks for use on Printing machines or about the legislative norms and regulations in force in the European countries on the use of  Inks for printing  the wrappers and cartons on food packages. The use of suitable inks to meet the norms and regulations are followed rigorously by the printers and the manufacturers of the food products in the western and European countries since Law enforcing agencies keep stringent control on this aspect. The reason for the norms is to ensure that the print on the packages do not in any way endanger consumer health by the migration of chemicals or other ingredients from the ink on print  touching or contacting the food items packed inside the wrappers.

However we are focusing in this article only the aspect of migration of ‘INK’ into the food packs which if allowed will contaminate the food items causing health hazard. Also in focus in this article is how certain measures
during the last one decade have been initiated to nullify the said effects. Wherever we mention food package in this article, remember that they are food items such as ready to eat food stuff, beverages and other food items of many types including frozen food items. The issue of hazard due to the ink on food packages  gained alarming attention around ten years ago  as can be seen from the article published by Shri. Neelakamal Mohapatra in FNM dated Wednesday, 01 June, 2016 in which the author mentions :-


............Long before the public became aware, a number of scientific publications had already revealed the migration potential of substances present in prints. In the first big migration scandal in 2005, the findings of isopropyl thioxanthone (ITX, a low molecular photo initiator used in UV inks) in baby milk and other liquid foodstuffs were reported, all over Europe and caused several product recalls. This food scandal alerted the packaging chain about the migration potential of substances from printing inks. Due to the complexities involved in designing the composition of the printing inks, the risk of migration of the ink component to the food needs to be considered starting from the selection of the raw materials..........

This is how the attention of the Food and Drug Administration authorities were drawn to bring in legislation in many countries to curb use of hazardous substances in the ink used for printing on food packages and type of packing material to be used for the same.  Since then many countries have come out with regulations and norms for suitable ink and packaging material to be used for wrapping or packing food products.

Keeping in view the safety of people and the extent of hazard the chemicals from the ink may cause  when the components touch the food items in the packs some European countries through legislation enforced mandatory regulations for the  inks meant for printing on the wrappers and cartons of food packages, few of which are cited here:--

(A) Legislation: Swiss Ordinance 817.023.21 for printing inks for food packages.
The legislation states that :

  • Printing inks should contain only substances from the inventory list A { (list A* evaluated and list B* non evaluated raw materials).
  • Non evaluated raw materials B * can be used when migration can be avoided {(migration < 10 ppb (parts per billion) (* The listed items have not been reproduced in this article)}
The above legislation stipulates that the substances has to be approved before they can be used as ingredients in inks for food packaging. The contents of the regulation contains two lists –List-A and List-B- as Annexure.

The positive list has over 5700 entries grouped as A and B list. The ‘A’ list contains names of substances for which safety assessment dossiers have been submitted, while list ‘B’ contains non evaluated substances which if used will have to meet migration limit of 0.01mg/kg (10 parts per billion) using an officially validated analytical method.

(B) Legislation : EU Regulation 2023/2006. The legislation lays down rules on good manufacturing practice (GMP)* for materials and articles that come into contact with food which includes ink. It states that:

GMP i.e Good Manufacturing Practice means   Processes involving the application of printing inks to the non-food contact side of a material or article.

Printing inks applied to the non food-contact side of materials and articles shall be formulated and/or applied in such a manner that substances from the printed surface are not transferred to the food-contact side either:

  • Through the surface
  • By set off in the stack or the reel in concentration that leads to the levels of the substance in the food which are not in line with the requirements of Article 3 of Regulation (EC) No 1935/2004.
(iii) Printed materials and articles shall be handled and stored in their finished and semi-finished state  in such a manner that substances from the printed surface are not transferred to the food-contact side either :
  • Through the surface
  • By set off in the stack or the reel in concentration that leads to the levels of the substance in the food which are not in line with the requirements of Article 3 of Regulation (EC) No 1935/2004.
(iv) The printed surfaces shall not come into direct contact with food.
  • Effective quality system be maintained
  • Starting materials in compliance with pre established specifications
  • Migration or invisible set off of components of printing inks shall not exceed the limits
  • No direct contact of printed surface with food.
(C) In US, the Food and Drug Administration called FDA regulates the material which will come into contact with food. Naturally it applies to ink on the food pack containers and wrappers. There is a basic assumption that any material used in food contact applications (including ink) will become part of the food unless documented testing proves otherwise. The FDA provides a list of approved materials in title 21CFR (code of Federal Regulations)

The Inks and coatings that do not have direct food contact are not regulated, as long as there is a functional barrier between the food contact side and the ink or coating, and the inks and coatings do not migrate to the food contact side during various steps in the process. It is responsibility of the packaging manufacturer to determine if the construction meets the definition of a functional barrier (Ref: Adherence to high standards for food packaging inks a must for consumer safety by Shri.Sanjeev Bansal | Mumbai dated March 20, 2014).

(D) Though India has BIS standards for manufacture of printing inks for use on food packaging, it is only voluntary. However Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) have issued guidelines for manufacture of printing inks used for food packaging vide IS: 15495:2004: May 2010 under code of practice** to be followed. Unfortunately, this is again not being enforced to its full potential. It is only voluntary standard for adaption even though India has been a significant importer and exporter of food.

( **The gist of  guide lines given in IS standard is reproduced  at the end for information).

As the legislation and norms began to be issued in many countries for the use of non hazardous type of inks for printing on the food packs, some of the ink manufacturers came out with Low Migration Inks and Safe inks for food packages  which complied to the provisions of legislation in this issue.

What is meant by migration of inks, how important is this aspect for the inks used on food packs and whether the Low Migration Inks are   in meeting the norms of the legislation ? Let us analyze the issue one by one.

Migration of ink means transfer of certain quantity of component from the ink through the walls of the packing touching the food, or vice versa.

The migration of ink through the surface of packing material on food packages takes place in three to four ways as indicated below. Such migrated traces of the ink may not get detected in odour and taste tests when the food is consumed, but can be identified only by sensitive chemical analysis. 

  • Migration by Penetration: Migration of the ink component of low molecular weight penetrate into the substance from the printed side to reach the non printed side i.e inside the pack thus contacting the food items. 
  • Migration by Set Off: While printing, sometimes the wet ink print from the  substrates that follow may leave some impression on to the back side of the previous printed sheet above and it is called set off.  Since the non printed side (Back side of the substance) forms the inner wall in the pack, the residual ink ingredients (set off) stuck to it comes into contact with the food item inside. 
  • Migration by evaporation : During heating  or baking process of frozen food packed in the microwavable packs, the volatile substances in the enclosed air space inside the packaging can get transferred to the food via the fumes or gas phase and may cause negative effect on the smell or taste of food items. Some components of the ink that has penetrated into the inner wall of the substance may also mix up with the fumes in the vacuum space to contaminate the food items. Even changes in the environment conditions may cause this reaction. 
  • Migration by Direct Contact: While printing, sometimes the print is made on the reverse side of the transparent packing substance in such a way that the print can be seen from above. Since the print on the wall inside touches the food item directly, the ink ingredients comes into contact with the food item inside.
How is the extent of migration of ink indicated or measured? 

The level or concentration of ingredients of ink migrants permitted by law (internationally) is usually expressed in terms such as Mg/Kg (measure per kg) or PPB (parts per billion) of the food content. Someone may refers the migration as 6 mg/kg, then it can also be viewed as as 6 ppm or 6000 ppb. For example if after testing a ingredient or the migrant substance of ink is addressed as 74 mg per kg, that means that for every kilogram of ink, 74 milligrams of migrant product may migrate. So if the measurement of the component is 4300 mg/kg, there will be 4300 mg of the said component in every kg. The higher the number, the higher will be the level of migrants per kg.

What is the upper limit prescribed for migration of ink?

Is legislation or norms or regulations prescribe upper limits for migration in respect of Ink ? No, there are no clear indications except in Swiss regulations. Remember one basic aspect. Ink alone is not solely responsible for the process of migration. It is one amongst many  other factors.  The amount of migration depends upon several factors such as the substance used for packing, nature of packing, type of food item and the conditions of their use besides the type of ink used on print. At present, no regulation exists that specifically deals with the formulation of inks meant for foodstuff packaging even though migration limits have been prescribed for the substances used like  the packaging materials used. Read the following interesting information:

......Printing inks are currently not specifically regulated under European Law, though substances used in food contact materials shall generally not endanger human health (Article 3, EC 1935/2004) and some printing inks are regulated under the plastics regulation EC 10/2011 act. In consequence, most printing inks continue to lack toxicological evaluation and specific migration limits (SMLs) in Europe. Yet, the Swiss Ordinance on printing inks contains positive list of substances for the printing inks ..... (Ref:- Printing ink exposure from FCM significantly underestimated – written by Charlotte Wagner dated October 30, 2013 in Food Packaging Forum)
- Unquote

To our knowledge except Switzerland, no other country has stipulated specific norms for the use of Inks for food packaging. It is learnt that the Swiss Federal Department of Home Affairs (FDHA) recently adopted an amendment to the Ordinance dated 23rd November 2005 issued for  use of Materials and Articles (SR 817.023.21) relating to packaging inks.  This amendment, introduced on 7th March 2008 and coming into force on 1st April 2010, Article 26g, details the requirement to state that only permitted substances should be used in the manufacture of Packaging Inks. Permitted Substances are defined as those which are listed in Annex as 'Lists I' and 'List-II' and in 'Annex 6'. (Ref:

In view of stricter Legislation and mandatory norms enforced by several nations, the printers around the world have begun to use alternate ink other than the standard inks for printing on Food packages in order to comply with the regulations and norms meant for printing inks used on food packages and in this direction the ink manufacturers too have come out with Low Migration Inks. With no global legislation available and terminology not definitely defined, ink formulation for food packaging remains a challenge for suppliers who work closely with customers to ensure compliance with various guidelines and the safe production of printed food products.

What is the basic difference between Standard and Low Migration Inks ?

Standard Inks being low in molecular weight have lower viscosity. The drying components in them have the potential to migrate. The Low migration inks replace these properties with high molecular weight and evaluated substances. In addition to food, many pharmaceuticals, personal care products, child and baby care products, beverages, and tobacco products require inks with low-migration properties.

What is Low Migration Ink ?

The term Low Migration Inks means the ink on the print will not quickly intrude through the walls of the packaging material to contact the food stuff packed in. The qualities of such inks are that they are made with only with such components which do not have the tendency to migrate, or move away from the top layer of the pack to intrude into the other side of the pack. The extent of migration of those inks will be just hold on to the top layer of the outer wall. In short, to qualify as Low Migration Ink, they must not have any migratory chemicals as their component which if allowed would affect the appearance, flavour, odour, taste, or the safety of the product placed inside the pack. The migration of printing inks or permissibility to intrude also depends on the properties of the substance on which they are printed. The materials may be of any type such as Paper, board, plastic or other polyester substrates etc. While paper based carton and board or even thin plastic substrates have high level of permeability, the glass has no permeability and therefore any ink can be safely used if glass base material is used as packaging material for food items.

Since the migration depends upon the material which is manufactured using different types of raw materials by each manufacturer, the ink suppliers will have to ensure that the medium on which the ink is to be used is well analyzed for manufacturing suitable ink before the ink supply is made. This aspect gains importance where brand protection issue comes to the fore and only specific material is used as food package material and therefore customization of specific ink to meet the provisions of non migration tendency is quite easier to produce.

For example the behaviour of Low Migration Inks used on one kind of Card board may not effectively give same result on another Card board which may have been manufactured using different other raw material. Low Migration Inks used on Cardboard or Polyester may not work effectively on different other plastic based carton. Therefore the best effect of Low Migration can not be obtained by ink alone, as other factors also come in to play which includes pack and prints design; how the ink is applied and dried; ink coverage; the substrates used and storage conditions. Regardless of how an ink is formulated, the ink alone cannot be considered low-migration until it’s actually applied to a specific substrate.

Colorcon’s No-Tox® Products Division manufactures the safest line of U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) regulated printing inks. These inks are used exclusively for printing applications involving direct and indirect contact with food, pharmaceutical or medical products. No-Tox® printing inks are ideal for packaging  that directly contact food and confectionery items. Sun Chemicals, Sicpa and Siegwerk  are in forefront in manufacturing Low Migration Inks.

The Low Migration Inks have also been introduced for Inkjet printing. Agfa's low-migration (LM) UV-curable inkjet inks are designed primarily for printing directly on food packaging and on labels, blister foils, lids etc for food and pharma packaging applications. These low-migration inks are based on specific chemical formulations, compliant with European guidelines on food package printing.

The UVAFLEX® Y71 Series of inks manufactured by Zeller+Gmelin GmbH & Co. KG has a low-migration formulation and is therefore suitable for printing of primary packaging for food. The UVAFLEX® Y71 Series is a new developed low migration ink series for flexible packaging and labels.  

Many firms across the globe specialized in manufacturing inks have come out with Low Migration Inks suitable to print on for food packages. 

Some of the known firms manufacturing inks suitable for food packages are :
  •  Siegwerk, India
  • Sicpa, Switzerland
  • Sun Chemical, UK
  • USAINX International, USA
  • Flint group, Germany
  • EuPia, Belgium
  • Gallus, Switzerland 
  • Marabu GmbH & Co, Germany
  • HP Indigo
  • Zeller+Gmelin UK Ltd
  • Frimpeks® UK/Germany
  • Huber group, Germany
The code of practice stipulated in IS 15495: 2004 standard for manufacture of Printing Inks for food packages  are briefly mentioned below: 

(1) For for printing external food wrappings, where there is a barrier in the form of another wrapper between the printed surface and the food:- The very low mass of the ink generally used to print such a packing and the remoteness of ink itself from the food make any additional safeguards unnecessary. The components in printing ink need to comply to exclusion list given in Annex A which contains list of Pigments and compounds based on antimony*^, arsenic, cadmium, chromium (VI), lead^\ mercury and selenium; various Dye colorants, limits of heavy metals contained in pigments and dyes, solvents etc.

(2) In case the printed ink film is deliberately applied to the surface intended to be in contact with food, it is possible that migration of some ingredients into the food may occur and therefore, the printing ink for such a purpose shall have to be formulated with materials which are permissible as food additives and comply with the appropriate regulations of the Government of India.

(3) The over coating of printed matter with a varnish to provide a functional barrier between the printed side and the food may not, under all conditions, prevent migration of some ingredients from the ink into the food and therefore, may not prevent contamination. It is, therefore, necessary that inks for immediate food wrappings must be applied to the outside of the wrapper. The wrapper itself shall form a functional barrier between the printed surface and the food.

(4) The ink film on a wrapper is generally extremely thin and consequently, the total quantity of ink involved is very small. However, in order to impose the safeguard, inks for immediate food wrappings shall be formulated with materials other than those known to be toxic and shall not contain material listed in Annex A (Details as given under Sr 1 above).

(5) The immediate food wrappers shall be printed in such a manner that set-off in the printing process is avoided. This is necessary to ensure that the surface of the wrapper in contact with food is free from printing ink. 

(6) The materials and articles in contact with food, that is, food packages or wrappers shall be so manufactured that under normal or foreseeable condition of use, they shall not transfer their constituents to the food in quantities which may endanger human health.

(7) However, if it is necessary for the printed surface to be in direct contact with food, the guidelines prescribed in 4.3,5 shall apply and the printing inks shall have to be formulated with materials, which are acceptable as food additives under the appropriate regulations of the Government of India.

(8) In case of printed films or coupon inserts for dry granular foods, printed inks shall be formulated in such a way that there is no reasonable risk of the print migrating onto the food. In general, requirements of 4.3.1 and 4.3.2 apply there.

(9) Printing inks for disposables shall be formulated with materials necessarily excluding those covered in Annex A or those, which are otherwise known to be toxic. As far as possible and practicable, the printing ink manufacturers shall ensure that inks are formulated in such a way as to avoid migration of dyes or other coloring agents, liable to bleed under the expected conditions of use, onto the food.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Unique Security feature in Digital Printing

(Written by N.R. Jayaraman)
For the first time in the world of Digital printing, we were amazed to hear that sometime in the year 2010 or so, a not easy to reproduce security feature, printable by Digital printing has been developed by the pioneers in the field of Graphic arts products- M/s Kodak Ltd. One of the giants in the manufacture of Photographic products like films, papers and systems all under the roof Graphic systems, M/s Kodak continues to contribute their innovations to the print industry. Their ‘NexPress’ Digital printing machine is feather in the cap of Digital printing technology which has Fifth Imaging Solutions beyond CMYB or CMYK (Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Key colour i.e Black) printing process. Perhaps for the first time, the application of security feature in print form, not easy to counterfeit on Secure documents have been made possible in the Digital Printing using dry ink (toner).

The Kodak NexPress is the world’s best Digital color printer as per the industry news. Larger color gamut is reportedly available in this machine more than that reproducible by CMYK and this Digital printer offers to print close to 85% of PMS (Pantone matching System) colours using dry powder technology. NexPress is four color process commercial Digital printing and has the look and feel of offset printing. This machine is featured to even allow colours to be printed in different sequences and combinations, broadening the spectrum of applications that can be produced.

A brief on Pantone Color Matching System will be useful to understand the impact of the colour effect NexPress offers.  The Pantone is a standardized color reproduction system uniformly used by different printers in different locations around the world, to reproduce identical colour effect of any specific shade on any material printed. The Pantone system has 1114 colour spots all of which cannot be simulated by conventional CMYK process of printing and the colours in Pantone are described by their allocated number. Each shade in Pantone colour is a mixture of certain % of different colours to arrive at the specific shade.

The Pantone colours are in the form of chip books, each one of them showing how the same colour will look on Coated, Uncoated and Matt finish stock. The printer will be able to pick up the exact shade of ink for all kinds of stocks to be printed- coated, uncoated, matt finish or even plastic based  on which the prints are made. For example, the specific colour is very essential in the registered or patented logos and other registered or patented  printed images
as standardized by the firms. Whatever print material the firm produces, they expect the very same colour shade to appear in their logos or print images (registered shades) printed on variety of stocks such as coated, uncoated, matt finish or even plastic based. The shade has to be same on every bit printed. They may be printed in different locations too.   The printers adhering to the Pantone system without direct contact with one another can match the exact colours printed in a press by using the Pantone colour code inks. Though Pantone is not the only color standardization system available, world over it is perhaps the most widely used system which most of the standard printers understand. Therefore printing close to Pantone colours will be a big leap forward in the art of Digital Printing .

Coming back to NexPress, as per user industry, the NexPress reportedly offers excellent image quality and a shade better than Offset suitable for all applications. NexPress seamlessly prints on virtually any kind of paper—coated or uncoated, textured or smooth. NexPress offers saturated high-contrast colours and crisp detail better than the one reproduced through Offset or by photographic image reproduction process on coated and uncoated papers. 

The machine supports use of a wide range of substrate types for printing in several sizes, weights and thicknesses. The machine has five color configuration, the fifth being imaging solution that enable gold printing effects. In an exhibition held in Drupa, the M/s Kodak reportedly showcased Gold print solution accompanied by samples of Pearlescent and Neon print options through the fifth imaging unit on NexPress Digital printing machine, all with Dry toner inks and not wet inks. The expansion of Gold and Pearlescent and Neon print solutions to Digital printing with dry toner will pursue new customers and market so claim the market watchers.

It is claimed that the major advantage of NexPress is the upgradability available on all the NexPress machines including for adding new inline UV coating which gives gloss and satin finish to the prints again through the fifth imaging unit solution. NexPress is able to produce  unique invisible 2-D and QR bar codes on promotional and direct mail material to help track the forged material/products and also be able to print Dimensional Printing (2 and 3 D print). 


Besides above the features the other important major breakthrough in Digital Printing is the possibility to print security feature using a patented Red fluorescing dry powder for the protection of documents, packaging and promotional products and direct mail material. Kodak NexPress RFDI (Red Fluorescing Dry Ink) a patented product of Kodak, is transparent and virtually invisible to the naked eye when printed but show red fluorescing when viewed with appropriate wavelength in an ultraviolet (UV) light source as supplied by the firm as testing gadget. Red Fluorescing Dry Ink is applied inline, and is ideal wherever visible bar codes are used for workflow automation, mailing systems and even MIS (Managed Internet Service which gives high speed dedicated internet access to stay connected with customers, business partners and employees) connectivity.

The Red fluorescing dry powder ink allows clear bar codes to be printed inline  encompassed with variable data printing, allowing each printed piece to be marked with unique information. When the invisible part of the print is illuminated with an ultraviolet light source it fluoresces a red colour. The intensity of the red can be controlled by the amount of Red Fluorescing Dry Ink that is printed on the page.

Kodak NexPress Red Fluorescing Dry Ink called RFDI which reportedly provides increased security to printed documents especially for the publishing and packaging industry. The RFDI has also passed all health and safety regulations. It is claimed that the invisible ink can be used to print unobtrusive images and non-reproducible bar codes on prints of secured documents, which then can be read with specialized bar code readers thus enhancing the security feature. For printing Red Fluorescing Dry Ink the machine requires installation of the RFDI station in the Fifth Imaging Unit, attachment of which reportedly requires less than 30 minutes so say the users forum.

Two units in India - Kozhikode in Kerala and Coimbatore in Tamilnadu are reportedly equipped with NexPress machines.

Friday, October 21, 2016

Inkless and erasable ink technologies

Inkless and erasable ink technologies

(Written by N.R. Jayaraman)

Printing technology has moved far away from the conventional system of inking the plates or blocks for printing the images on paper. The conventional method of printing has extended its wings to Digital printing, Inkless printing and reusable paper technology, slowly discarding conventional mediums such as use of printing plates, ink and other material. In several diversions  part of technology is opening  up the avenue for  the use of the once printed paper several times without  subjecting them for re pulping for re use immediately after one time print. Also the diversion was towards no ink or dry ink technology. At the same time it is also equally true that the normal use of ink or paper for conventional printing cannot be eliminated and they have their own importance or need for certain fields.

In earlier era, multiple copies of circulars, notices, agenda, pronouncements and announcements, minutes of meetings etc used to be issued on prints reproduced through small branch of printing called duplicating machines (Cyclostyle) using cut stencils or  small time manually operated Xerox machines using coated selenium plates or print through typed, xeroxed, hand drawn or hand written Paper masters on table top mini offset machines called Rota print. However  though liquid ink was used on mini offset and  duplicating machines, the quantity used was  not even one tenth as used to be on normal printing machines. Powdered toner ink was used on photo copiers.  

Once print was made on the paper the same paper could not be reused unless recycled and reprocessed making fresh paper. Though these days the electronic prints i.e prints on electronic media began to be used to reduce to load of Ink and Paper which indirectly impacted the environment, still in certain areas print on paper remained necessary. 
A survey revealed that it was universally practiced phenomenon by majority of users in several industries that huge part of printed copies such as recorded minutes of meetings, seminars and other discussions in use in the business firms and companies were disposed off within 24 hours and not retained permanently as they were meant to be preliminary draft or notes for discussion or follow up note of briefs for next plan of action etc and once the use of contents in the copies were over, such printed papers were discarded by shredding or torn and thrown away. 
The process of producing multiple prints using stencils and copies from Xerox helped in the cause of environment control by reducing the load of liquid, oily printing inks even though those processes did not fully eliminate the use of inks in some form or the other- liquid or dry. Similarly they could also not reduce the consumption of paper as well. In pursuit of achieving ink less printing and reusable paper technology without subjecting them to re pulping immediately after one time print, world over research continued to find alternate technologies to replace ink and one time only usable paper. It was realized in the industry that even partial reduction of use of ink and paper will help in the direction of pollution control and cleaner environment from the print industry.  

In the direction of reducing the paper and ink, first came the thermal printing machines, simpler to operate, durable and dependable for short run copies. Special pre coated chemically treated paper- perhaps embedded with some kind of dye crystals reacting to heat was used on Thermal printer. The heat beams from the machine fused the areas where the images had to appear resulting print to appear the way it was typed or fed from memory console, which in one sense was photographic based technology.

A different other thermal  machine used chemically treated ribbon which when targeted by the light beam melted the ribbon to stick to the paper surface to print the text. Mass quantity of prints could not be however produced on account of cost.  Different kinds of chemically treated  paper were also not fully Eco friendly. The recycling of the chemically treated paper for reuse posed certain other issues. Thus in this process, only use of ink was eliminated, but not the paper. The paper once used could not be reused again.

The research kept on continued for the invention of many time reusable paper with erasable ink the effort of which enabled the emergence of both ink less printing and several times reusable paper for use on Xerox and Fax machines without need to recycle the paper immediately after one time use.

Pioneers in the field of electronic products, Toshiba took lead in the innovation of reusable paper for printing (Copying) with erasable toner (ink) from its surface so that their invention would lend big helping hand towards the cause of environmental protection from print industry. The firm reportedly developed a machine that enabled the machine to erase the printed images from the surface of the paper so that the same paper can be used multiple times for printing (copying) after erasing the contents again and again. The firm claimed that the ink or toner worked like a normal ink but when subjected to certain amount of heat it became invisible print thus allowing the user to reprint some other text on the same surface of the paper. 

Technically the toner that had formed the image became colorless transparent one due to reaction from heat, but in effect, the toner still stayed over the paper invisible to human eyes. Once the purpose of the print taken was over, the print could be erased for reuse of the same paper again. According to the spokesman, the paper with erasable toner is reusable up to five times which may play big role in reducing paper cost. Also, in the machine which probably is still under exhaustive testing, there is an option to scan and save the printed texts and images subjected for erasing, so that as and when needed they can still be reprinted. For the present the reusable paper, toner and the unit is reportedly developed only by Toshiba. 

Like Toshiba, the Xerox Corp too reportedly come out with a technology that enabled auto disappearance of the print from the surface of the paper. Though it is not known whether the machine has come into the market, the process in development reportedly is a machine whose intake was special paper for printing but the images printed lasted only for few hours i.e up to one full day on their surface. The firm claimed that the machine will not need toner or traditional methods of printing process. Instead a light beam with specific wavelength was used as writer and the image once formed as dark readable print can also be erased by heat instantly. However if left as it is the prints disappeared on its own in the next 24-48 hours period.  

Thus three types of innovation under development may in future replace the ink and paper and and pave way for the introduction of many times usable paper and erasable ink. 
End Note: Entire illustrations shown above are all artistic impression of the author to explain the concept of the technologies in offing