Printing Technology

Environmentally sound UV gravure pigment and gravure processes – industrial application

The solvent-free printing pigments developed by the project avoid the VOC emissions currently produced in packaging gravure printing, thus contributing to production-integrated environmental protection. In addition, the UV gravure pigments are physiologically safe in terms of indirect contact with foodstuffs.


For packaging printing, polymer films are used as print substrate. As the substrates display low surface energy and as the surfaces of the films are often contaminated by processing agents, adhesion of the printing pigments is frequently insufficient. Therefore, measures to increase adhesion between substrate and printing pigment are indispensable. In many cases, however, a simple treatment fails to make the relatively strongly shrinking UV printing pigments adhere to polymer films. Solving this problem of UV gravure is important as the method's high printing quality and speed present significant benefits. While ecologically sound, solvent-free pigments are already available for other printing processes, this is not the case for gravure printing. One reason for this is that gravure pigments must display an extremely low viscosity which, so far, can be achieved solely by using non-reactive solvents.
The project's overall aim was to formulate solvent-free printing pigments for packaging gravure and to develop prototype components for the UV gravure process.


  • The 100% systems are expected to be better suited for packaging gravure on films and for applications in illustration printing, while aqueous-based systems produced highly promising results when printed on metal foils.
  • The printing pigments developed display a low structural viscosity and a low flow limit.
  • Compared with the currently used pigment systems containing solvents, advantages in regard to printing were verified, for example a very high degree of sheen of the colours and the achievement of large surface application weights.
  • It was possible to achieve full-surface opaque white covers on transparent films at application scale to a degree previously only possible using UV screen printing.
  • Additional possible fields of application include leather, labels, plastic mats and films.

Project Participants

Implementing Institutions

Druckfarbenfabrik Gebr. Schmidt GmbH

More Project Information

Project title: Verbundprojekt: Entwicklung umweltgerechter Farben und Verfahren für den Verpackungstiefdruck - Teilvorhaben 1: Industrielle Anwendung

Project number: 01RK9908/6

Project period: 1999 - 2004

Project region: Germany (Hesse)

Project contact:

Herr Dr. Eder

View Publication

Source: German National Library of Science and Technology Hannover (TIB)