Resource efficiency in packaging gravure printing with SPQ
von Ansgar Wessendorf,
Südpack’s Sustainable Print Quality (SPQ) technology enables potential CO2 savings in flexo packaging printing in the areas of ink and solvent consumption while optimising print quality.
The company has now extended the application possibilities for this technology to gravure printing. The prerequisite for its use is a consistent standardisation of machine and process parameters as well as intelligent colour management. As with flexo printing, all designs are automatically generated in the pre-press stage using a reduced colour palette.
Thanks to the PUR-based (polyurethane) ink system used, the printing inks are also suitable for pasteurisation and sterilisation. This opens up a wide range of options in the field of heat applications, such as the packaging of ready meals, pet food or baby food. In addition, the technology is particularly suitable for finishing flexible films for high-quality fast-moving consumer goods such as coffee, tea or confectionery, as metallic colours such as gold, silver or even haptic and other finishing coatings are applicable. The process is also suitable for imprinting Digimarc digital watermarks.
Sustainability takes centre stage
SPQ significantly reduces the CO2 footprint in package printing. In particular, the reduction of the standard colour palette from ten to just seven colours contributes to this, which leads to a correspondingly lower consumption of inks and solvents.
“With SPQ, we significantly reduce ink consumption, ink waste and the number of ink changes. Despite the palette being reduced to seven colours, almost the entire colour spectrum and additional metallic colours can be reproduced – with outstanding, photo-like print quality and excellent colour brilliance”, explains Enrico Riesel, Senior Site Director at Südpack Bioggio. By limiting the number of colours to seven, Südpack’s internal calculations put the savings in a typical standard process at around 36.5% for a print job of 15,000 linear metres.
Further sustainability factors include lower energy consumption and a reduction in film waste, usually generated when converting the printing presses for the subsequent print job.
Higher efficiency with real added value
Südpack customers benefit in particular from reduced prepress costs: the use of a defined colour space not only makes permanent colour adjustments obsolete, but also time-consuming and cost-intensive print approvals on site. Another advantage is the combination of different print designs within a single job.
Improved print quality and colour brilliance
The new technology is characterised not least by high register accuracy as well as outstanding colour consistency and brilliance. This is due to the consistent, intelligent colour management along the process chain, which Südpack completely redesigned at the beginning of the project. The standardised colour palette covers about 95% of all Pantone shades – and this with stable, reproducible colour conversion. Therefore, SPQ completely eliminates adjustments required in conventional printing processes.