Migration Compliant Printing Inks

Sun Chemical Develops Inks that Comply with Regional Regulations

All raw materials used by Sun Chemical in the formulation of printing inks and coatings designed for food packaging, comply with the EuPIA Exclusion Policy (www.eupia.org). This policy prevents the use of particularly hazardous materials which represent a risk to health under normal and foreseeable conditions of use in the manufacture and application of printing inks.

Sun Chemical’s food packaging inks are manufactured in accordance with the requirements of EuPIA Good Manufacturing Practice latest version (31.3.2016). Raw materials are carefully selected and our packaging inks are formulated, so that the levels of heavy metals and environmentally hazardous substances in the print are minimized to allow the printed packaging to meet the requirements of the Packaging and Packaging Waste Directive (94/62/EC).

Sun Chemical’s food packaging inks are usually formulated with materials compliant with the Swiss Ink Ordinance.

Types of Sun Chemical Migration Compliant Solutions

Energy Curable Inks

Migration compliant UV curing inks and coatings are based on proprietary raw materials, including high molecular weight oligomers and polymers, together with polymeric photoinitiators, which are multi-functional and with very low migration potential. Formulations are normally 100% solids and formulated without volatile organic compounds.

Migration compliant energy beam curing inks and coatings are formulated using similar principles to UV curable products, but without the use of UV photoinitiators as the energy provided by electron beam irradiation is sufficient to achieve curing.

Conventional Inks

Conventional oleoresinous inks designed for compliant food packaging are normally based on proprietary raw materials, such as specially modified resins, high molecular weight polyesters or vegetable oil derivatives.

Unlike UV curing inks and coatings, where a cross linking process is used to “lock in” potential migrants, conventional inks designed for food packaging, are based on high molecular weight and high boiling point vehicles which, under normal circumstances, do not migrate. They are therefore fit for applications requiring a low migration performance.

Many vegetable oil esters, the liquid and therefore the potential migratory component of migration compliant conventional inks, have been assessed toxicologically by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA). Due to the low toxicological concerns, the European Food Safety Authority did not assign a specific migration limit (SML), so the overall migration limit (OML) of 60ppm applies. Many of these types of materials are in use in the food industry and have a proven metabolic route to innocuous substances if consumed. As a consequence, they are regarded as low risk materials.


Note: The oxidation drying process normally used in non-low migration conventional ink products can produce oxidation by-products. Migration compliant conventional inks are therefore designed as non-drying products and a suitable in-line coating must be used to avoid set-off and marking during finishing. Migration compliant water-based coatings are specially formulated for use over conventional and UV curing inks. These formulations avoid the use of ingredients that have been identified as potential migrants. Water-based coatings are made from specially selected polymers but also contain coalescing solvents, slip control agents, anti-corrosion additives, and more, to be fully effective. In migration compliant water-based coatings, great care is taken in the selection of all the raw materials to maintain effective print performance, along with appropriate results in migration testing.

Press Consumables

Other press consumables for migration compliant package printing need to be considered with advice and recommendations from suppliers for suitable grades for food packaging. Some press consumables to consider include:

  • Press washes
  • Fountain solution additives for lithographic printing
  • Isopropanol (IPA) used in lithographic printing and as a press wash in flexo printing
  • IPA replacements used in IPA free fount additives
  • Adhesives used in carton printing and film lamination

Note: IPA is a highly mobile potential migrant commonly used at 3-15% in the fount solution for lithographic printing. IPA is also highly volatile (VOC) and is therefore unlikely to be a persistent migrant in the print, even though levels could be high immediately after printing. In other words, IPA is not normally a critical component in migration considerations.

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