Game-Changing Surface Pre-Treatment Technology

Kevin Lifsey

Presented by Tom Gilbertson, Enercon Industries Corporation

The flexible packaging industry, despite the still-ebbing economy, continues to experience a technological revolution aimed at value-adding graphics, increasing consumer motivation, and delivering sustainable solutions for a host of challenges throughout the manufacturing and distribution chain. High performance package configurations and new printing technologies (notably flexo) continue to drive packaging into existing as well as completely new markets. Statistically, the U.S. flexible packaging industry is expected to experience annual sales revenue growth of 8.1 percent in 2011 according to the Flexible Packaging Association. The Freedonia Group forecasts revenues for the US commercial printing industry will reach $82 billion in 2011 and that US demand for printing inks will grow 1.8% annually to reach $4.8 billion by 2013. And although the global packaging industry is valued at a burgeoning $450 billion, the emerging markets of China and India for example convert only about 7% of all their packaging by the flexographic process. The market growth opportunities for flexographically-printed flexible packaging are therefore vast. As new state-of-the-art package printing technology is installed in these markets and with processing costs under pressure to enable these processes to ramp-up in 2011, surface pre-treatment technologies must become a key enabler relative to higher processing speed, wider widths, and requirements on inks and coatings to transfer and adhere to substrates at these speeds and widths. This paper presents evidence of new flexible packaging print performance opportunities using new atmospheric plasma treatment (APT) technology.

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