Finishfit Microbe Protect 2400 tested on Jet Press print products

Fujifilm’s Jet Press anti-microbial and antiviral coating option

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The new Epple Finishfit antimicrobial coating for print tested on the Fujifilm Jet press Photo Fujifilm
The new Epple Finishfit antimicrobial coating for print tested on the Fujifilm Jet press Photo Fujifilm

Finishfit Microbe Protect 2400, developed by Epple Druckfarben in Germany, was tested on a wide range of Jet Press printed products at Fujifilm’s Advanced Print Technology Centre in Brussels. Inks and coatings developer Epple Druckfarben has produced a coating to dramatically reduce the chances of bacteria or viruses being passed from person to person via printed media.

Now commercially available, the new water-based varnish, Finishfit Microbe Protect 2400, has undergone a rigorous testing process, including tests on Jet Press printed products at Fujifilm’s Advanced Print Technology Centre in Brussels. The coating has been proven to be effective in killing up to 99.9% of bacteria. This makes it ideal for use on everyday printed products handled by multiple people, such as playing cards, magazines, food menus, and packaging of all kinds – including pharmaceutical-based packaging and selected plastic films.

Water-based coating contains silver-nanoparticles

Finishfit Microbe Protect 2400 contains elementary silver-nanoparticles (Ag0) firmly anchored in the varnish film. When activated by moisture – such as when they are touched – the silver-nanoparticles release positively charged silver ions (Ag+), significantly reducing the number of bacteria and viruses on the varnish surface. The effect is constant and long-lasting because the silver-nanoparticles themselves are not released and can’t be rubbed off from the dried varnish. Because the coating is water-based, it is also very environmentally friendly.

Print produced on the Fujiflm Jet Press 750S were coated with the Finishfit antimicrobial coating and tested Photo Fujifilm
Print produced on the Fujiflm Jet Press 750S were coated with the Finishfit antimicrobial coating and tested Photo Fujifilm

“Epple is well known for its innovations in the field of ink systems, and Finishfit Microbe Protect 2400 is another unique addition to our product portfolio,” says Helmut Fröhlich, Product Line manager at Epple. “This coating is suitable for a range of substrates, and we are continuously testing it with other ink types and printing processes.”

Fröhlich was clear on their decision to approach Fujifilm for the initial testing of the coating, “Being one of the leading companies in inkjet printing, Fujifilm was the logical choice for testing Finishfit Microbe Protect 2400. They suggested the testing should be undertaken on the Jet Press, and it quickly became clear as to why.

“Unlike some other digital printing processes, the Vividia inks used by the Jet Press produce a smooth, neutral surface that is ideal for both aqueous and UV based coatings. We were impressed to see that the high-quality print work produced by the Jet Press is further enhanced by the crucial, invisible protection that Finishfit provides.”

Managing the risk of living with Covid-19

At Fujifilm’s APTC, numerous tests were done on freshly printed samples and prints that were several days old. It proved equally effective on both. Taro Aoki, head of Digital Solutions, Fujifilm Graphic Systems EMEA, says, “The Jet Press has always been about maximizing flexibility and adaptability for its users. Over the years, we’ve continually pushed the boundaries, offering an expanded color gamut, food-safe inks, and the ability to print to a huge range of standard offset stocks. So it’s fitting that Jet Press printed products were the first to be tested with this ground-breaking new coating that offers print businesses enormous reassurance as we all continue to manage the risk of living with Covid-19 in society.”

German government funding for innovations

The end result of 18 months of development, and the first product in a planned Microbe Protect 2400 series, Finishfit was created in conjunction with the renowned nanoscale research company RAS, Regensburg as well as with state funding from the German Federal Ministry of Economic Affairs and Energy as part of the Central Innovation Programme for SMEs. When they began work a year-and-a-half ago, none of its creators could have known just how much the product’s perceived importance would grow. “During the development phase, the acute significance of the product in the degree of urgency could not be foreseen,” says Stefan Schülling, member of the Epple Executive Board responsible for Sales and Finance. “Now we are extremely pleased with the timely offering – further evidence of our innovative leadership.”

“Every sector must throw its full innovative power behind curbing the present and future pandemics,” adds Helmut Fröhlich. “Finishfit Microbe Protect represents an important first step.”

The Covid-19 pandemic led to the country-wide lockdown on 25 March 2020. It will be two years tomorrow as I write this. What have we learned in this time? Maybe the meaning of resilience since small companies like us have had to rely on our resources and the forbearance of our employees as we have struggled to produce our trade platforms.

The print and packaging industries have been fortunate, although the commercial printing industry is still to recover. We have learned more about the digital transformation that affects commercial printing and packaging. Ultimately digital will help print grow in a country where we are still far behind in our paper and print consumption and where digital is a leapfrog technology that will only increase the demand for print in the foreseeable future.

Web analytics show that we now have readership in North America and Europe amongst the 90 countries where our five platforms reach. Our traffic which more than doubled in 2020, has at times gone up by another 50% in 2021. And advertising which had fallen to pieces in 2020 and 2021, has started its return since January 2022.

As the economy approaches real growth with unevenness and shortages a given, we are looking forward to the PrintPack India exhibition in Greater Noida. We are again appointed to produce the Show Daily on all five days of the show from 26 to 30 May 2022.

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– Naresh Khanna

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