Food-compliant label production with the Gallus Labelfire Low Migration

UV inkjet printing to enable the production of certified food-compliant labels

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Gallus
Gallus Labelfire Low Migration equipped with an additional UV booster enhancing the curing of Saphira Digital Labelfire UVLM inks at higher printing speeds. Photo Gallus Ferd. Rüesch AG

In an intensive development effort Gallus and Heidelberg engineers have further developed UV inkjet printing to enable the production of certified food-compliant labels with the Gallus Labelfire. The low migration version of the Gallus Labelfire is designed to produce food-compliant packaging in accordance with EU regulations and Swiss Ordinance. For this purpose, the joint Gallus/Heidelberg development team developed the Labelfire UVLM ink series, which is suitable for food contact packaging. The UV curing technology of Labelfire was also further optimized to improve the migration properties of the ink film.

“The Gallus Labelfire Low Migration represents a real innovation. Compared to the previous press, it makes no compromises when it comes to print quality, color gamut and lightfastness of the inks”, says Uwe Alexander, product manager digital at Gallus, describing the new digital press. Thomas Schweizer, head of business and product management at Gallus adds, “Indeed! We call it innovation because, together with Heidelberg, we have achieved a new level of UV inkjet technology. This includes the formulation of the ink and a matching curing technology. This enables our customers to comply with the relevant EU regulations as well as the guidelines of Swiss Ordinance and Nestlé Guidance Note in order to produce food-compliant labels and packaging.“

Saphira Digital Labelfire UVLM inks

A prerequisite for the food-compliant production of labels and packaging is compliance with

Gallus
Gallus-Heidelberg saphira UVLM inks.

the relevant legislation and, in addition, the specifications of distributors and brand owners. Labelfire UVLM inks therefore comply with the requirements of EU regulations, Swiss Ordinance, Nestlé Guidance Note and EuPIA guidelines.

However, the use of such inks alone does not guarantee automatic compliance with the migration limits required for certification of such labels.

The new curing system of Labelfire Low Migration

An important production step takes place after inkjet printing with curing of the inks. In addition to the new ink series, the innovative machine system therefore also includes a highly effective UV dryer system to ensure optimum curing.

Directly after printing, the substrate is fed into a dryer with an inert chamber, which is flooded with nitrogen. The extensive exclusion of oxygen leads to optimised curing of the inks. An optional UV booster enhances curing of the Labelfire UVLM inks at higher printing speeds even at maximum production speed.

In addition to this new UV drying system, the Gallus Labelfire Low Migration is equipped with UV and oxygen sensors that measure production parameters. This supports the quality assurance processes in label and packaging printing.

“We are proud to offer our customers a machine system that prints flexibly and efficiently, but furthermore it allows a very broad range of applications and thus also addresses various market segments. The Labelfire Low Migration is perfect for a successful entry into digital packaging printing for the food and pharmaceutical markets,” Schweizer concludes.

Successful Labelfire Low Migration field tests

Two Gallus Labelfire presses have already been producing food-compliant labels and packaging in line with legal requirements for the European market for months in a field test study. Since October this year, the Gallus Labelfire Low Migration has been sold on to customers as a series machine.

2023 promises an interesting ride for print in India

Indian Printer and Publisher founded in 1979 is the oldest B2B trade publication in the multi-platform and multi-channel IPPGroup. While the print and packaging industries have been resilient in the past 33 months since the pandemic lockdown of 25 March 2020, the commercial printing and newspaper industries have yet to recover their pre-Covid trajectory.

The fragmented commercial printing industry faces substantial challenges as does the newspaper industry. While digital short-run printing and the signage industry seem to be recovering a bit faster, ultimately their growth will also be moderated by the progress of the overall economy. On the other hand book printing exports are doing well but they too face several supply-chain and logistics challenges.

The price of publication papers including newsprint has been high in the past year while availability is diminished by several mills shutting down their publication paper and newsprint machines in the past four years. Indian paper mills are also exporting many types of paper and have raised prices for Indian printers. To some extent, this has helped in the recovery of the digital printing industry with its on-demand short-run and low-wastage paradigm.

Ultimately digital print and other digital channels 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. For instance, there is no alternative to a rise in textbook consumption but this segment will only reach normality in the next financial year beginning on 1 April 2023.

Thus while the new normal is a moving target and many commercial printers look to diversification, we believe that our target audiences may shift and change. Like them, we will also have to adapt with agility to keep up with their business and technical information needs.

Our 2023 media kit is ready, and it is the right time to take stock and reconnect with your potential markets and customers. Print is the glue for the growth of liberal education, new industry, and an emerging economy. We seek your participation in what promises to be an interesting ride.

– Naresh Khanna

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