Using proprietary technology, Kao has made various technological breakthroughs in IT materials. Recently, Kao has developed LUNAJET, the world's first high quality water-based pigmented inkjet ink. This ink is eco-friendly and safe for use in plastic film printing for food products.
Kao's water-based pigmented inkjet ink is the first of its kind.*2 Designed for use in printing on flexible packaging film,*1 this high quality water-pigmented inkjet ink minimizes emissions of volatile organic compounds (VOCs), thus lowering impact on both work spaces and the global environment.
Until now, ink used for film printing was produced using UV rays, making it unsuitable for use on food product packaging due to its smell, among other factors. Additionally, conventional water-based inks used for printing on paper are not easily absorbed by film, leading to long drying times and low-quality printing.
Kao, noting these challenges, used original pigment nano-dispersion technology to increase pigment concentration and allow ink to spread over the film surface drop by drop. The amount of ink consumption decreases and the ink dries extremely fast. Because of this technological breakthrough, it is now possible to cleanly print on flexible materials such as film using water-based inkjet printing.
Kao's water-based pigmented inkjet ink can significantly reduce the amount of VOCs emitted during the printing process compared to conventional oil-based ink that uses organic solvents, thus making a significant contribution to improving the labor environment for workers and reducing the global environmental impact.
Kao Corporation has received the Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry Award in the 18th Green & Sustainable Chemistry (GSC) Awards for the development of water-based inkjet ink for food package in 2018.
This technology makes it possible to print on flexible packaging film for food products with water-based inkjet ink. The GSC Awards are granted to individuals, groups or companies that have greatly contributed to promoting GSC through their research, development and industrialization.
With inkjet printing, there is no need to prepare a printing plate and it is possible to print even small amounts at a low cost. This makes inkjet printing flexible enough to fulfill various printing needs.
With this pigmented water-based inkjet ink, "LUNAJET", it is possible to print cleanly at high speeds on glossy paper, a material that doesn't readily absorb ink. Furthermore, this ink can be easily removed from paper during recycling, thus conserving resources. Due to LUNAJET's various strong points, its patent received the innovation award at Japan's 2017 National Commendation for Invention. LUNAJET has been adopted in flexible food packages of major brands and its application is expanding.
Kao will continue to make technological developments to the solution not only in the field of industrial printing but also about social issues as well.