China's water-based ink industry development and technological innovation

Water-based ink is abbreviated as ink. The main difference between water-based ink and oil-based ink is the difference in solvent. Water-based ink uses water (45% to 50%) as the solvent. The content of VOC is extremely low, and the environmental pollution is small. The oil-based ink is organic solvent (toluene, Xylene, industrial alcohol, etc. are solvents. In the flexible packaging industry, solvent-based inks are mainly based on volatile drying. The lower the boiling point of the solvent, the more volatile it is and the more toxic gas is released to pollute the environment. After printing, there are residual toxic substances on the surface. The solvent used for the ink is water and ethanol excluded from the VOC list, which can greatly reduce VOC emissions.

The main components of the ink structure consist of inorganic (organic) toner, rosin (acrylic acid) acid, additives (defoamers, dispersants, leveling agents, stabilizers) and water. The structure is relatively simple, investment equipment is not large, profits The rate is relatively high, so at present there are many domestic manufacturers, but the quality of products is uneven. There are only 50 manufacturers producing carton ink and ink on certain scales across the country. Carton ink type includes common ink (rosin resin), high-grade ink (acrylic resin) and mid-range ink (part of rosin resin and some acrylic resin). Because the resins used in high-grade inks are all acrylic resins, high-grade inks have the fastest drying speed, highest water resistance, best abrasion resistance, highest ink stability, high brightness, strong coloring power, and no corrosion of the plate material, but their cost. And the technical content is high. Many ink-and-wash factories use high-grade ink and ink as their economic pillar.

In recent years, China has also made some provisions for the packaging of food. The status of “green” printing is continuously improving in China. At present, China's flexible packaging of water-based inks ranks first among other printing inks at a consumption of 35%.


In April 2005, at the ink conference held in Hangzhou, many experts proposed to improve the environmental protection and sanitation of inks. It is recommended that the control indicators for heavy metals be enhanced in the ink industry standards. In July 2005, the odor problem of the soft plastic packaging of potato chips in a certain company in Lanzhou once again raised people's concern for environmental protection inks.


With the improvement of people’s awareness of environmental protection, the urgent need for “green” printed materials is increasing. Therefore, how to reduce the environmental pollution of ink and how to improve technological innovation have become the most important development direction of the ink industry, and ultimately make new contributions to the development of China's ink industry. Therefore, this article wants to give the reader a picture of the current status of the ink-and-wash industry and the prospects for understanding the application of environmental protection ink.

1 Status of Water-based Ink Industry in China
China's ink industrialization is developing rapidly. The continuous increase in output, the increasing variety of products, the continuous improvement of quality, and the ever-increasing grades; the proportion of medium and high-end products has continued to expand, and the quality of some products has approached or reached the level of similar foreign products.

According to statistics from the National Bureau of Statistics, China’s ink production in 2005 was 303,300 tons, an increase of 17.20% on the basis of 257,900 tons in 2004; in 2005, China’s ink product sales revenue was 1,159.29 million. Yuan, an increase of 25.6% over last year's 9,236,659,000 yuan. The data shows that China's ink market is developing very rapidly.

However, due to the continuous rise in raw material prices and energy costs, the profitability of the ink industry has continued to decline, and competition in the domestic market has become increasingly fierce. At the same time, the environmental issue of ink has become a concern for everyone.

1.1 Development of Water Based Ink
As early as the 1960s, people started the research and application of water-based inks. Due to environmental protection requirements and the shortage of petroleum raw materials, some developed countries have gradually restricted the use of petroleum products to make printing inks. As a result, people began to study non-organic solvent inks, which made water-based ink has made great progress and development. The initial water-based inks mainly use dextrin, shellac, casein, and sodium natrium as the connecting materials for water-based inks. The prepared water-based inks are mainly used for the printing of some low-grade products.


By the end of the 1960s, with the development of materials science, the synthetic technology of rosin and maleic acid modified resins succeeded, replacing casein, shellac and other materials, becoming the main material of water-based inks, and basically able to meet the printing needs at that time. However, these primary products still have some drawbacks, such as poor gloss, poor water resistance, poor adhesion, poor foaming, and poor storage stability. Later, people called the water-based ink produced at this stage the first-generation product.


In the 1970s, due to the oil crisis, raw materials for inks were once again very tense. At the same time, various developed countries have legislation to control air quality and limit the emission of organic volatiles (VOC) into the atmosphere. They require strict packaging for food, beverages, and pharmaceuticals. Printed products are limited by their heavy metal content, residual solvents, and the like. Ink research and development personnel from various countries continued to conduct in-depth research to produce a solution-based styrene-acrylic copolymer resin as the second generation of water-based ink binder. This product makes up for the lack of water resistance and poor storage stability of the first generation water-based inks, but there is still a gap between the glossiness and printability and solvent-based inks. To this end, ink developers based on the second generation of aqueous ink, the introduction of acrylic monomers and styrene polymerization, developed a polymer emulsion resin with core-shell structure and network structure. This series of resins has greatly improved the glossiness and dryness of inks, promoted the development of water-based inks, and allowed water-based inks to continuously expand in competition with solvent-based inks. Water-based ink has entered a new period of development.


China's water-based inks were first introduced from Singapore and after many years of use developed the second generation of water-based inks. Third-generation water-based inks are imported directly into China. Now we use the high-grade ink can be said to be the fourth generation of products, first developed by Tianjin Ink Factory successfully put into production, which is characterized by the development of its own resin or the use of imported resin production. At present, China's water-based ink technology has matured much more than before, and now the production of four-color ink, dot, overprint and high-speed printing carton water-based ink, has basically met most of the carton plant requirements. The fourth-generation water-based ink products have low cost, quality is not inferior to imported ink, and are trusted by customers.


At the end of 2003, Wuhan Modern Industrial Technology Research Institute developed a series of water-based ink products that are non-toxic, non-irritant, non-corrosive, non-flammable, non-explosive, and safe to use. The new ink series can be widely used in gold, silver cardboard, coated paper, white paper, corrugated paper, self-adhesive paper, cartons, paper bags and books and magazines. In early 2004, Shanghai Meide Fine Chemical Co., Ltd. recently launched a full-water low-temperature thermosetting ink. The formaldehyde content of the product is less than 15ppm, in line with the environmental protection requirements of Japan and Germany textile printing and dyeing. MD 1002 water-based low-temperature thermosetting ink has a very good hiding power, delicate texture, can over 250 mesh screen, no blocking the network, easy operation, ink color can be their own deployment. The ink is odorless and is a high quality, environmentally friendly product. Since the past plastisol inks must be baked at high temperatures, they often cause discoloration and deformation of the fabric. This all-hydraulic low-temperature thermosetting ink completely avoids the above phenomenon. Generally, the heat treatment of the finished product can be baked at 120 degrees like ordinary paste printing, and it can be 1 minute to 2 minutes. The Qum ink has excellent stretchability to the knitted fabric, and the washing speed and the friction fastness of the knitted fabric are up to 4 grades, and the protection period in the sealed cool place can reach 5 years. Its biggest advantage is to save electricity costs, which greatly reduces production costs. This product is widely used in all kinds of fabrics such as cotton, chemical fiber, etc. except waterproof nylon cloth.

1.2 Status of Ink Manufacturing Enterprises
From the current situation of China's ink production enterprises, in recent years, ink-jet Taiwan-funded enterprises have developed rapidly with the industrialized countries, the earliest being the Hangzhou ink factory, followed by ink plants in Shanghai, Tianjin, Taiyuan, Shunde, Shenzhen, Jinan and other places. Taiwanese-funded enterprises are currently engaged in the introduction of foreign advanced technology and equipment in more than 40 joint ventures across the country. Due to the relatively good technical strength, the output of inks accounts for more than half of the country’s total ink production.


In addition, private ink companies also occupy a certain market, these companies are small, but the mechanism is flexible, low ink prices, sales flexibility, and strong adaptability. There are currently more than 400 ink manufacturing companies in China, approximately 70:6 in Beijing, Shanghai, Tianjin, Zhejiang, Jiangsu, Guangdong, Shandong and Hebei. But no, the output of each industry can reach 10% of the total national ink production.


Domestic ink companies generally have many problems such as small scale, lack of talents, insufficient funds, low R&D investment, etc. The technological innovation capability is not strong, and the production technology lags behind the world level. At present, China has formed a batch of ink production companies represented by Shanghai Peony Ink Co., Ltd., Tianjin Toyo Ink Co., Ltd., Hangzhou Hanghua Ink Co., Ltd., and Peking University Deli Technology Co., Ltd., which is a technological advancement for China's ink industry. Made a great contribution.

From the perspective of ink products, in order to meet the needs of the printing market, China has continued to develop new products relying on scientific and technological progress. The main products are sheetfed quick-drying inks, web offset inks, gravure inks, flexo printing inks, and wire meshes. Printing inks, iron printing inks, ultraviolet curable inks, water-based inks, and anti-counterfeiting inks. Not only are the above-mentioned ink products more and more varieties, reaching more than 50 kinds: and the quality is getting higher and higher. A few companies have obtained inks from the United States Pantone ( Pontone) ink color standard concession. Tianjin Toyo Ink Co., Ltd., Shanghai DIC Ink Co., Ltd., Zhejiang New Oriental Ink Group Co., Ltd., Yunnan Hongta Yuehai Ink Co., Ltd. and other companies have passed ISO9000 series quality system certification. In general, most of the inks produced in China are middle and low grade inks, and supply exceeds demand. Some high-end products and special products need to be imported. In 2001, it imported 24,700 tons of ink, with an amount of 1.15 billion yuan.

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