Aug. 21, 2017
Toray Industries, Inc.
Toray Launches Initiative on Waterless Offset Printing System for
Flexible Packaging to Enable Elimination of VOC and
Significant Reduction in CO2 Emissions

Toray Industries, Inc. (head office: Chuo-ku, Tokyo; President: Akihiro Nikkaku; hereinafter referred to as “Toray”) today announced that it has embarked on an initiative on waterless offset printing system for flexible packaging, which enables elimination of VOC*1 in the printing process and significantly reduces CO2 emissions through energy saving with Toray Waterless Plates® and newly developed water-soluble UV inks. Toray Waterless Prates® have been recognized widely as an environmentally friendly product, as it does not require dampening water containing volatile organic compounds and does not produce waste fluids of alkaline developer at the time of platemaking. It is being used in more than 1,500 companies in 52 countries around the world. Recently Toray has developed a water-soluble UV ink raw material for waterless printing and started selling it to ink manufacturers. Water-soluble UV inks made with the ink material TWV-Ptype enables the use of water-based cleaners for washing the plate and printing facilities after use, instead of the conventional organic cleaning solutions that generate VOC, further improving the environmental superiority of waterless printing. VOC emissions have become a social issue as a cause of environmental pollution by PM2.5*2 especially in China and emerging countries in Asia. As the regulations of VOC emissions tighten around the world, and with China began implementing a system of charging the printing industry for VOC emissions, the need for a printing method that does not emit VOC is increasing. The water-soluble UV ink material, which Toray has launched, is highly expected to contribute to solving these environmental issues. Furthermore, Toray began working on the development of a waterless offset printing system for flexible packaging, which would lead to significant reductions in CO2 emissions as well as VOC by leveraging the waterless offset printing system technology. flexible packaging refers to packaging using film materials and is employed for packaging a wide range of products such as foodstuff, snacks and refills of shampoo and detergent given the materials’ characteristics of light weight, flexibility and ease of processing, as well as transparency and barrier properties. The printing market related to flexible packaging is expected to continue growing at an annual rate of 5 to 7%, along with the increase in global population, given its use in the food and daily commodities markets. Currently, the method used for flexible packaging printing in Asia is mainly the gravure method (intaglio printing). It requires a large quantity of ink that contains organic solvents and emits VOC, and is further compounded by the issue of massive energy use (CO2 emissions) required for heat drying and combustion processing of the exhaust gas. The waterless offset printing system for flexible packaging with Toray Waterless Plates® and water-soluble UV inks, combining ink drying (hardening) method employing energy-saving LED-UV technology, eliminates the need of drying solvent and exhaust gas processing. This, in addition to reducing VOC emissions (to less than a 50th), cuts electricity consumption by a sixth, significantly reducing CO2 emissions. Led by developed countries, flexible packaging printing is increasingly carried out in small lot as products are increasingly offered in a wide variety and small lots. In small-lot printing in particular, Toray’s waterless offset printing system for flexible packaging can reduce plate and other costs compared to the gravure printing method. The cost of introducing a printing facility is also reduced, as it does not require exhaust gas processing equipment or explosion proof facility. The waterless offset printing system for flexible packaging is being developed by Toray, in collaboration with ink manufacturers, printing machine manufacturers and printing companies, with a grant from the Program for Strategic Innovative Energy Saving Technology of the New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization. Toray will accelerate the market development with the aim of reducing about 500,000 tons of CO2 per year in Japan by 2030. The company will offer the waterless offset printing system for flexible packaging as a total solution to make printing an industry with small environmental load. Toray will continue to create innovative materials that bring about essential changes in the society to realize its corporate philosophy of “Contributing to society through the creation of new value with innovative ideas, technologies and products.”

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1)VOC: volatile organic compounds. Once released in the air, it causes pollution and health hazards.
2)PM2.5: Fine particulate matter. It causes environmental problem when released in to the air, as it settles in the respiratory system of humans and causes health hazards.