Pioneer of Waterless Packaging Printing in Korea

Hansung P&P Co., Ltd

Maintaining Optimum Temperature and Humidity is Key. High Level of Customer Satisfaction and Positive Customer Feedback Continues.

A company that values principle, that does not trade-off when it comes to the expertise and that has grown step-by-step under the vision of creativity, cooperation, and diligence brought a welcome change in the local printing industry. The pioneer is Hansung P&P which has recently adopted Warterless printing.

Hansung, operating in Gwangju, Korea, strives to get better every day to satisfy its customers by providing optimum products at reasonable prices and at the right timing. A new chapter for the vibrant company has opened as it introduced waterless printing, the hottest Green Technology in the industry.


Greener technology that minimizes complications of wet-offset printing

The wet-offset printing which transfers ink by using the repelling power between water and oil has so far been the only way of getting clear printing. Wet-offset printing requires the printing press operator to manage a complex mix of wetting fluids and ink. The water used in wet-offset is not just plain water – it’s been optimized by adding several chemicals to make it wet the plate more efficiently. However, it has generated industrial wastewater and left smudges in the final prints. The power sprayed to reduce smudges contaminated the air within the factory together with the VOCs. By removing the water which makes the wet-offset printing mechanism possible, all the environmental complications stemming from it can also be eliminated. This is the beauty of waterless printing.

Once a decision is made, there is no going back.

Waterless printing requires a plate specially processed to create repelling effect against ink without water. The basic technology for this is held by Toray. Last March, Hansung decided to introduce waterless offset printing and succeeded in waterless offset printing. Currently, waterless UV printing is being tested which is expected to run in full motion based on the success in conventional waterless offset printing. Hansung started having interest in waterless printing in 2013 when the head of technology and manufacturing of the company first learned of it during IGAS in Japan. He reported to the CEO and the rigorous deliberation that last for one year began. After analyzing its pros and cons, Hansung decided to introduce the technology. There have been no second thoughts ever since the decision was made.


Required dedicated plate, ink, and cooling system

The key for adopting waterless printing technology is to maintain the optimum temperature and humidity. Once the knowhow is acquired, Toray explains, waterless offset printing offers more stable and clear printing quality. Generally, wet-offset printing requires precise and often tricky calibration of fluid levels. However, waterless printing is easier to manage as it only requires certain level of temperature and humidity to get quality end product. Waterless printing tends to reproduce a better, sharper, and more consistent image than wet offset. This is because ink is transferred to the paper more directly. To get the best result, special plate, ink and chiller must be used. The cooling system literally chills down printing machine which, unlike in wet printing where the water naturally cools the machine, requires cooling.

Aims to Become a Global Player

Hansung first started its paper processing operation in 1973 in Chungmu-ro, Seoul and added printing unit in 1976. It operated in Yongsan during the 80’s and 90’s before it moved to its current location in 1996. It now has 60 full-time employees who are working as a fabulous team. All the process from design throughout printing, laminating, Thomson, inspection, to quality control is flowing seamlessly. They are working tireless to develop new technology and have already earned patent rights on the innovative new technology used in its paper container. Its package has unique compartmentalization system that can contain materials of different heights. The company has registered it for design patent and utility rights. Passion and diligence for innovation made today’s Hansung. This culture of challenge is what drove the introduction of waterless printing which was a big step forward for Hansung to become an international printing company.


Interview Chungwoong Kim, President and CEO of Hansung

Q: What made you decide to adopt waterless printing? A: Last year, one of our division heads visited IGAS held in Japan and brought information on waterless printing. We began reviewing its adoption ever since. Greener printing is a buzz word in printing industry now and we believed that this will be a bigger concern in times to come. We delivered on the adoption for the past year and came to the conclusion that this technology will resolve environment issue and add to the value of our brand. Q: What are the benefits of waterless printing? A: First of all, it improves printing quality and we have received positive feedback from our customers. The printing actually gets even better after it goes through coating or laminating process. Printing became sharper and more accurate as dots match almost 100%. Above all, it does not generate wastewater or contaminates air in the work site, which is a huge benefit for our employees. We expect this quality will catalyze spreading of greener printing.


Q: There must have been significant investment for the adoption. What is the Return on Investment so far? A: As a CEO of a company, I cannot say ROI is one of my major concerns. However, when I decided to bring this technology to our company, my top priority was on customer service. By customer service I mean giving customers the best quality products possible. If customers are satisfied with what they see, then our business will be served well, too. I think that will lead to better ROI in time. Q: What percentage of your product is produced with waterless printing? A: Over half of our products are printed with the new technology. New printing has been used in new products first. Existing customers have their own expectations on color and quality. If we change the process without their consent, we may give them what they have not expected. If existing customers understand and accept the new printing method, we will use the technology. I expect we can achieve 100% conversion by the year-end. Q: What was the biggest challenge you faced during the adoption? A: I think changing our printing method would not have been possible if I didn’t have the commitment and firm mind. On the testing day, we had to stop all the printing machines for the whole day. It was easier said than done as there were orders with tight deadline lined up. To make up for the lost time, employees had to work overtime. This doubled or even tripled production costs. However, I never gave up my belief and persisted. I believed that our success will help ourselves, the printing industry, and the national environment in a broader sense.


Q: What is the key to waterless printing? A: The key to success is to maintain the right temperature and humidity. First we need to heat the printer to facilitate ink transfer. As the waterless printing does not use dampening water, the printer naturally gets heated during printing. It should be cooled down by cooling system. Keeping the right balance among the temperature, humidity, and cooling system is essential to successful waterless printing. We should also consider ambient temperature changes, as we have dramatically different seasonal temperatures. We use air-conditioner and heater to maintain the right condition. To do so, we need to find the range of tolerance that does not affect the printing quality. Once it is found, it is actually easier than offset-printing which requires calibration of dampening water. Q: What is your future goal? A: Our company’s goal is to develop a home-grown waterless printing technology that will serve the Korean market better. Japan has more developed technology in this field and its printing material is also better than ours. We may adopt its technology as for now, but it is both costly and inefficient. So, it is my wish to see local printing companies developing their own technology. Using locally developed printing machine and material makes more economic sense and will eventually help the nation’s printing industry in the long run.


Sourced by Printing Korea, October 2014