Think Laboratory launches aqueous inkjet for packaging

The Japanese company Think Laboratory, which mainly produces advanced gravure engraving equipment, has announced a new inkjet printer that uses water-based ink to print to flexible films including PET. The FXIJ-1 Aqua has a web width of 540mm and is said to be suitable for short run jobs up to 2000 metres. It uses five colours and can run at up to 30mpm.

The ink has been developed with chemical company Kao. It’s said to be free of volatile organic compounds and to be easier and safer to work with than the solvent gravure or UV inks that are typically used for food packaging. At the same time, Think Laboratory claims to offer quality similar to that of gravure printing.

It will be powered by a Harlequin RIP from Global Graphics. Kaku Shigeta the director of Think Laboratory, explained: “It is essential to use the optimal RIP technology available to improve print quality.  The Harlequin RIP will give us that output quality and it has a long track record in digital printing and with quick technical support in Japanese.”

The FXIJ-1 will be demonstrated at Drupa, and at Tokyo Pack in October, with commercial availability due by the end of this year. It will certainly be worth taking a look at during drupa.

Think Laboratory also announced a new FX3 gravure cylinder making system that can use solvent and VOC-less water-based ink and offers a 5μ cell depth. It’s a iteration of the existing FX2 system but the cylinder engraving has been improved for better image quality. The shallow cell depth also leads to lower ink consumption.

The FX3 can use the same PDF file as the FXIJ-A Aqua and can be ready to print within two hours so that the two could be used in tandem. Think Laboratory says that together with Kao, it can supply water-based inks for either gravure or inkjet printing, including with the same pigment ink.

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