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Toray to Commercialize IMPRIMA™FR Waterless
Printing Plate for Carbon-Neutral Flexible Packaging

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Oct. 13, 2021

Toray Industries, Inc.

Tokyo, Japan, October 12, 2021 – Toray Industries, Inc., announced today that it will launch the IMPRIMA™FR waterless printing plate for flexible packaging materials later this month. This product should slash carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions and contribute to carbon neutrality in the growing flexible packaging materials market while helping to improve printing quality and lower printing costs.
IMPRIMA™ is the European brand name for the Toray Waterless Plate™, which is free of dampening water containing volatile organic solvents during printing process and does not discharge alkaline processing liquid waste during plate making. More than 1,500 printing companies in 50 countries have adopted this Toray technology in recognition of its eco-friendly performance.

IMPRIMA™FR delivers high resolution and beautiful gradations in printing by leveraging Toray’s proprietary nano-structure and interface control technologies. It also lowers printing costs because this printing plate material costs less than the counterparts of conventional flexible packaging printing processes.
Retort pouch printed using IMPRIMA™FR
Flexible packaging materials are film materials used for packages for food and other products. Currently gravure (Glossary 1) and flexographic (Glossary 2) processes predominate in printing these materials. A drawback is that these setups consume a lot of printing ink incorporating organic solvents and thereby, consume energy and emit CO2 when thermally drying these solvents and when treating waste gas generated. This situation has driven the adoption of offset printing (Glossary 3) that is free of organic solvents and employs printing inks that is cured with electron beam or ultraviolet processes that consume less energy.

Toray produced estimates based on Product Category Rule PA-BC-02, the Japan Federation of Printing Industries’ calculation standard for plastic containers and packaging. The estimate confirmed that CO2 emissions from employing IMPRIMA TM FR with flexible packaging printing are up to more than 80% below those from gravure printing and more than 60% lower than those from flexographic printing. Furthermore, applying electron beam curing printing ink enables Toray’s process to comply with restricted substances list requirements, which are becoming increasingly stringent for food packaging.

The Toray Group Sustainability Vision and Toray Vision 2030 state the company’s commitment to helping resolve environmental, resources, and energy issues through business. Toray will continue to develop advanced materials and processes in line with its commitment to innovating ideas, technologies, and products that deliver new value.

Reference Materials
High-resolution output from using IMPRIMA™FR
1. Gravure (intaglio) printing
This process needs to engrave concav patterns directly on the metal cylinder printing plate surfaces ("cells"), followed by chrome plating. Making such printing plates costs high but they are very durable and good for long printing run length jobs, such as continuous image printing on film rolls. The varialble depth and shapes of cells are ideal for reproducing shading of images. The printing ink components are pigment, resin, and organic solvent. The organic solvent is dried to fix patterns on print media.
2. Flexographic printing
This relief printing process employs rubber or synthetic resin printing plates and forms convex patterns on their surfaces through chemical or thermal processing, sometimes laser engraving or other means. The elasticity of the plates make it suitable for surface printing on thick paper, corrugated cardboard, films, cloth, and other rough surfaces. This printing process is particularly popular in Europe and the North America because its low printing pressure enables high speed printing. This printing process employs heat-drying priting ink, ultraviolet curing ink, or electron beam curing priting ink.
3. Offset printing
This process uses metal priting plates coated with heat-sensitive layer and laser-exposes such heat-sensitive layer to create patterns on the plate surfaces. The plates are less durable than gravure ones, but the plate costs are much lower and plates are quicker to be processed, which is suitable for short-middle printing run length jobs. Commercial printing commonyu uses this print process because its photo and color image reproducibiity are excellent. This printing process generally employs thermal drying printing ink, ultraviolet curing ink, or electron beam curing ink.

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