As shrink sleeves gain more traction in the packaging arena, INX International Ink Co. continues to meet market demand with innovative new ink products. The latest development is INXFlex™ Contour, a dynamic UV and LED dual cure flexographic ink system designed to help produce distinctive shrink sleeve label solutions for brand owners.
INXFlex Contour follows the successful introduction of Genesis™ GS washable label inks, a recycle-friendly product that recently added a new flexo version and UV Curable primer that makes INXFlex Contour washable too. With various market research reports projecting the Shrink Sleeve market to expand considerably by 2026, both ink systems offer significant advantages.
In addition to high performance capabilities, these colorful and vibrant inks were carefully designed to address pertinent brand owner issues including efficiency and sustainability, says Renee Schouten, INX’s Vice President of Marketing.
“INX shrink sleeves are formulated for optimal print and press performance, making the labels stand out on store shelves and attracting the attention of consumers,” she said. “Our ink and coating systems are versatile, adaptive, and work on all common substrates such as PET, cPET, OPP, OPS and PVC. That’s a critical consideration since INXFlex Contour is designed for tamper evident sleeve applications, an expectation most brand owners are seeking.”
One of the biggest benefits of INXFlex Contour is it corrects label and packaging industry issues of post-shrink adhesion loss and ink cracking, and delivers superior flexibility that far exceeds any other product available in the market. Schouten explained that in addition to increased efficiencies, faster lead times and lower applied costs with a dual cure version, it also addresses sustainability concerns with patent pending recycling capabilities.
“It was essential for us to design INXFlex Contour to work with a wide array of substrates while maximizing press speeds and ink strength. These inks give our customers flexibility in choosing the best substrate and the most cost effective solution for their application,” indicated Schouten, who said it is available as a dual cure or regular UV cure system.
“It also addresses the key needs of shrink sleeve converters – including shrink maximization in both orientations – while eliminating post-shrink adhesion loss and ink flaking,” continued Schouten. “Curing LED provides several sustainability advantages including energy savings with less power consumption, instant on-off access and no ozone being produced. This gives brand owners looking to strengthen their recycling efforts another solid option, in addition to our Genesis™ washable label inks.”
Genesis GS has proven to be a popular gravure solvent ink system as it meets the PET-CG-02 Critical Guidance Protocol established by the Association of Plastic Recyclers (APR). Schouten said in addition to Genesis GS and the new washable Genesis FS flexo solvent version, INXFlex Contour with its UV Curable primer gives brand owners better options for the lifecycle of their labels.
“When used in combination with INXFlex Contour, the new UV curable primer enables the ink to be washable from shrinkable cPET,” remarked Schouten. “The primer allows the ink to be removed in a caustic wash bath prior to recycling for the circular reuse of recovered materials.”