Packaging inks from BASF allow fast ultraviolet curing but low emission and low odor.

BASF, Florham Park, N.J., says it has made a technological breakthrough in the development of cationic photoinitiators for food-packaging inks. Its new product, Irgacure 270, now makes it possible to achieve all three benefits with both UV-curable printing inks and clear overprint varnishes, the company says.

Photoinitiators are substances that form free radicals when they are exposed to UV light, and these radicals initiate polymerization reactions. Irgacure 270 is a new high-molecular-weight sulfonium salt that fulfills the high standards that UV-curable inks for food packaging must meet.

Extensive tests show that emissions and migration are low, according to BASF. Irgacure 270 mainly is used in UV-curable applications that demand low emissions. These include clear overprint varnishes, flexographic inks, screen inks and inkjet inks for printing on food packaging made from a variety of substrates such as paperboard, plastics and metal.