Nanotechnology brings surprise opportunities to label printing and printing ink.

Nanotechnology is becoming more and more important for the future of printing and printing ink, which will set off a scientific and technological revolution not only in Europe, but in every corner of the world.

If the printing industry wants to further expand its market and extend its tentacles to new fields such as electronics, it must use nano-scale particles and materials in ink. Nanotechnology has been developed for many years, which is no stranger to people. It provides the production basis for many new products. By 2025, the global market of nano-products is expected to reach trillions of dollars.
Perhaps printing can also get a piece of this growing market, because the application cost of printing is low, and inks and coatings containing nano-scale components can be used on various substrates.

At present, many materials can be used to produce nano-ingredients, such as carbon, silver, iron, titanium dioxide, alumina, cerium oxide, zinc oxide, silicon dioxide, silicon dioxide and nano-clay, etc. Although they have not been fully used in ink and coating formulations at present, their future development potential cannot be ignored. In addition, if nanotechnology is to be widely used in printing and other fields, it still needs to meet many arduous challenges, the most difficult of which is to alleviate people’s concerns about health and safety, especially in Europe where policies and regulations are relatively strict.
SteveHankin, senior consultant of the British Institute of Labor Health, said:’ The safety information about nanomaterials in the market is incomplete, and there is a huge knowledge gap in toxicology, physicochemical properties and exposure data, which makes people encounter great difficulties in risk assessment and risk management of nanomaterials. Therefore, many European companies require their suppliers to explain the nano-components in their products, especially the packaged products.

In addition to safety, another headache is the increasing cost of research and development of nanomaterials. This requires not only high-level R&D personnel, but also expensive equipment. In order to catch up with the pace of technological innovation, small enterprises may not be able to develop suitable products even if they invest a lot of money.

Paul, manager of a small British company that is developing nano-ink for printing electronics, said that nano-technology has transitioned from materials that meet a single requirement to complex solutions that can meet multiple requirements. Strict safety requirements and increasing research and development costs make nanotechnology a luxury, far exceeding the limit that some ink manufacturers can bear. Even some large enterprises in the ink market cannot afford to set up an internal R&D team.

In addition to enterprises specializing in nanotechnology, some universities and research institutions in Europe are also very interested in nanotechnology, and penetrate into the ink market by manufacturing ink or providing nano-components for ink products. For many years, ink manufacturers have been using milling to produce nano pigment particles in order to improve the color quality and performance of ink formulations. Using nanotechnology in traditional coatings can make the substrate scratch-resistant. Ink containing nanoparticles can be used in most printing processes, especially in the production of printed electronics. At present, nano-materials can be printed on various printing materials for producing RFID tags, fluorescent displays, plastic batteries, sensors and solar cells.
In the field of printing, inkjet ink is the most used nanotechnology, because it needs to add small particles in the formula, especially for dye and pigment inks. The development of inkjet technology and nanomaterials complement each other. With the maturity of ink-jet printing technology, nano-materials have also made exciting progress. For example, nano-micron materials used in inkjet printing can also be used in the production of photochromic or electrochromic inks, antibacterial agents, flame retardants, conductive graphite and metals, magnetic materials, enzymes and other biological materials. The nano-materials in traditional ink-jet inks are mostly used in the fields of safety, brand protection and anti-counterfeiting, which is also one of the biggest markets of nano-technology in the printing industry.
Under the current market conditions, suppliers and developers of printing nanotechnology should pay close attention to the regulatory agencies in Europe and other countries, and understand the overall development level of this technology, so as to find the best development direction.

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