Non-stick coatings are usually associated with cooking utensils and bakeware, but in the last few decades, they have touched almost every industry and made their mark...
And of this multitude of industries that have embraced nonstick coatings, the Printing & Packaging sectors are two important, yet slightly unusual domains.
Nevertheless, these industries continue to benefit greatly through the usage of non-stick coatings within their production and manufacturing processes.
So the questions are:
How, and where do they use non-stick coatings?
What challenges do non-stick coatings solve for them?
Read on to find out more.
What is the scale of Printing & Packaging in 2021?
Let’s First Look At The Printing Industry...
According to a report by EMR, the global commercial printing market was valued at $730 bn in 2020 and is forecasted to grow to $834 bn by 2026.
When you look specifically at the UK, the printing industry is still one of the top 5 sectors that drive the region’s economy, despite a substantial rise in the use of digital media.
This is because printing is not just about books and magazines anymore. The printing industry finds its clients across various other industries, including government organisations, financial services, retail stores, tourism, and general manufacturing.
But most of the growth in this industry in recent times has been driven by packaging and labeling in the growing e-commerce and other delivery-centric businesses.
And it doesn’t look like it’s slowing down anytime soon.
Next We Have The Packaging Industry…
We know that growth in the packaging industry will also have a positive effect on the printing industry as they usually go hand in hand.
But how does the packaging industry fare as an independent domain?
Well, a well-known research company explains that the global packaging market had a revenue of $926.43 bn in 2019 and it is expected to shoot up to $1652.28 bn by 2027.
And in the UK, the current annual sales in the packaging industry are around £11 bn, as per the Packaging Federation of the United Kingdom.
The reason for this huge market is because the packaging industry caters to a wide range of sectors, including food & beverage, healthcare, personal care, household care, cosmetics, pet products, to name just a few.
How Does Non-Stick Coating Benefit?
OK, now we know that these sectors are bringing a significant amount of revenue into the UK market.
So now we can dive into the challenges they both face and where can non-stick coatings come into play to improve their daily processes.
Printing Challenges & Solutions
The core parts and equipment that are used in the day-to-day working of a printing firm and require regular upkeep to keep the line working to its full production capacity.
Ink Rollers and Trays
Challenge – Ink rollers, pans, and drip trays are constant contact with chemicals and ink.
So, needless to say, they must be cleaned thoroughly and swiftly to prevent build-up which can halt production, leading to unnecessary downtime and loss of revenue.
Solution – Applying a suitable non-stick coating to the ink-handling parts ensures that ink doesn’t build up as much on these parts during use. This means that the thorough cleaning of the trays after use on a batch of products becomes as easy as possible.
Not just easier though, but is a lot quicker, too effectively reducing downtime. Less downtime means you can increase your production figures over the year and overall revenue.
Also, you get to save on indirect costs as non-stick-coated trays require an even lesser amount of cleaning agents and chemicals meaning it’s a win-win for everyone.
Challenge – Guide rollers should be consistently kept clean, otherwise, cross-contamination of different colors and types of ink may occur.
Imagine your client wanted a blue-colored logo, and due to some previous build-up of yellow color that stuck to your guide rollers, it spills over to the wrong area and coats the logo green.
That would be quite a wastage of time, effort, and money, as the finishing of the product would be ruined.
Solution – When guide rollers are coated with non-stick coating, it effectively reduces the chances of cross-contamination as there is no way previously used ink will build upon the surface of the rollers.
The non-stick coating also reduces the friction on the roller’s surface. Meaning ink can be applied to the end products smoothly, quickly, and safely.
Other parts of printing machinery that can similarly benefit from non-stick coating include mixing pots and vessels, travel rollers, oscillator rollers, and so on.
Packaging Challenges & Solutions
There are aspects of packaging that encounter some specific challenges, which can be resolved through non-stick coatings. Here they are.
Challenge – A heat-sealing tool’s main job is to close packages by applying heat and sealing the joints of the package.
Because temperature is a factor in this operation, there is always a chance that the plastic would stick to the surface of the machinery and/or not transfer proportionately over to the package.
This may result in extra efforts in cleaning the equipment and in some cases, discarding of the product due to improper finishing.
Solution – With non-stick coating applied to the tool, it will greatly reduce the thermoplastic sticking to the surfaces. Thus, sealing patterns and strong are smooth and the tool itself is easier to clean.
Further, because of their resistance to high temperatures, non-stick coatings provide excellent heat conduction throughout the sealing process.
Challenge – Guide rails allow the packages and the packaging material to move through the conveyor belts with ease. Now, modern packaging industries need guide rails to be extra efficient and smooth, so that they can manufacture a higher number of packages in lesser time.
However, the friction on the surfaces of the guide rails does not allow it to be so swift, resulting in lower productivity and a negative effect on total revenue.
Solution – On guide rails, non-stick coating drastically reduces the friction, so that packages move along with greater speed and also allows packaging material such as cardboard to slide over easily to the next piece of machinery.
All of this effectively reduces the overall packaging time, which translates to better productivity and higher revenues for the packaging company.
Case Studies: Who We’ve worked with..
In the printing and packaging sector, here at Product Release, we’ve worked with many well-known industry leaders as well as smaller bespoke companies to fill their non-stick needs.
Here are a few examples of companies we’ve worked with over the years.
Headquartered in Switzerland, Amcor is a leader in packaging with revenues above $9.3 bn. They encountered challenges concerning their ink trays and rollers and faced significant downtime.
By coating their trays, printing rollers, and tracking rollers with non-stick material, they could ensure smoother labeling for their end products.
Dyeing and Fabric Printing Company
UK-based dyeing and fabric printing company. They produce millions of meters of fabric a year.
They needed to reduce friction on the printing rollers to improve the efficiency that was needed to continuously churn out such huge volumes of fabric. With non-stick coated printing rollers, their challenges were quickly resolved.
HEAT SEALING MACHINERY (Undisclosed Company)
The company produces packages for food and other industries that require contamination-free sealing. The heat-sealing technique they used needed upgrading to ensure the sealing quality is up to the mark.
With non-stick coating applied to their heat sealers, producing sealable packaging safely and efficiently became a cakewalk for this company.
The Future of Printing and Packaging
The demand for plastic packaging is on the rise, especially in the food and beverage segment, even more so in recent times due to the pandemic. The growth of e-commerce has further increased demands for safe and easy-to-transport plastic packages.
With high demands in packaging, label printing is also going to be the driving force of the printing industry. Hence, this domain has to rise to the challenge by improving the productivity of their ink-handling equipment.
Meaning heat-sealing tools are expected to play a key role in the packaging industry in the next few years. This means that companies have to cater to increased productivity demands, a process that can be made smoother by using non-stick coatings.
And how can they achieve that?
That’s right, by using non-stick coatings.
In short, the right coatings on the right equipment can enable the printing and packaging industries to continue to grow in this profitable and adaptable marketplace.
If you would like to know more about how Product Release could help you with your printing and packaging needs, please don’t hesitate to contact one of our experts, who can discuss your problem and recommend an innovative solution that will not only help you now but will minimise future damage or repairs, giving you peace of mind.