hubergroup’s new HYDRO-X GA water barrier coating

More environmentally friendly production of food packaging

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hubergroup
water drops on hydrophobic plastic surface, close up

hubergroup Print Solutions is launching a barrier coating that protects against water. It is particularly suitable for surface printing in the packaging industry, both in the food and non-food sectors. By using a revised formulation of the binding agents for the water-based coating, there is no longer any need for PE film lamination as a water barrier. Paper packaging with a barrier coating can be recycled in the already well-established paper recycling system. Changing from conventional packaging to pure paper packaging with a barrier coating is a cost-effective and more environmentally friendly option. The HYDRO-X GA water barrier coating is now available worldwide.

Significant process optimization

Dr Christian Schirrmacher, Global project manager water-based inks from hubergroup Print Solutions, was clearly delighted about the product launch, “We are constantly working to further develop our portfolio. In particular, we focus on the benefits for our customers and the sustainability aspect. With the HYDRO-X GA water barrier coating, as a team, we have achieved another milestone.” He adds, “The aim is to enable our customers to produce more environmentally friendly packaging solutions.”

By using the HYDRO-X GA water barrier coating, it is possible to change from laminate structures to mono-material paper. For this step, only one more available inking unit is needed in order to apply the coating. It has the following advantages:

  • Significantly improved recyclability because a well-established recycling system for pure paper packaging already exists.
  • The range of applications for pure paper packaging is increased to include sectors that were previously reliant on PE/paper packaging.
  • Lower material costs thanks to savings on plastic films, which are now replaced by the coating.
  • Reduced processing times because polyethene (PE) lamination or extrusion coating is no longer required, resulting in one less step in the process.
  • In a full-cost analysis, the finished product results in lower costs for a sufficient technical barrier effect.

Optimal product protection

The coating provides a highly water-repellent surface, thereby increasing the shelf life of the product. The barrier coating is particularly suitable for use in the packaging industry, specifically for packaging moisture-sensitive foodstuffs such as sugar, flour, and dry animal food. This protective coating prevents unnecessary food waste. It is also suitable for applications in the non-food sector, for example, cement packaging and secondary packaging for copy paper. The HYDRO-X GA water barrier coating is suitable for both coated and uncoated paper.

Successful printing results

Following successful results from laboratory tests, in spring 2020 hubergroup also began testing the coating in a real-world environment together with a customer. This involved print testing on different machines. Dr Schirrmacher explains, “The results were so impressive that we immediately received an order from our customer. They were particularly impressed by the elimination of a step in the production process.”

hubergroup

With the launch of the HYDRO-X GA water barrier coating, the printing ink manufacturer is expanding their water-based portfolio. In doing so, hubergroup continues to pursue their integrated approach to sustainability. Dr Lutz Frischmann, global product director Flexible Packaging, sees that the packaging industry is undergoing major change. He recognizes a clear trend towards mono-materials and therefore towards barrier coatings, “At present, we are working intensively to develop and manufacture additional protective coatings, such as an oxygen barrier coating. Due to the sustainability aspect, we see big potential in these product groups.” More products are expected to be launched throughout the year.

hubergroup is a family business based in southern Germany with a 255-year history. Print Solutions division produces and sells printing inks and printing aids for packaging printing and commercial printing. The security inks segment for international banknote and identity document producers is covered by the subsidiary Gleitsmann Security-Inks. Chemicals Division markets raw materials such as pigments, resins, and additives produced in India.

The company has always been focused on customer success. That is why hubergroup works on innovative solutions, technologies, and services every day in order to optimize the value creation in the printing and chemistry industry and to allow their customers to achieve first-class results. In 2020, hubergroup generated an annual turnover of about EUR 620 million and employs approximately 3,500 employees worldwide in over 30 countries.

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