Surface Technology

Research topic

Printing inks

The requirements for printing inks are manifold and vary enormously depending on the field of application, the printing process and the drying mechanisms. In collaboration with our industrial partners, we develop customized solutions. The focal points of our research include the utilization of renewable raw materials and the substitution of health-endangering printing-ink constituents. This enables us to create sustainable alternatives for diverse printing processes such as offset, flexographic and screen printing.

Three metal cans with liquid paint in blue, red and yellow.
© Fraunhofer WKI | Manuela Lingnau
Bio-based and low-emission printing inks make paper products more sustainable.
Das Foto zeigt den Drahtbügel eines Du-Noüy-Tensiometers beim Herausziehen aus einer Druckfarbe.
© Fraunhofer WKI | Manuela Lingnau
Wire frame of a du Noüy tensiometer during extraction from a printing ink.

Printing inks do not only have to be application-specific. External factors such as high raw-material prices and new legal requirements also have an influence on their production. As a result of our many years of experience in the field of binder synthesis, we are in a position to develop, in collaboration with our industrial partners, innovative solutions to the challenges posed.

Possible starting materials for printing-ink binders include polyesters, alkyds and polyurethanes with bio-based polyol components. In addition, biogenic oils or biopolymers, such as lignin or cellulose, also form the focus of our research. The aim is to thereby achieve the highest possible proportion of renewable raw materials, which are available on the market in sufficient quantities and at low cost, in the binders. A particular challenge is the use of agricultural residues and other biogenic raw materials which do not compete with food production.

The application spectrum of our binder developments for printing inks is very broad. We are thereby creating competitive and sustainable alternatives for commercially available printing processes and materials.