Xeikon, a division of Punch Graphix, has been a pioneer in digital color printing and dry toner technology since its inception more than 20 years ago. With the launch of the Xeikon 3500 digital label production press and QA-I toner at IPEX 2010, the company has taken the suitability of its technology for food packaging applications to an entirely new level.
In the United States, Food and Drug Administration (FDA) sets guidelines that must be followed with regard to food, whether packaged or not. Some of these guidelines are with respect to the actual materials being used to produce the labels, such as inks, toners and substrates. In addition, FDA also sets guidelines with respect to the printed materials in contact with food. The two types of food contact are direct and indirect. With direct food contact, the printed material comes into contact with the food. Indirect food contact refers to printed materials that are located on the outside packaging of the food. The Xeikon QA-I toner meets all the applicable FDA guidelines for indirect food contact under room temperature and less severe conditions as well as direct food contact for dry food substances containing no surface oil or fat under the same conditions.
Food safety is of the highest priority for label converters, as nearly 40 percent of the digitally produced labels are used for food packaging applications. By utilizing Xeikon’s latest technology, label converters can gain a unique competitive edge in the markets they serve. Other printing technologies that involve UV-inks or solvent-based liquid inks do not always meet the FDA guidelines as they contain low molecular weight components. For example, most UV-inks are unsuitable for indirect food contact as non-cross linked molecules or photoinitiators present in the cured ink could migrate through the packaging and contaminate the food being packaged.
The QA-I toner is produced at the company’s dedicated toner production plant in Heultje, Belgium. It has been developed specifically for Xeikon’s family of digital label presses, which includes the Xeikon 3500, 3300, and 3000. The QA-I toner suitability for indirect food contact applies to all process colors (CMYK) as well as spot colors (white, clear, extra magenta, red, green, blue and orange). The toner’s direct food contact suitability applies to all process colors (CMYK) and white, clear and extra magenta spot colors