Sustainable Print Production with New Inks

Heidelberger Druckmaschinen AG (Heidelberg) and PURe inks Europe GmbH (PURe) have signed a Europe-wide collaboration agreement with the goal to make offset printing more sustainable. Meanwhile Ricoh in cooperation with equipment manufacturer Olbrich has developed its own plant-based ink to nurture sustainability in commercial and packaging printing.

Heidelberg offers and provides solutions for global printing companies, especially those in the advertising and packaging printing markets. The business has a yearly print production volume of almost €400bn across its advertising, label printing and packaging processes. Usually, the usage of regular offset inks or alternatively UV curing inks make it challenging to introduce a sustainable print production in the market, yet PURe inks allow commercial and packaging printers a more sustainable production.

Additionally, Ricoh has developed an ink to increase sustainability in commercial and packaging printing, with the ink being plant-based. The new ink is a successor to the oil-based ink and was developed by Ricoh in collaboration with the German-based equipment manufacturer Olbrich for the field of décor printing.

Heidelberg and PURe Ink Characteristics


The odor-free PURe ink product is completely free from soy, palm, mineral or coconut oil, metal driers, microplastics and antioxidants. Heidelberg said it delivers excellent deinking results and fulfills the criteria for the highest environment, labor and health safety standards. That means they comply with the necessities of several key eco-labels such as Nordic Ecolabelling, EU Ecolabel, Blauer Engel UZ195 and Austrian Ecolabel UZ24. Furthermore, the series has received the C2C Certified Material Health Certificate at the platinum level.

Heidelberg product management consumables head Hans Huyghe said:

“Heidelberg is happy to extend its portfolio with low-migration inks from PURe, which combine the advantages of conventional and ultraviolet (UV) drying inks. With our project approach, we enable our customers to integrate PURe as a system as part of their long-term sustainability strategy.”

As part of the Europe-wide cooperation, Heidelberg is going to be offering these inks under the PURe label, alongside its own Saphira consumables, which will be part of the PURe package and will provide customers with a transition service and individual implementation for the use of PURe inks. Heidelberg can also provide sales and operator training and system and job analysis. The goal behind those services is to enable the customer to successfully commercialize the environmental advantages of PURe inks.

PURe ink systems CEO Michael Berz said: 

“We have worked for several years to achieve the high-quality standard we now have with PURe. After joint testing, Heidelberg offers a complete PURe package, which is key to the European success of this novel technology.”

Ricoh and Olbrich Ink Characteristics

According to Ricoh, the focus during development was on high abrasion resistance and improved settling behavior on brown and white corrugated board as well as on cardboard. The manufacturer states that the ink is quick drying, so no heat is required to fix or dry the paint. The vegetable oil is intended to penetrate pore-rich materials and keep the pigment close to the surface. This process makes drying superfluous and thus reduces energy consumption. Since no monomers are used to manufacture the ink, it is odor-free, just like the one from Heidelberg and PURe.

The ink is biodegradable and should be well suited for ink removal. Since the ink is not water-based, no biocides are required to preserve it. In addition, the print heads should be easier to clean when using plant-based ink. Another advantage is that it should clog less often because they are open longer. Low ink consumption should also ensure that the same optical density is achieved with 50 percent less ink.


As the world is heading more and more into the direction of sustainability, what aspect of printing should be looked at next to continue advancing into a more sustainable print production?

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