Uppal Roy of Flint: IS 15495:2020 standards are important for brands

The Flint Group in India is powered by factories in Vadodara and Hosur. Upal Roy, who is the managing director managing director for packaging, India, Middle East, and Africa at Flint Group shares with Ramu Ramanathan how the group has introduced inks and coatings along with new test facilities to help brands meet tough new targets. As Roy says, "we have a separate, dedicated facility for the production of toluene-free and ketone-free inks to avoid contamination."

15 May 2023 | By Ramu Ramanathan

Upal Roy, managing director for packaging, India, Middle East, and Africa at Flint Group

Ramu Ramanathan (RR): As you are aware the new standards were introduced by the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) almost three years ago in 2020, what has been the update since? 
Upal Roy (UR):
The new food packaging standards which were released by BIS in 2020 helped to change the mindset of converters as well as brand owners. It also helped to improve awareness about environmental protection and safe packaging. 

RR: Any new developments?
Now many brand owners are specifying the use of toluene-free inks for their products.

RR: How does the Flint Group comply with IS 15495 standards?
Flint Group India has products which are fully compliant with IS 15495: 2020 standards for most of the segments in which we operate. 

RR: In what way?
For example, reverse printing and lamination, surface print for food packaging, shrink labels and wrap-around labels. Moreover, we have a separate, dedicated facility for the production of toluene-free and ketone-free inks to avoid contamination.

RR: Work is in progress to make IS 15495: 2020 at par with international norms by incorporating non-intentionally added substances (NIAS). How would this help the Indian ink industry?
Non-intentionally added substances (NIAS) are chemicals that are present in a food contact material (FCM) or food contact article (FCA), but have not been added for a technical reason during the production process. Many NIAS can migrate from the FCM or FCA into food, but it is very difficult to completely understand and control such processes. However, NIAS are not limited to plastics but also occur in all other non-plastic FCMs. Incorporation of NIAS in the standard will create more awareness among the ink formulators to use safe materials which contain internationally approved chemicals.

RR: What challenges do you foresee?
There are various challenges that can be considered with regard to NIAS. Many FCMs and FCAs have complex chemical structures, making a complete characterization of all NIAS unrealistic and the identification of those NIAS that may be of concern very challenging. NIAS may be predicted based on the knowledge of chemical processes, manufacturers’ experience and conditions of use.  Such substances may then be identified and quantified rather easily by targeted chemical analysis. Sourcing raw materials to ensure safe packaging can also pose cost-related challenges. 

RR: How does the Flint Group in India circumvent this?
Flint Group’s global procurement team works closely with our technical teams worldwide, as well as our raw material lab in India, to source responsibly and manage the cost of our finished products.

RR: How does the ink formulation process vary for toluene-free ink?
Ink formulation for toluene-based and toluene-free inks are quite different. To provide required properties, all raw materials for toluene-free inks should have good solubility in ester/alcohol solvent systems. Choice of raw materials is limited. 

RR: What about factory protocol?
It is very important to manufacture toluene-free inks in a separate, dedicated facility to avoid cross-contamination. Toluene being a highly volatile organic solvent can easily contaminate the area and manufacturing equipment. It takes considerable time to clean the equipment while changeover from toluene-based to toluene-free inks and this is not practically feasible.

RR: Final question. Any message for brands and packaging converters about packaging inks ...
It is important for brand owners to understand and support the implementation of the IS 15495:2020 standards according to the guidelines. This will not only help from an environmental point of view, but it will also enhance their brand protection and promotion. FSSAI (food safety standard authority of India) also recommends all food packaging companies should follow the new standard.


Flint Group's toluene-free ink brands in India

SuperBond XNT: This toluene-free and ketone-free ink series is suitable for reverse printing and lamination via the gravure printing process. These inks can be used on various substrates such as corona-treated or chemical-coated PET film and BOPP films. They are suitable for different types of lamination processes such as solvent-based, solvent-less, and extrusion lamination. As SuperBond XNT is toluene- and ketone-free, this series is one step ahead of the standard requirement, which dictates that products are only toluene-free. Long run trials under difficult printing conditions in India have shown that SuperBond XNT can be run successfully on both slow and high-speed gravure printing machines. Furthermore, these inks perform well up to 500 meters/min, the highest speed of any gravure printing machine in India.

SuperFit: This ink series has been developed to suit the requirements of a single ink system for wraparound labels and shrink film (PVC or PET) applications. Most converters use different ink series for these applications. However, with SuperFit, Flint Group replaced two separate ink series with one solution. These toluene and ketone-free inks deliver improved print properties, such as increased printing speeds, good scuff resistance and high shrink-ability. SuperFit has enabled printers to reduce inventory and realise very low press returns.

Latest Poll

The packaging industry is confused by recycling and sustainability rules in India. What is the biggest challenge?


The packaging industry is confused by recycling and sustainability rules in India. What is the biggest challenge?

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