Dr Dipshikha Banerjee will be expert speaker for the Siegwerk webinar

PrintWeek and Siegwerk are hosting a webinar on 27 July. The aim: how to improve the quality of recycled material by implementing PVC-free ink and coating solutions. Disha Chakraborty caught up with one of the expert speakers, Dr Dipshikha Banerjee, who is head of technology - flexible packaging at Siegwerk.

17 Jul 2023 | By Disha Chakraborty

PrintWeek and Siegwerk webinar on 27 July

Disha Chakraborty (DC): What is the next big trend in flexible packaging which could be a game changer?
Dipshikha Banerjee (DB):
Flexible packaging has long been vilified, as it is harder to collect and recycle compared to even rigid plastics. As per upcoming industry trends, there are two routes to solve this very issue. First, using more recyclable materials – the trend of paperization. Here, the big game changers are improved barrier coatings that enable great functionality. Secondly, improving recyclability of flexible plastic packaging – improving circularity. The shift to mono-materials and the use of de-inkable inks and de-inking solutions to improve the quality of recyclates are the game changers in this.

DC: One thing, the flexible packaging industry in India can do better in terms of adapting water-based inks? 
DB:
Every new system comes with its own advantages and challenges. But we need to prioritise health and safety – therefore water based ink systems make a lot of sense. With low VOC, easy handling and comparable print performance and cost in use, water-based inks need to be on the roadmap for convertors. 

DC: Possible?
DB:
Well, when it comes to adapting to water-based inks, we must not forget that we need to give the basic infrastructure for printing them. e.g. a proper drying condition just because water evaporates at a higher temperature as compared to most of the common solvents used in a solvent-based ink system.

DC:  Please share something about the energy curing ink which no one knows. 
DB:
No or very-low VOC is definitely a clear benefit, especially in regions where we do not have solvent recovery as a standard part of the process. It also brings along reduced fire and explosion risk on the printing side. Moving towards solutions based on water-based and energy curing inks and coatings is the right step in that direction. 

DC: Where does Siegwerk stand in this regard?
DB:
In both cases, we have a long standing presence in the market. We have been a market leader for applications on paper and board materials with water-based flexo as well as UV flexo and UV/EB offset inks. Similarly, UV inks for label printing has been a well explored area for us. Our recent focus has been to address further challenging areas like developing water based inks for non-absorbent materials and UV LED technologies.

DC: Have you always wanted a career in ink manufacturing?
DB:
Actually No, I didn’t. During my Postdoc at ETH, Zurich, I realised going to industrial research would be more fun. I could be closer to reality than if I would continue my career in academia. I found out about career opportunities in the ink industry only when I started searching for jobs in Germany after my postdoc. Even then, I was mostly looking for jobs around my field of specialisation, i.e. organometallic chemistry and its applications in the industry. 

DC: How did you transition?
DB:
My primary reason for transitioning from academia to industry was to be able to make a direct impact on society and I was amazed to find how this important field alludes the attention of the students of mainstream chemistry. We need to do our bit to promote the impact and importance of our field among the youth in order to tap in talent from mainstream disciplines as well.

DC: One challenge you occasionally or regularly face in your job? Is there some way an ink technologist such as yourself can guide them in following a better process?
DB:
What I feel, in the printing industry we acquire skill sets over time and there should be more opportunities created for generating trained skill sets. This will help us to be more organised, systematic, consistent in our approach. We are considering how we can work with institutes to create short-term courses for specific skills – this I think would be the way forward where academia and industry can work together to create practical and useful programs that will benefit the entire industry.
 
DC: What are the biggest obstacles to career growth in our industry, especially the R&D department?
DB:
When you work in any specific field of research, you keep specialising further and after a while, the scope for growth can be limited. The key is to keep adding new applications and widening your own skill set. Another limitation I see in India is the gap between academia and industry and the limited number of courses available to update skills. On the other hand, I also see a whole lot of companies looking for skilled people – so career growth is not really such an issue here in India.
 
DC: Are there any upcoming initiatives or projects you’re working on?
DB:
We do not have any ongoing projects currently with any universities or institutes. However, we are exploring the possibility of creating some short term courses for training people on specific skills.
 
DC:  What is the next big trend in flexible packaging which could be a game changer?
DB:
Flexible packaging has long been vilified, as it is harder to collect and recycle compared to even rigid plastics. As per upcoming industry trends, there are two routes to solve this very issue. First, using more recyclable materials – the trend of paperization. Here, the big game changers are improved barrier coatings that enable great functionality. Secondly, improving recyclability of flexible plastic packaging – improving circularity. The shift to mono-materials and the use of de-inkable inks and de-inking solutions to improve the quality of recyclates are the game changers in this.

Meet the two webinar experts

Thomas Haas,  Head of Asia Support Flexible Packaging
Thomas Hass has close to 33 years of experience with Siegwerk. He has been in Application Technology, Flexible Packaging from the beginning with responsibility for different countries. Thomas was based in Shanghai, China for five years. He subsequently continued to support Asia and Latam with Know How transfer, training and project support. Today he is based in Germany and frequently travels all over Asia and LATAM supporting teams.

Dr. Dipshikha Banerjee, Head of Technology, Flexible Packaging, India Region
Dr. Dipshikha Banerjee started her career in the flexible packaging (FP) business unit of Siegwerk Germany in 2016 as an inter-company technology partner in the global unit and led a team to help consolidate the knowledge bases of the units in Germany and India. During this period, she worked closely with the FP unit of Siegwerk India. Thereafter she headed the Energy Curing Ink lab of FP, EMEA. She has also led the development team for water-based inks for flexible packaging for a while.

Don't miss this opportunity to enhance your understanding of circular economy and explore the solutions for a failing linear system.

Reduce, reuse and recycle are the key levers to create a circular economy for packaging, and inks and coatings are an enabler for circular packaging. The focus of the upcoming webinar is to show how to improve the quality of recycled material by implementing PVC-free ink and coating solutions.

We look forward to having you join us for this insightful session which will be moderated by WhatPackaging? magazine's Sriraam Selvam.

Click here to register!


 

Latest Poll

Which is the sustainable packaging product among MSMEs that is most popular?

Results

Which is the sustainable packaging product among MSMEs that is most popular?

Bagasse and biodegradable boxes

 

22.22%

Corrugated boxes

 

44.44%

Paper bags

 

33.33%

Recyclable plastic (bubble wraps, bio-plastic)

 

0%

Total Votes : 9

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