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Demystifying "Green" Inks: Replacing Oil With Soybeans

Published on Jan. 03, 2020

In the 1980s, "the first thing to do every day is to get a newspaper from the delivery room." Lao Zhang, who has worked in the agency for decades, recalls that the pungent odor of the ink wrapped up the complex taste of the world, from his nose Get on your brain. Recently, a soybean ink has become popular in Europe and the United States.

"Soy oil has increasingly replaced petroleum raw materials," said Helmut Langer, a former president of the International Graphic Design Association. In the 1980s, "the first thing to do every day from work was from the communication room Take the newspaper. "Lao Zhang, who has worked in the agency for decades, recalls that the pungent odor of the ink wrapped up the various flavors of the world, and banged his brain on his nose. Recently, a non-adhesion soy based offset ink is popular in Europe and the United States. This technology accounts for a quarter of the market in Japan, Europe and the United States.

The homepage of the US Soy Ink Information Center tells the history of the discovery of this new type of environmentally friendly material: in the late 1970s, when the price of oil soared, the American Press Association realized that more reliable printing materials were needed. Therefore, after researching more than 2,000 vegetable oil schemes, the research and development department of the association finally identified soybean oil as an alternative ink solvent.

In 1987, a media company in Iowa began printing with soy inks; in 2004, soy inks became the main printing oil in the U.S. daily newspaper industry. In order to promote the development and use of soy inks, the United States also established the "National Soybean In Ink Information Center "; In 2005, soybean ink was successfully promoted in the United States and around the world.

 Soybean Vegetable Offset Printing Inks

Soybean Vegetable Offset Printing Inks

Why has soybean vegetable offset printing inks caught on quickly?

The first is environmental protection. eco friendly quick dry soy ink is a lightly purified soybean oil that is mixed with additives such as pigments and resins. Substituting vegetable oil for petroleum has reduced the use of fossil raw materials and eased the strain on earth's resources. And soy ink requires less volatile organic substances than petroleum ink, reducing air pollution. Its pigment degradation rate is 4 times that of standard gasoline inks.

Second is the economy. Soy ink is more pure than petroleum extract. To achieve the same dyeing effect, the former requires less pigment and reduces the cost of ink. In the 1990s, the Hazardous Waste Research and Information Center of the Department of Energy and Resources of the United States of America conducted a survey on soybean ink. Many printers reported: "Soy ink can be 15% more ductile than general inks, further reducing ink The amount of use reduces printing costs. "

"Although the average price of soybean ink is 5% to 10% higher than gasoline ink on average, the former will cost less in various expenses such as the use of pigments, volatile organic compounds, and printer cleaning costs. Moreover, the use of With less soy ink, you can make prints that are brighter and more eye-catching than petroleum inks. Overall, soy inks are much more cost-effective! "Linda Cooke's article in Agricultural Research A bill.

"(Soy ink) has obtained large-scale applications in the United States, Japan and other countries, but there are still very few applications in China," Wang Shangwei said in the article "China Printing Supplies and Trade". "These are technical factors, and a larger part is due to lack of understanding." He also believes that with the increase of people's awareness of environmental protection, soybean ink will gradually develop in the domestic market.

In fact, domestic ink companies have smelled the fragrance of soybean ink. Tianjin Toyo Soybean Oil Offset Glossy Quick-drying Ink has obtained the environmental protection certification of the American Soybean Oil Association and is sold in China.

The American Soybean Association made specific regulations on the content of soybean oil in the ink, requiring that the content of soybean oil in the thermosetting offset printing wheel transition ink should not be less than 10%, the offset sheet paper ink should be not less than 20%, and the foaming ink should not be less than 40%, offset press ink must be above 55%. If the product does meet this standard, it can be affixed with the "SOYSEAL" logo of the Soybean Association to indicate that the product has met environmental requirements.

Of course, soy inks also have disadvantages. For example, it is not suitable for personal printers. Because there are no volatile organic compounds, soy inks dry more slowly than regular gasoline inks, which poses challenges for some printing projects, such as using paper different from newspapers and magazines. There is also a problem, soy ink relies on a single crop, once the threat of pests and diseases, the supply of raw materials will become a problem.