Ricoh first to produce plant-based ink for packaging

25 February 2022

Ricoh has brought its first plant-based ink to market, describing it as “the first of its kind for mainstream graphics and packaging print”.
As professional printers, their customers and equipment buyers become more and more concerned about the environmental impact of printing, the printer manufacturers are working hard to deliver products which consume less electricity, produce less noxious fumes, and which have consumables with longer lifetimes thus reducing their carbon footprint.  The EPEAT standard even reviews the environmental impact of equipment and consumables’ manufacturing processes at their production sites.

The new Ricoh plant-based ink is a spin-off from R&D Ricoh carried out with partner Olbrich in Germany.  

This new ink is for the wide-format market, particularly in packaging.  It has conspicuous advantages in this market.  
  • It is suitable for printing onto complex media such as corrugated cardboard, both white and brown
  • It is durable:  it has excellent “rub resistance” on packaging
  • It is 100% biodegradable, and poses less issues than other inks do in recycling processes
  • It dries quickly; there is no need for additional electricity to heat it or to shine UV light onto it to dry it.  Ricoh describes it thus: “The oil penetrates porous substrates leaving the pigment near the surface. This reduces energy consumption and eliminates the need for the whole drying system.
  • The lack of biocides (normally added to keep inks from going off in storage) and of other nasties found in petroleum-based inks (for polymerization, for example) mean that at least some parts of food packaging can be printed in this way 
  • Owing both to its composition and the lack of heat required to dry it, it does not produce any noxious emissions during the printing process
Graham Kennedy, Director Industrial Printing, Graphic Communications, Ricoh Europe, said: “Brand owners and printer manufacturers are increasingly focused on reducing their environmental impact and applying sustainable practices wherever possible. With our new plant-based ink they can seamlessly introduce positive changes that make a big difference without impacting their high quality printed results.
The ink is now available throughout Europe.

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