EDIBLE INK PRINTING
The food industry is a manufacturing sector that is built on a solid foundation of a raw material base. The wealth and volume of the raw material base is provided by agriculture, but the development in the food industry takes place exclusively due to the introduction of innovative technologies.
Today, the possibility of branding and personalizing food products is becoming topical among manufacturers. And if earlier it was a question of packaging goods, now we are talking about the product itself.
IQDEMY Company, based on its own R&D center, had an idea of a project for the production of food inks for printing both on special transfer substrates, and directly on ready-to-use products.
A few years ago food inks appeared for printing on transfer materials, such as sugar and wafer papers. This sort of printing equipment is a small desktop printer which does not look different from the average office printer. A transfer is loaded into the printer and a print is applied to it, then it is fixed on the product. Basically, this is some kind of confectionery with a flat surface.
Such printing has a big disadvantage, it is not universal.
The working area of the printer has some limits in the size of the required print. The maximum possible print format is A3.The equipment like this will cope well with its task in private households. However, for the industrial volumes, completely different technologies are needed. Everything, from the dimensions of the working area and printing speed to the method of supplying the material, must meet the tasks of a particular production.
Therefore, IQDEMY, taking on the development of its own food ink, set the task of developing not only ink, but also the technology of food ink printing for large-scale food production.
For today, this project is being actively developed on the basis of the R&D center as well as with the direct participation of leading chemists at the Chemicals research laboratory of IQDEMY .The result of the first stages of the task was food ink of two types:
- For a major customer from the world food industry, food inks have been developed on the ground of natural dyes, which meet all the necessary requirements and standards. Natural dyes are found in plant and animal sources. The raw materials for their production can be berries, flowers, leaves, root crops, etc. And what is more, R&D lab experts offer all kinds of color shades, so this ink is just a godsend for opponents of synthetic additives.
- Synthetic dyes, in comparison with natural dyes, give much brighter and more saturated colors, which allow you to print images with a photographic quality. Such inks are less sensitive to the conditions of technological processing and storage, do not contain flavoring substances and do not have biological activity. The first successful synthetic dye ink tests have already passed at IQDEMY Chemicals Laboratory.
The received printing compositions have already been tested as a part of the development of specialized printing equipment for this technology.
On the scale of already established production, the introduction of new equipment entails a number of difficulties:
- As usual ,it is necessary to solve problems with the search and arrangement of the necessary space during the installation of new equipment;
- It is imperative to carry out a set of measures to train employees how to work on a new device;
- If the equipment is designed to perform new functions for the enterprise, an update of the operation scheme of the entire production line is required.
Taking this and many other possible problems into account, IQDEMY developers have designed solutions that allow to introduce new technology, minimizing all organizational difficulties. IQDEMY food ink printing technology offers:
A printing module (expandable to any print format and size by adding printheads) can be integrated into any production line, as well as function as a separate independent printing center. In the context of large-scale food production speed, productivity of such equipment and ease of its management are always important. Such module should not be an inert closed system.
The capabilities of IQDEMY are almost unlimited to change the structural parts of the module, combine it with any conveyor, and install it in any line. This is the versatility of the module. Control electronics from DPS allows you to expand the size of the print field to immense sizes by adding a number of printheads and skillfully manage even hundreds of printheads.
Combining the capabilities of design modifications and the functionality of control electronics and software, such module, working in SinglePass mode (or, if necessary, in MultiPass), can produce printing speeds comparable to the speeds of conventional food conveyors, and often even exceeding them. The performance of this combination of the module, control electronics and software corresponds to large industrial lines.
IQDEMY printing technology allows you to apply the image on the surface of almost any shape, lifting the carriage of the printing module to a height of 100mm. This further expands the scope and application of the module in the production of various products at the same time.