Sun Chemical has reinforced its commitment to the graphic arts and packaging markets by opening a new coatings lab in its Carlstadt, N.J. research and development facility.
The 11,000 square foot investment features state of the art equipment and unsurpassed analytical support for studying migration, adhesion, permeability, and other performance-related coating phenomena. SEM microscopy, atomic force microscopy, IR surface mapping, sophisticated surface energy measurement and many other techniques are used extensively to advance the fundamental understanding of key coatings performance attributes.
A variety of equipment has been added to the new lab, including: gas transmission rate analyzers, glass bottle testing instrumentation, and coatings spraying equipment to develop new and improved water, solvent, and energy curable primers, inks, and coatings. A lab laminator will be added in 2017 to help study the interaction between ink, substrate, primers, overprint varnishes and laminating adhesives.
“The new Carlstadt coatings lab represents a major investment in our coatings business,” said Russell Schwartz, Chief Technology Officer, Sun Chemical. “This enhanced capability will help us expand our product range offerings into an evolving packaging market that includes laminating adhesives, glass decoration, and printed electronics. The integration of coatings technology with ink, polymer, and functional materials development within the same technical organization and facility transcends product lines and geographical barriers. It will also help expand Sun Chemical’s Advanced Materials portfolio into industrial coatings applications.”
The lab is the fourth of its kind worldwide, joining similar laboratories located in the United Kingdom and DIC R&D centers in Japan. Sun Chemical’s global reach and understanding of global regulations, good manufacturing practices and specific food packaging regulations, gives the company the capability to develop and test water, solvent, energy curable coatings, including primers, overprints and materials in order to provide enhanced functionality, such as barrier properties.
Sun Chemical is a leader in the development of coatings. Its SunInspire™ sensory coatings line offers special effects that allow a customer’s product packaging to stand out on store shelves visually through high luster metallic, fluorescent, glitter, pearlescent, and iridescent finishes. SunInspire tactile coatings, ranging from coarse and gritty to soft and smooth, appeal to the sense of touch. Other coatings in the line can create an interactive experience with color shifting, reticulating, and aromatic coatings.
To meet the packaging market’s need for enhanced shelf life and lightweighting, Sun Chemical introduced its SunBar® printable oxygen barrier coatings. By removing EVOH polymer layers, as well as offering improved laminate flexibility, SunBar oxygen barrier coatings provide a smooth, homogenous, pinhole-free layer that can be overprinted and laminated to a variety of secondary films.
SunLase laser coatings enable brand owners to add digital information to both secondary and primary packaging after filling and closure for functional supply chain purposes or for late-stage brand differentiation. The solution involves printing a patch of a “latent ink,” which is applied as a transparent or tinted coating onto the packaging stock at the artwork printing stage. This coating is subsequently imaged using a low-power CO2 or fiber laser, to safely provide high contrast black bar codes, dates, or other variable information after filling and closure.
To meet the demand for convenience and on-the-go meals, Sun Chemical introduced its SunSys™ resistance coatings, a series of water-based coatings formulated to impart or enhance resistance properties to paper and board substrates while at the same time being FDA compliant for direct food contact.
“We’re excited about additional solutions we’ll be able to bring to the marketplace because of the new lab,” said Bob O’Boyle, Product Manager, Coatings, Sun Chemical. “We’re developing new coating polymers. While many companies rely on commercially available polymers, Sun Chemical differentiates itself by developing proprietary polymers targeted for our specific industry and products. We’re also focusing on smart coatings for sensor-enabled application equipment.”