Surface Functionalization of Packaging Films To Promote Adhesion of Aqueous-Based Inks

EPA Contract Number: 68D70058
Title: Surface Functionalization of Packaging Films To Promote Adhesion of Aqueous-Based Inks
Investigators: Ellwanger, Richard E.
Small Business: Sigma Labs Inc.
EPA Contact: Manager, SBIR Program
Phase: II
Project Period: September 1, 1997 through September 1, 1999
Project Amount: $225,000
RFA: Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) - Phase II (1997) Recipients Lists
Research Category: SBIR - Pollution Prevention , Pollution Prevention/Sustainable Development , Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR)


In-line pilot-production scale treatment for functionalization of polymer film surfaces is proposed in this Phase II project. The proposed treatment is expected to functionalize the surface of packaging films, particularly polypropylene film, to readily accept and bond with aqueous-based printing inks, thus reducing the need for solvent-based inks. Use of solvent-based inks resulted in the release of 36.5 million lbs. of printing ink solvents to the atmosphere over the United States in 1993. Regulatory and community pressures to reduce the use of solvent-based inks as a pollution prevention measure are already significant, and they are expected to intensify in the future. During the Phase I effort, the concept that a high-speed, in-line, inexpensive process could be employed to functionalize the surface of polypropylene films to promote acceptable adhesion of aqueous based and 100% solid inks was proven. The Phase II effort will seek to scale up the process to provide treatment, inking, lamination, bagging, and market testing at the pilot-production level. In addition, part of the effort will be directed towards optimization of the acrylate coating chemistry to promote ink adhesion and deposit quality. Sigma's commercial partners, who are major players in the food packaging industry, will play important roles in the Phase II effort and will provide significant financial support for the project. Successful commercialization of this in-line, high-speed, inexpensive process to promote adhesion of water-based ink to packaging film will result in significant pollution prevention by reducing the dependence of the film packaging industry on solvent-based inks.

Supplemental Keywords:

small business, SBIR, pollution prevention, engineering, chemistry., RFA, Scientific Discipline, Waste, Sustainable Industry/Business, Chemical Engineering, cleaner production/pollution prevention, Environmental Chemistry, Chemistry, Hazardous Waste, Hazardous, Environmental Engineering, in-process changes, waste minimization, waste reduction, cleaner production, industrial waste, environmentally conscious manufacturing, clean technology, product substitution, solvent replacement, alternative materials, pollution control, emission controls, emissions, in process treatment, innovative technology, solvent replacements, aqueous based inks, packaging films, surface functionalization, solvent free ink, chemical releases, industrial innovations, air emissions, source reduction, pollution prevention, green technology, surface pretreatment, polymer film surfaces

Progress and Final Reports:

  • Final

  • SBIR Phase I:

    Surface Functionalization of Packaging Films to Promote Adhesion of Aqueous-Based Inks