Confectionery maker ORION installs first CI-flexo press in South Korea using water-based inks

South Korean confectionery producer ORION is constantly searching for ways, to make the food packaging for its products more eco-friendly. In 2020, Orion decided to switch to water-based inks. It also decided to use CI-flexographic printing technology for this, instead of gravure, which it had focused on until now.

As this decision affects not only the machine itself but also the surrounding processes it was a carefully prepared buying process. After evaluation of different flexo-printing machine manufacturers Orion invested in the MIRAFLEX II by Windmoeller & Hoelchser Corp. With the installation of the MIRAFLEX II last year, Orion is now the first food-packaging printer that uses flexo with water-based inks in South Korea.

Being very experienced with gravure printing, this was the first flexo-printing press for Orion – and the first one in South Korea in the food market in general. Orion's goal was to find the best technical solution to print food packaging with water-based inks right with from the start. In addition, Orion expected to reduce annual ink usage by 50% compared to gravure. From day one, W&H experts engaged in in-depth technical discussions with the team from Orion. Once different approaches were mapped out, several flexo printing trials were done in the technology center of W&H to compare the different possibilities. “Even under difficult COVID-19 conditions, it was very important for us to be remained as a reliable partner from the first concepts to the running machine," explains Ki Hyoung Do from W&H in South Korea.

The eight-color MIRAFLEX II equipped with an inline-flexo unit was installed on time in Orion’s facilities in Ansan and is now in full production for 32 packaging products. The printing quality has remained on the excellent level Orion expects for its food packaging. Orion actively promotes the new eco-friendly packaging with copper-free printing without solvents. They also achieved the goal of 50% less ink use. Beside these environmental benefits, Orion also reports that the working environment was greatly improved.

With this good experience, Orion announced in January 2021 that it will further invest in flexo-printing facilities. The goal is to produce eco-friendly packaging materials for its entire product line using flexographic printing and water-based inks. The order for a second W&H MIRAFLEX II has already been placed.