Creating Dazzling Cast & Cure® Finishes

Brand marketers have long sought to differentiate their products from competition to create a selling advantage. Packaging and labeling have often been the vehicles, used by designers, to make a notable difference promoting eye, and shelf appeal to stimulate product sales. Aesthetic shapes, graphics, and special visual effects have led the way.

Enhanced graphic effects have featured gloss, satin, matte, contrasting matte-satin/gloss, soft touch, and raised coatings, fluorescent, metallic, pearlescent, and dual color interference coloration, hot and cold foil stamping, foil and metalized film laminated substrates, to name some. Also, holographic images have come to be used for security purposes and brand identity guarantees.

atomichologramCast & Cure® is the registered trademark of Cork Industries, Inc. The revolutionary, special effects, graphic arts process represented is a decorative, in-line/off-line UV/EB coating technology. It has been developed specifically to produce eye catching consumer products. 

The concept, first described as UV film casting, was initially demonstrated as early as the 1990’s, in Japan. The process was projected as an off-line means of imparting an optimized, ultra high gloss finish, to a UV coated substrate. This was accomplished by placing a plastic film into intimate contact with a wet UV coating that had been coated onto a substrate "casting."  Peeling the film awayafter UV “curing” took place through the film left the films finish cured into the UV coating.

Over time, the process has gradually evolved into a now fast growing, commercially viable, integrated, in-line print protecting decorating technique. It’s available at a fraction of the cost of often used metalized laminating film. 

The Cast & Cure® Process

Casting is defined as the use of a reusable plastic film as a mold or master embossing die, imparting its surface into a wet UV or EB curable coating or varnish.  Curing is defined as exposing the wet energy curable coating/varnish to curing UV or EB energy through the casting film while it is in contact with the wet coating/varnish. 

C2 Casting on Press

The reusable casting film, can cast, (transfer) a wide variety of surface characteristics into the surface of the wet coating or varnish. The result, using a single inventoried coating or varnish can be ultra high gloss, satin, matte, or micro embossed holographic imagery, etc. Micro embossing is able to produce light refracting surface changes to produce iridescent, shimmering visual effects. Spot or overall patterning is possible, as is the application of security, and anti-counterfeit features.

The Cast & Cure® decorating process is adaptable to in-line sheet-fed & web litho, flexo, gravure, and other printing methods. Typically, the specially designed reusable film unwind, nip and rewind equipment, available from a number of manufacturers, is installed after the printing presses last print station (varnish application) or coating unit. This film handling equipment establishes the nip point where the surface characteristic of the film is transferred in a mirror image into the wet varnish or coating.

A curing UV station or EB unit cures the coating or varnish through the film during the period when there is contact. After curing, the film is peeled away from the coated/varnished substrate and rewound for reuse, which is said to average between 8-12 passes. There is no transfer of material from the casting film in the image casting/curing process, and no UV/EB coating or varnish is transferred to the casting film.

The casting film, sourced from converters, is typically polypropylene coated one side with an emulsion coating which receives the nano or micro-embossed pattern. The emboss depth is approximately 200 nanometers.

Recyclable, Sustainable, and Cost Effective

The Cast & Cure® in-line process is conducted at normal press speeds with energy curable coatings being applied using photopolymer plates. Energy curable varnishes may be applied using standard printing plates. Cast & Cure® is a sustainable, green process. The use of energy curable UV or EB inks, coatings or varnishes eliminates the VOC’s emitted by other competing processes.

Cast & Cure® additionally produces packaging that is more easily recyclable by replacing traditional competing, laminated, metalized, and holographic film structures. The replacement of these laminated films reduces packaging costs, as well as lightweights the packaging, trading a film lamination for a UV/EB coating or varnish. Furthermore, the casting film is not only reusable, but is also completely recyclable contributing to cost reduction and a smaller carbon footprint.

It is said that Cast & Cure® is the most cost effective means of producing holographic, decorative, security, or anti-counterfeiting effects. This is especially true when compared to film lamination or hot or cold foil stamping. CORK continues to advance its cost effective, environmentally responsible GREEN technology utilizing sustainable, renewable (bio) resource materials content.

Green20 Cast & Cure® Info Here:

http://corkindustries.com/uv-coatings/cast-and-cure-green-gloss-uv-coating-2.html

If you would like more information on Cast & Cure Coatings, please contact us.

 

 


About the Author

Elmer W. Griese Jr, having accumulated 35+ years of knowledge working in the coatings and printing ink industries has now authored the Cork Tech Talk News, newsletter since 1992 producing 112 issues. He remains dedicated to educating and illuminating technological progress that offers the potential to advance coating technology and its applications.

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