Sappi, a leading manufacturer of speciality papers, has collaborated with ACTEGA to print labels with a metallic effect and a distinctive tactile feel. Visually and haptically impressive beer bottle labels and wrappers for chocolate products were created with ACTEGA’s innovative ECOLEAF technology. The exceptional results of the partnership were on display at the last Labelexpo Europe in Brussels (11 to 14 September 2023).
Innovative, print-based finishing technology
ACTEGA is part of the ALTANA Group. ACTEGA develops and produces specialty coatings, inks, adhesives, sealants and compounds for the print and packaging industry. In 2017, ACTEGA introduced an all-new finishing technology to the graphic arts industry: so-called ECOLEAF metallisation. As an alternative to conventional, predominantly foil-based processes for the production of metallic finishes, it is used to print metallic effects on narrow web labels and packaging.
The technology consists of a carrier or ‘trigger’ image and a metallisation unit that transfers a thin layer of metallic pigments first onto a dispensing roller and from there onto the trigger image. Only the exact amount of metal flakes required for the motif is used. The trigger image can be produced with flexo, rotary, flatbed screen or inkjet printing. Depending on the chosen printing method, tactile metallic effects, high-resolution finishes or a solid metallic print can be created.
ACTEGA had worked together with its long-standing partner Sappi as part of the qualification process for ECOLEAF-suitable substrates. In the search for the best possible result in the metallisation of beer bottle labels, the choice fell on the one-side coated Labelcar MT label paper. It didn’t come as a surprise when ACTEGA once again sought Sappi’s long-standing expertise for two new finishing projects with its ECOLEAF technology. In the run-up to Labelexpo Europe 2023, the two partners tested a variety of label papers for two very different applications.