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#1 Benko


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Posted 08 June 2011 - 08:54 PM

Alright this is a question for all the flexographic packaging ppl....how are you going about tracking your ink batches?

We were told by a consultant that we needed to do this for BRC Packaging Standard(working towards it not there yet) and I can not see a way to handle this with out 2 ppl working on it full time. Our pressmen are mixing and shading colors all day long, and each time they do that it has the potential to add another Lot Number to that batch.

Any ideas would be most welcome


#2 Simon


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Posted 09 June 2011 - 09:06 PM

What ink system Benko UV, Solvent, water based?
How do you issue inks weight / just enough for job?
When you get ink deliveries do you use that to top up barrels in use or wait until they run out?

In my experience it's not easy, but you can at least record the batch ID code of the ink you purchase and the date it was first used; it's not perfect but at least there is a degree of control.

And remember how often do we need to trace inks...in my career...never! How about you?


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#3 Benko


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Posted 13 June 2011 - 12:01 PM

We use solvent based inks and they are issued on a weight base. We never put ink back into the drums we recieve from our ink suppliers. All of our inks returning to storage are kept in labeled 5 gallon buckets. It is these buckets that give me nightmares when thinking on how to trace them, they can and are changed to other colors (by adding other colors, i.e. more batch numbers) and other than starting a "packaging" sheet for each can when it is created and having pressmen update it anytime they add to that can I can't see a way to treace the ink.

I am not concerned with having a problem with the ink and having to trace it (hasn't happened in 40 years of my companys history) but I don't want to be caught without during our BRC audit. Would love to hear from others who have had a BRC Pachaging Standard audit in regards to what they were asked about there inks.


#4 Peter Snopko

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Posted 14 June 2011 - 03:15 AM

I have audited quite a few packaging vendors over the last 5 years and now finding control of inks becoming extremely important. Especially specificaiton change controls and customer approval signoff records.

There have been a number of product recalls in the world caused by Ink chemicals migrating into the food product.

Examples are:
a) ITX ( a photo-intiator in UV ink) migrating into milk from liquid folding cartons
b) benzophenone and 4-methyl benzophenone from UV initiators in food products.

The latest EU reg 10/2011/EC which replaces Directive 2002/72/EC and its amendments covers migration from printed ink layers on plastics.

So you should be able to show you are using the correct inks, and can trace then back to source.

How to record the batch and material information is up to you, but I suggest each production lot/batch printed had bettter have all the details necessary for an auditor or recall programme to do a full traceback.

Hope this helps


Peter Snopko
Packaging Specialist
Packaging Resources & Development Ltd
Cambridge, New Zealand
Ph: +64 21 813259

#5 Foodworker


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Posted 01 July 2011 - 02:53 PM

Ink, and to a lesser extent, varnish traceability is very, very difficult and every printer, large and small struggles. The auditor would be very mean to challenge your ink traceability systems on a first audit. There are however, mean auditors about.

I haven't got an easy solution, but try to think of the ink department as a separate factory which makes finished products from a recipe and sells the print department finished products. if you were starting from scratch you would set up batch control systems, if only to control waste efficiencies.

You don't say how many blends each day that you make. Using a simple excel spreadsheet is a starting point if there are only about 10 or less. Getting the ink blenders to record the batch numbers of course is a different matter.

One point I want to make about Peter Snopko's post is that tracing back from blend to primary inks is not the problem. It is the forwards trace from primary inks to blend and then to finish product which is more important and also much more complex. Although not a requirement of the BRC/IoP the ability to perform a mass balance reconciliation is what you should be aiming for.

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