Direct offset lithography printing on micro-flute

Direct offset lithography printing on micro-flute

Direct offset lithography printing on micro-flute

Micro-flute corrugated packaging is a relatively new product with exceptional properties, offering versatility in various packaging applications.

Market Insights:

  • The micro-flute segment constitutes approximately 7-9% of the total corrugated market in North America.
  • Recent studies show an annual growth rate of microflute applications ranging between 12 and 15%.
  • While E- and F-flutes dominate production currently, the emergence of N- and G-flutes may alter this landscape in the future.
  • E-flute typically has around 90 flutes per foot, F-flute about 128, and G- and N-flutes count around 178 per foot.

Printing Techniques:

  • Direct offset printing on micro-flutes offers advantages over flexography and screen printing.
  • Key benefits include improved print quality, finer screens and halftones, reduced production times, lower plate making costs, and suitability for both long runs and shorter promotional specials.
  • Short-grain material is essential for micro-flute printing to ensure greater stability with flutes lying in the direction of travel.
  • The choice of blanket is crucial for ink transfer, particularly at low pressures.

Impact of Moisture:

  • Moisture can significantly impact micro-flute corrugated, weakening fibers and reducing overall strength.
  • Corrugated board loses about 50% of its compression strength at or above 50% relative humidity.
  • Starch-based adhesive used in micro-flute construction is sensitive to moisture, losing strength in high humidity conditions.
  • Expansion and shrinkage occur with water absorption and drying, respectively.

Advantages Over Solid Board:

  • Micro-flute packaging requires less raw material while offering enhanced stacking, flexural strength, and lighter weight.
  • Superior insulating properties make it ideal for deep-freeze fast-food packaging.

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