Finishfit Microbe Protect 2400, developed by Epple Druckfarben AG in Germany, was tested on a wide range of Jet Press printed products at Fujifilm’s Advanced Print Technology Centre in Brussels.
Inks and coatings developer Epple Druckfarben AG has produced a coating to dramatically reduce the chances of bacteria or viruses being passed from person to person via printed media. Now commercially available, the new water-based varnish, Finishfit Microbe Protect 2400, has undergone a rigorous testing process, including tests on Jet Press printed products at Fujifilm’s Advanced Print Technology Centre in Brussels. The coating has been proven to be effective in killing up to 99.9% of bacteria. This makes it ideal for use on everyday printed products that are handled by multiple people, such as playing cards, magazines, food menus and packaging of all kinds – including pharmaceutical-based packaging and selected plastic films.
Finishfit Microbe Protect 2400 contains elementary silver-nanoparticles (Ag0) firmly anchored in the varnish film. When activated by moisture – such as when they are touched – the silver-nanoparticles release positively charged silver ions (Ag+), which significantly reduce the number of bacteria and viruses on the surface of the varnish. The effect is constant and long-lasting because the silver-nanoparticles themselves are not released and can’t be rubbed off from the dried varnish, and because the coating is water-based, it is also very environmentally friendly.
“Epple is well known for its innovations in the field of ink systems, and Finishfit Microbe Protect 2400 is another unique addition to our product portfolio,” says Helmut Fröhlich, Product Line Manager at Epple. “This coating is suitable for a range of substrates, and we are continuously testing it with other ink types and printing processes.”
Fröhlich was clear on their decision to approach Fujifilm for the initial testing of the coating: “Being one of the leading companies in inkjet printing, Fujifilm was the logical choice for testing Finishfit Microbe Protect 2400. They suggested the testing should be undertaken on the Jet Press and it quickly became clear as to why.
“Unlike some other digital printing processes, the Vividia inks used by the Jet Press produce a smooth, neutral surface that is ideal for both aqueous and UV based coatings. We were impressed to see that the high quality print work produced by the Jet Press is further enhanced by the crucial, invisible protection that Finishfit provides.”
At Fujifilm’s APTC, numerous tests were carried out – both on freshly printed samples, and with prints that were several days old. It proved equally effective on both. Taro Aoki, Head of Digital Solutions, Fujifilm Graphic Systems EMEA says: “The Jet Press has always been about maximising flexibility and adaptability for its users. Over the years we’ve continually pushed the boundaries, offering an expanded colour gamut, food safe inks and the ability to print to a huge range of standard offset stocks. So it’s fitting that Jet Press printed products were the first to be tested with this ground-breaking new coating that offers print businesses enormous reassurance as we all continue to manage the risk of living with Covid-19 in society.”
The end result of 18 months of development, and the first product in a planned Microbe Protect 2400 series, Finishfit was created in conjunction with the renowned nanoscale research company RAS AG, Regensburg as well as with state funding from the German Federal Ministry of Economic Affairs and Energy as part of the Central Innovation Programme for SMEs. When they began work a year-and-a-half ago, none of its creators could have known just how much the perceived importance of the product would grow. “During the development phase, the acute significance of the product in the degree of urgency could not be foreseen,” says Stefan Schülling, Member of the Epple Executive Board responsible for Sales and Finance. “Now we are extremely pleased at the timely offering – further evidence of our innovative leadership.”
“Every sector must throw its full innovative power behind curbing the present and future pandemics”, adds Helmut Fröhlich. “Finishfit Microbe Protect represents an important first step.”