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Classic Colours Offers Waterless Offset Inks for Virtually Any Offset Application
Long-term partnership with Toray is an important element to success with waterless offset inks
13 Dec 2018

Prostějov/Czech Republic, December 13, 2018 - Toray Graphics in the Czech Republic, a leading manufacturer of waterless offset plate technology, today reported that UK-based Classic Colours, a manufacturer of offset inks, has transitioned virtually all of its ink production from conventional oil-based offset inks to more environmentally sound UV-curable waterless offset inks. The company occupies a 5,000 square foot facility operated by eight employees plus the management team. The company produces about 70 tons of ink annually.

“Back in 1989, as my employment with an ink manufacturer was coming to an end, I was approached by a Swedish company representative who arrived with a box of waterless inks from Japan,” explains David Grey, Managing Director. “I was intrigued by the idea and suggested to my employer that we conduct a development project. Upon receiving a flat ‘no’ to the request, I decided to start my own business as one of the first ink manufacturers in Europe to provide waterless offset inks. Thus Classic Colours was born!”

The Classic Colours relationship with Toray, now in its 28th year, has been an important element in the company’s success with waterless offset inks. Classic Colours also works closely with a number of press manufacturers, including Codimag, a French manufacturer of offset label presses, and KBA, the German manufacturer of Genius and of other UV waterless presses. Classic Colours’ distribution network includes Marks-3zet, also a Toray distributor, and many other companies worldwide.

“When we started, the bulk of our manufacturing was conventional oil-based inks,” Grey adds, “but within a few years we were about 50/50 waterless and conventional. These days, our production is almost exclusively waterless offset inks, and most are UV-curable.

In addition to higher quality and more efficient printing on plastics, Grey points out that waterless offset has many other benefits. “Obviously,” he states, “reduction of water usage is a key one. The rollers in the press last longer because you eliminate the chemicals that cause the corrosion of bearings and also affect the roller compounds. Perhaps most importantly, it’s the simplicity of the operation. Once you have taken on the initial learning curve, the waterless printing process is much less complex than water-based offset printing. Another great advantage is that a flexo press operator familiar with operating Anilox inking can easily make the transition to Anilox inked waterless offset printing; flexography doesn’t use dampening solution either, and the operator won’t need to learn about ink/water balance.

Classic Colours is also developing a brand-new ink, its UniVersal-LM family of products. “These new ink formulations can be cured with all lamp types, including Mercury-UV, Iron/Gallium low energy UV, and LED-UV, which is increasingly popular,” Grey says. “In the near future, many printing plants will have mixed curing technology, especially as they begin upgrading their operations to LED cooler cure UV. With the UniVersal-LM family of inks, they will have no worries about errors when using the wrong ink for the curing system.”

UniVersal-LM inks combine Classic Colours’ proven waterless ink formulations with special photo initiators that will cure under different lights and that have extremely low migration. “Many of our customers are using our inks for label printing, and they want to be able to expand into applications such as sensitive food packaging,” Grey reports. “We are in the process of testing these low migration inks with a number of analytical laboratories, and early results have been excellent. Prior to going to market next year, we hope to have the appropriate certifications that will give customers the confidence that low migration standards will be meet. UniVersal-LM will be available as process and Pantone colors, as well as silver and gold. We think these inks will be a game-changer for waterless offset, and we’re excited about their prospects. Our thanks go to Codimag and Toray for their help in producing test samples for laboratory analysis.”

Grey points out that an added advantage of UniVersal-LM inks is that they are not restricted to projects that require food grade inks. “Operations can switch between food-grade and other applications seamlessly,” he says, “without the need for time-consuming wash-ups between jobs since all the inks used are food grade.”

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For more information about Classic Colours and its sister company Classic Graphics, visit

About Classic Colours

Classic Colours specializes in supplying quality inks to niche markets. Complete product ranges are available for Conventional Waterless, UV (Hg) Curing Waterless, and LE; LED-UV & HUV Curing Waterless products are also available. UniVersal-LM will be available for release early 2019

About Toray

Toray Industries Inc., the leading manufacturer of waterless printing plates worldwide, was founded in 1926 and has a global presence with factories and sales offices in Asia, Europe, Middle East, South and North America. The main businesses of Toray are fabrics and textiles, plastics and chemicals, IT-related products, environmental and engineering solutions, carbon fiber composite materials, life science and others. Many of the products are developed from its proprietary polymer technology base and are commonly used by the electronics, packaging, textile, automotive and aviation industries. Recent annual sales approached € 15 billion.

Toray Graphics, a subsidiary of Toray Textiles Central Europe (TTCE), is based in the Czech Republic and features a state-of-the-art manufacturing line for waterless printing plates. Located in Prostějov, in the heart of Europe, the facility consolidates all business operations, including sales, customer service, marketing, production and R&D, for faster, more efficient support of Toray’s independent network of dealers and distributors in the European market.

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