An innovative and revolutionary  ink, the Metal Mirroring Effect, opens new highways for brand marketing and product protection. It is a product giving enhancement to the world of packaging, labels and paper industry of luxury.

Various metallic inks are on the market, but the real innovation of this ink is that it provides a unique methodology to achieve a strong metallic effect on various substrates, and solve technical and economical problems for flexo and rotogravure, by eliminating the drawbacks and overcome the limitations of the techniques used to date.
We had seen a sample of the new ink printed on a rotary flexo Uteco and we were surprised by its formidable mirror effect. It had also amazing – by talking with the technicians who have patented it – the fact that it is a ‘simple’ ink which avoids the conventional metallization processes or hot foil on flexible substrates. So, Metal Mirroring Effect (MME) is an interesting novelty, a product allowing to protect the packed product by metallization or to emphasize the brand.
To learn more about the revolutionary new ink we went to Novachem, Milan-based company that has formulated and patented this ink.

The technicians in Novachem explain us that this metallic ink is the result of a laboratory study for a metallic finish in industrial application areas. “Only later we realized the potential of this product also in printing and in the packaging market, so we decided to patent the Metal Mirroring Effect (MME) and promote it in this field” – told us Mauro Zemignani, CEO of Novachem.
Founded in 1998 for the production and supply of pigments, dyes, additives for specific industrial sectors, Novachem over the years has developed most of its products in close contact with manufacturers of inks and paints, to meet and anticipate a changing market by technological progress. To realize the new ink the project was shared with the entire value chain, thus gaining experience with brand owners, printers, plant engineers.

Metallizing with ink

What is MME specifically and why the product is so interesting?
To fully understand the impact it can have in the world of printing and packaging let us step back.
Currently transparent films require, for a total or partial coverage metallized, by means of a vacuum metallizing off line process on the substrate.
The alternative to metallization, only for a limited coverage, is the application of cold or hot foil in line or off line. In the latter case, normally used today in narrow web printing, the main problem lies in the costs of the foil when used to print logos or simple profiles, because of the waste of the not used foil. In case of metallic substrate the cost and waste problems lied to de-metallization.
This complex process has a significant economic and environmental impact.


Let us come now to MME, this revolutionary ink patented by Novachem.
Based on microparticles of aluminium, it is a solvent ink, for flexo and rotogravure press (new versions for screen printing and UV inks are on study). At the moment it is not yet available for offset printing and this is its only limit. Anyway it is well suited to the printing of labels and flexible packaging on web presses, both narrow and large web. On the latter we can refer to the positive test print runs on Uteco machines. For offset printers, the use of a flexo coating unit is enough for both total or partial coating, either for the printing of logos and details.

The strengths

Firstly, the economics of the process when it needs to be metallized about 25% of the total area, for the printing of logos, lines and inscriptions without waste of foil.
The possibility of in-line printing in register without preliminary corona or plasma treatment of the substrate.
Environmental sustainability and economy in comparison with the metallization process.
In addition, since it is a true ink, MME allows printing dithered and therefore also shades, even if its core application is the full coverage with absolute and mirror effect.
MME can also be mixed with yellow inks for example, to replace gold foil.

The market

The new MME opens new possibilities for label printers, in particular for wrap-around, in mould and shrink labels, as well as for packaging printing on flexible substrates. On these surfaces, its mirror effect is even more effective if it is printed on the backside.
The mirror effect makes the MME a tempting solution for printing luxury packaging also on paper and carton board, where even a single profile or a small logo are cheap to press compared to traditional systems.