CTI introduces industry’s first solvent thermochromic colour-changing ink

Thermochromic ink changes colour as it cools and is ideal for ensuring that beverages are  ice-cold for consumer consumption.

The allure of printed packages and labels that change colours to reflect product temperatures has been expanded. Chromatic Technologies Incorporated (CTI – Colorado Springs, Colorado) has launched the packaging industry’s first thermochromic ink for use in solvent-ink applications. Thermochromic inks change colours as they cool. In the U.S., about 40% of consumers complain about being served a beverage that’s too warm. Thermochromic technology is ideal for ensuring an ice-cold beverage experience for each consumer. “CTI’s achievement represents a technological breakthrough, especially for the flexible packaging industry, and is a technological breakthrough many thought could never be done,” said the company. Solvent inks for printing are used by over 95% of flexible packaging suppliers. Prior to CTI’s development of Solvent Thermochromic Ink, printers were forced to run water-based specialty technology. However, using water-based inks inside a solvent plant created challenges affecting efficiency and economics for customers, increasing set-up times as well as cleaning and solvent recapture.

CTI’s Solvent Thermochromic Ink also offers the advantage of delivering much stronger colours compared to water-based inks, which often require more than one printing station to achieve their target-colour density. Solvent Thermochromic Ink is delivered as a one-part, finished ink to customers. Prior attempts at using solvent thermochromic inks failed due to the solvents attacking the encapsulated chemistry of the printing process, said CTI. In some cases, ink customers would wait to mix a thermochromic concentrate with a solvent immediately prior to printing. As such, the ink must be typically applied in the next eight hours, and everything that was not used was thrown away, resulting in waste of typically 30%.

Lyle Small.

“CTI had a technology breakthrough inventing solvent-thermochromic inks that can be delivered as a single, finished, print-ready ink which maintains a shelf-life of 90 days,” said Lyle Small, CTI’s Founder and President. “This new technology just made a lot of production and economic headaches disappear for our customers, and creates a pipeline of innovation they can bring to market.” In addition to Thermochromic, CTI now offers a suite of solvent-ready specialty ink technologies – including glow-in-dark, photochromic, hydrochromic, pressure-activated and reveal inks. This August, CTI is offering free solvent trials to customers who qualify. Trial requests can be submitted to inquire@ctiinks.com.

CTI was founded in 1993 and has since grown to be one of the world’s largest specialty ink suppliers. Its technology differentiates brands and helps them grow by providing “innovative chemistry breakthroughs that alert, protect and surprise” – enabling every brand to design a consumer experience that’s anchored in a brand’s positioning experiences into the hands of consumers. CTI technology is present today in 55 countries worldwide,  is used by over 200 global packaging converters and includes across all packaging formats – cans, plastic, shrink, paper, film and more


Tony Curcio is the editor of Graphic Arts Magazine.