Unprecedented moisture-sensitive, color-changing inks for woven, non-woven, packaging and other surfaces.

A suite of patents and surrounding know-how from Kimberly-Clark for durable, non-leaching inks that change color in the presence of liquid moisture and high humidity offers unprecedented ability to print detailed color-changing patterns.

The inks are printable by conventional flexo/gravure methods – even 4-color process – on woven, non-woven, papers, and solid surfaces.

If a company is using a hot-melt color-change indicator today, the Kimberly-Clark inks produce crisper, high-fidelity images with fewer steps, and using conventional printing equipment. Inks are non-tacky when applied to polymeric substrates.

In addition to the conventional change from yellow to blue, the inks can change from colorless to a variety of different colors, and from a color to colorless.

Multiple colors can be registered and overlaid, exactly as with any other multi-color printing process.

The inks originally were developed for use in personal care products such as diapers, but they are applicable to any situation where it is useful to easily add a liquid- and moisture-sensing color-change capability to a surface.

When exposed to liquid, the color change is instantaneous; with water vapor, the color change takes longer – a function of exposure time and humidity. Applications include packaging, electronics enclosures, construction, and garments.

Benefits Summary:

  • Changes color on exposure to water – yellow/blue,non-color to color,color-to-non-color.
  • Produces crisper, higher-fidelity images and characters than any hot-melt material.
  • Printable using conventional flex
  • Gravure equipment, including 4-color process.
  • About the same cost as hot-melt color-change material.
  • Safe for skin contact.
  • Non-tacky.

Development Summary:
Color-change (yellow-blue) inks are commercialized in Asia. Other embodiments have not been commercialized yet.

IP Summary:
This technology is supported by 6 US patents.

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