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What is Aqueous Coating for Printing and Packaging?

To make a strong impact on your target audience, it’s essential to have attractive and eye-catching packaging that really stands out.

One key aspect to consider is the coating, which can greatly affect the appearance and quality of your packaging, even with frequent handling.

The coating you choose can be used for a variety of packaging materials, including boxes, calendars, manuals, and more.

AQ (aqueous) coating is a popular choice due to its specific benefits, versatility, and cost-efficiency.


What is Aqueous (AQ) Coating?

Aqueous (AQ) coating is a water-based coating used in printing and packaging.

It is the default coating for these industries, and it has fast-drying properties when used during the printing process, allowing for a range of different appearances and application methods.

AQ coating is environmentally friendly and is used in packaging for food, household products, and fast-moving consumer products.

It is often used to prevent fingerprints and other impurities from affecting the packaging, and it can also enhance surface durability when combined with other coatings.

luxury rigid box

However, the suitability of AQ coating for your product packaging may depend on the type of product, as certain chemicals in products such as cosmetics and perfumes can make it difficult to maintain AQ coating on the exterior or interior of the packaging due to the risk of leaking.


The Different Types of AQ Coatings

There are several types of AQ coatings available, each with their own unique characteristics.

Gloss: Gloss AQ coating is a good choice for a less showy, muted gloss finish, while UV coating or film laminates are better options for a high gloss.

Matte: Matte AQ coating offers minimal shine and depth, but a high degree of color intensity.

Satin: Satin AQ coating has an appearance that falls between gloss and matte and offers medium shine and excellent scuff resistance.

Soft Touch Coating: Soft touch AQ coating creates a velvety texture with a mellow appearance compared to a glossy finish.

Pencil Receptive: Pencil-receptive AQ coating is receptive to pencil, ink, and laser, which is useful for applications where the quality of the pencil/laser/ink marking/imprint is important.

Dry Erase: Dry-erase AQ coating is an alternative to laminate and achieves a high gloss effect, and it is an inexpensive solution.


The Aqueous Coating Process

In the aqueous coating process, machines apply the coating immediately before printing ink on sheets.

After the coating is applied, the sheet is passed through a heated air system for quick drying and then sent to the finishing section of the facility.

It’s important to note that AQ coatings are applied to the entire surface of the sheet, rather than just specific areas.

In addition, using the appropriate paper weight and text weight can help prevent the paper from curling, wrinkling, or losing its shape.


The Advantages of Aqueous Coating

The aqueous coating has many benefits, including being non-toxic and environmentally friendly.

The treated paper is easily recyclable and does not produce harmful by-products, and there is minimal solid waste after the coating is applied. The cleaning process does not require toxic cleaning agents.

AQ coating is also versatile and a hassle-free solution for additional finishing on prints, and it works well with various printing processes. It is easy to write and print over the coating, providing more variety in finishes.

In addition, AQ coating is cost-effective as it is mostly used in line with the printing process, resulting in significant cost savings. It is also durable and long-lasting, as it seals the ink against exposure to air and maintains the fidelity of metallic inks. It is also less prone to yellowing compared to varnish.

However, it is worth noting that AQ coating and UV coating have a higher chance of chemical burning than other finishes such as varnish, and the solvent resistance of AQ coating is lower than that of UV coating and thermal lamination. Despite these limitations, AQ coating is still the most popular choice for print finish options due to its reliable and excellent results.

If you want to learn more about your coating options for packaging, contact our product specialists for expert advice on finishing and printing options tailored to your product.


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