GERMANY – Krones AG is premiering a direct printing system for printing on plastic bottles during an ongoing production operation, offering huge potential for both the beverage industry and the market segments of household/cosmetics, converters and glass manufacturers, and opening up an abundance of new options.
Compared to dressing containers in labels, direct printing of containers offers significantly more scope for individualised, attractive design of the containers, and is ideally suited for supporting marketing campaigns and product launches. The use of updated decors or short-notice launches of newly developed products enables the client to react swiftly to changes and emergent trends on the market.
Increasingly frequent requests for individualisation lead to smaller batch sizes, with concomitantly small label print runs, whereas with digital direct printing these can be replaced with significantly enhanced affordability. Digital direct printing also creates new options for the design people, haptics can be married to optics, for instance, or you can print on uneven surfaces.
A picture template can be transformed simply and immediately into a printed image. In addition, variable data like barcodes or best-before dates can also be easily integrated without any problems, all the way through to individual-product tracking.
With the new DecoType direct printing system from Krones, print heights of up to 200 millimetres can be achieved using UV inks. In modularised, compact construction, the machine is suitable for empty plastic containers made of PET, PP or PE, either cylindrical or special-shaped.
Integrated printing units with ink supply and automatic pushbutton adjustment facilitate change-overs. In addition, the pushbutton-controlled cleaning process has been automated. Ink top-ups function flawlessly, while arc emitters ensure reliable UV-drying of the printed containers.
Digital container decoration using DecoType also enables clients to print on container structures that hitherto could not be reached using current labelling methods. The high flexibility provided by the digital technology involved avoids overproduction of labels, no longer requires any label adhesive, and reduces storage costs. In actual use, fast change-overs can be achieved. By launching the DecoType, Krones has expanded its product portfolio for container dress to include an entirely new decoration variant.
The German packaging and bottling machine manufacturer says it is also planning a DecoType application for glass containers.