Excellently engineered machinery and innovative container design – that convinced the jury: digital direct container printing with Krones’ DecoType machine won the Beverage Innovation Award 2014 in the “best technology innovation” category.
Digital direct printing on containers and packages in ongoing production offers huge potential for the beverage industry and the household/cosmetics, converters and glass manufacturer market segments, and unlocks innumerable fresh approaches. Compared to dressing containers in labels, direct printing provides significantly enhanced freedom for attractive, individualised design, and is ideally suited for supporting product launches and marketing campaigns. The use of contemporary decors or rapid-response launching of newly developed products enables clients to react swiftly to changes and new trends on their chosen markets.
Increasing demand for individualisation leads to decreasing batch sizes with concomitantly small label runs. Digital direct printing is an ideal (and affordable) replacement. For the design people, digital direct printing likewise provides new options, e.g. haptics and visual appeal can be combined, or uneven surfaces printed on. Furthermore, artwork can be simply and immediately converted into a printed image. And variable data like barcodes or the sell-by date can be easily integrated, all the way through to individual product tracking.
With the DecoType, using UV inks, imprint heights of up to 200 millimetres can be achieved. The machine is a modularised, compactly dimensioned design, suitable for handling empty plastic containers made of PET, PP or PE. These can be either cylindrical or special-shaped bottles. A printing capability for glass and metal containers is currently under development.
Integrated printing units with ink supply and automatic push-button mean simple change-overs. The automated printing-head cleaning process also runs at the touch of a button. The top-up functions run smoothly and dependably, while arc emitters ensure reliable UV-drying.
Digital container decoration using the DecoType also enables container structures to be printed on that hitherto could not be handled with existing labelling technology. The decoration technology, highly flexible thanks to digitisation, avoids any overproduction of labels, no longer requires any label adhesive, and reduces storage costs. Short change-over times can be achieved in actual use.