Digital direct container printing proves to be a magnet for the experts

As always at the drinktec, trade visitors can be sure they will be seeing innovations on the Krones stand that will later on be adopted throughout the sector. Interest is concomitantly keen. Krones’ traditional competence in labelling technology is proving a particular drawing card for the experts. On the very first day of the fair, veritable throngs of people were clustered in the “Labelling” zone. The exhibits showcased here, the DecoType, the ErgoModule and the Ergomatic, are exerting a magnetic attraction on the visitors. Unsurprisingly: the DecoType direct printing system, in particular, for decorating plastic bottles, is an entirely new technology that has been premiered here at the fair.

20130917_drinktec_IP_ST_0039Andreas Kraus, Project Manager R&D, sees initial applications particularly in the health care segment. Krones’ technology is the only exhibit at the entire fair that’s suitable for both round and special-shaped bottles. For instance, structured special-shaped bottles were presented featuring a 3D effect, which could not be dressed at all using conventional labels. This opens up completely new options for the marketing people. Digital direct printing can for health care products replace comparatively cost-intensive pressure-sensitive labels. Speaking of costs: the question of price was of course a primary focus for the visitors. The answer: the crucial factor in direct printing is how much ink is going to be needed. In the no-label look, particularly, large areas are very often transparent, so that here direct printing is an ideal alternative. In the case of containers with low ink coverage, the costs are even below those for pressure-sensitive labels.

201309_drinktec_EXP0603_0016For this purpose, digital direct printing unlocks entirely new options for product decoration. Individuality can be more vividly emphasised, with personalised statements, for example, with printed live pictures, country-specific imprints or QR codes. To quote Andreas Kraus: “The DecoType direct printing system enables its users to plan precise production quantities, which means there’s no wastage and you save by not needing any label inventories. Changing over to a new design is simple, more or less at the touch of a button. And for the first time there’s an option for decorating three-dimensional surfaces, which enables striking design effects to be achieved on the containers concerned. This kind of product is an eye-catcher on the supermarket shelves.”

As regards the output: on show at the fair is a DecoType for plastic containers rated at 12,000 containers an hour. Higher outputs are possible. And development work is currently ongoing for printing on glass bottles.