Speeding up can decorating
This week, we heard about Crown and Velox who have come together to launch the “fastest” digital beverage can decorator and deliver “market firsts” for production speeds, design capabilities and flexibility for beverage brands.
Crown Holdings announced the collaboration with Velox Ltd, a developer and manufacturer of direct-to-shape digital decoration solutions, to provide beverage brands with “game-changing” digital decoration technology for both straight wall and necked aluminium cans.
The companies have combined their expertise for major brands wanting to increase product offerings, as well as smaller producers taking advantage of the benefits of fully recyclable beverage cans.
They say the technology and solution create greater brand design options with running speeds over five times faster than existing digital solutions and proprietary features, including the ability to print up to 14 simultaneous colours and embellishments such as gloss, matte and embossing on nearly the entire surface area of the can.
Crown and Velox have recognised a growing global demand from beverage brands for more innovative digital decoration solutions. Brands can now take advantage of the technology and solutions’ benefits, particularly execution of lower production volumes that do not meet the constraints of traditional printing, such as small-batch varieties, short-run seasonal and promotional products or multipacks containing a variety of SKUs.
The Velox technology and solutions also provide a photorealistic quality and wider colour gamut for graphics, the ability to quickly produce an accurate print proof of a package and, in the case of smaller brands, improved sustainability over traditional plastic shrink wrap and labels that significantly hinder the aluminium can recycling process.
Dan Abramowicz, executive vice president, Technology and Regulatory Affairs at Crown, said: “Beverage producers continue to select aluminium cans for consumer convenience, long shelf-lives, infinite recyclability and 360-degree shelf appeal.”
“The high-speed, dynamic solution we are debuting with Velox makes these benefits more accessible to brands of all sizes and across multiple product categories. From speed to quality to design features, the technology truly pushes the limits of digital printing for beverage cans, and we look forward to introducing this exciting innovation to our partners around the world.”
As a speaker at the 2021 IMDPA Conference in Oak Brook, IL, Abramowicz presented about the commercialisation of digital decoration solutions for both straight wall and necked two-piece beverage cans and introduced the collaboration.
Unique to the technology and solution is a running speed of up to 500 cans per minute, a rate significantly higher than previous limits of 90 cans per minute for comparable-quality digitally printed beverage cans. The technology also prints effectively onto the can surface with or without a white basecoat, streamlining production and allowing the use of translucent inks and/or the metal substrate to shine through graphics when desired. Additionally, it enables printing of images – for the first time – on both the can neck and chime, increasing branding real estate and consumer appeal.
“Never before has the beverage market realized the speeds or design capabilities our direct-to-shape digital decoration solution now delivers for metal beverage cans,” said Marian Cofler, CEO and co-founder at Velox. “The great collaboration with Crown over recent years allows us to bring our vision to reality and support can manufacturers, fillers and brands seeking greater differentiation for their customers. The revolutionary technology will move the needle for the industry and redefine what is possible in beverage packaging design and production.”
Leveraging multidisciplinary technical capabilities and digital printing expertise of the R&D hub of Velox’s Israel headquarters, with Crown’s global command of graphic design, metal forming technology, can manufacturing processes and longstanding history in metal packaging innovation, the development for the digital printing machine is already complete. Commercial can production utilising the technology is anticipated within 2022, following ongoing pilot testing in Crown’s global R&D Centre in Wantage, UK.