Drinktec 2017 features inline, direct digital inkjet printers

By Paul Gander

- Last updated on GMT

Krones will demonstrate direct printing onto PET bottles at Drinktec
Krones will demonstrate direct printing onto PET bottles at Drinktec

Related tags Printing

Major equipment companies are putting their weight behind inline, direct-to-container digital inkjet printing, especially for beverages in polyethylene terephthalate (PET), with systems set to feature at this week’s Drinktec show in Germany.

Krones will have a “highly flexible”​ DecoType 24,000 bottles-per-hour (bph) drop-on-demand digital inkjet machine on its stand at Drinktec (Munich, September 11–15), capable of printing both cylindrical and shaped PET bottles.

The company has a number of systems in the DecoType range, and is due to deliver a 36,000bph machine to a customer by the end of the year.

This unit, which is suitable for cylindrical bottles only, will be installed inline with blowmoulding, according to product manager for digital printing Zsolt Rozsnyai.

‘Maximum of 14 printing units’

“The 24,000bph machine carries a maximum of 14 printing units, each capable of laying down white, cmyk​ [cyan, magenta, yellow and black] and spot colours,”​ he explained. “We have an ultraviolet curing tunnel separate from the machine.”

Rozsnyai added that the inks were specially formulated to be low-migration, and to ensure that they did not interfere with bottle-to-bottle PET recycling.

To date, other installations of DecoType equipment include several lab-scale machines and two compact machines capable of printing around 5,000bph.

Meanwhile, KHS will be focusing on ‘digitisation’ at the show and demonstrating its own digital inkjet equipment, currently for cylindrical PET bottles, from subsidiary NMP.

Supply high-speed rotary modules

Senior sales director at NMP Christoph von Aichinger explained that, although the system running on the stand would be a manual sample-printer, the company is able to supply high-speed rotary modules capable of decorating 12,000, 24,000 or 36,000bph.

“Direct print is installed after the PET bottle blowing and before filling,” ​said von Aichinger. “The carousel can be fitted with additional printheads to increase, say, from 12,000 to 24,000bph, on the same machine with the same footprint.”

Brewer Brouwerij Martens in Belgium has for some time been trialling the NMP system on its own PET bottles. “Because they are applying a Plasmax barrier coating at the blowmoulding phase, they only required 12,000bph print capacity,”​ von Aichinger explained.

Meanwhile, Drinktec 2017 takes place between September 11 and 15 in Munich, Germany.

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