‘Digital direct printing has a bright beverage future, when ink prices fall’: Krones

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Krones explains that digital direct printing removes the need for labels and unlocks limitless bespoke bottle design opportunities, but admits ink costs are now a barrier to beverage uptake.

Chatting with editor Ben Bouckley at Interpack 2014, Josef Deglmann, sales director, key account non-beverage at Krones explains how the Neutraubling, Germany company’s digital direct printing (DDP) technology (DecoType) works.

The technology, launched by Krones last month, allows brands to convert a picture template into a printed image, with integration of barcodes, best before dates or individual product tracking data.

Deco Type talks to a clear trend, with beverage brands increasingly keen on short-run, bespoke bottle designs: DDP offers real shelf standout and cuts out the need for changeovers, labels and adhesives and their storage burden.

‘Price is still an issue on the beverage’s very price driven’

But although Deglmann (pictured) sees promise for the technology as an alternative to labels he admits that price is currently a barrier to beverage uptake, which implies that Deco Type will eventually debut with a premium beverage brand.

“We have the focus on beverage, but the focus we have on non-beverage at this show is more of a marketing issue – you have a lot of scope here for artwork, for decoration, the price is also still an issue on the beverage side, since it’s very price-driven,” Deglmann tells us at Interpack 2014.

“There is a future in beverages – when ink prices come down, which in terms of total cost of ownership is the main driver, then interest will grow,” he says.

“We also have to consider the speed of the machines, which are still very low. But we’re convinced that in the future other print head technology will be available with higher speeds, then it becomes more interesting for beverages, with higher speed lines,” Deglmann adds.

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