A pioneering technology now enters series production: at the last drinktec Krones exhibited a prototype of the DecoType family, and meanwhile the digital direct printing machine has attained product maturity. At this year’s fair, the DecoType Select will now be demonstrating what it can do – and that’s quite a lot.
The DecoType Select stands out from other machines on the market primarily in terms of its versatility: for example, it prints on both special-shaped and cylindrical containers made of PET, HDPE and glass; capabilities for handling metal containers and other plastics like PP are currently under preparation.
More scope for creative packaging design
In contrast to traditional labels, moreover, direct printing can also be applied selectively to grooved and relief structures. This opens up entirely new opportunities for consumer products, to differentiate them distinctively from the mass of competing articles – e.g. by creating astonishing 3D effects on their packaging or simulating the look of different materials.
At the same time, the print height of up to 205 millimetres still leaves sufficient space for accommodating not only elaborate designs, but also detailed textual information on the packaging.
Newly developed printing ink meets hygiene and recycling stipulations
As with the machinery itself, Krones deployed maximised energy and expertise in developing the printing ink: in conjunction with external partners, the group has created an ink composition that has been confirmed as recyclable in laboratory tests and also meets the hygiene standards of the packaging industry.
When it came to the colour space, the R&D people at Krones opted for the established CMYK model. As a widely used printing standard, it already covers a very broad spectrum of colours. If a client wants to have corporate or brand colours above and beyond these, the colour space can be extended to the hexachrome model, or alternatively special inks can be used. The associated printing heads operate using the drop-on-demand principle, where each drop of ink is not created until immediately before it is actually used – a method that marks the very latest state of the art.
Easy kick-off with a new technology
Even though digital printing is already on the advance worldwide – in the food and beverage sectors it has yet to achieve a major breakthrough. To make it as easy as possible for clients to get started with this new technology, Krones sets up on site not only the machinery involved, but also the entire workflow. For the clients and their staff, this means they can utilise the options provided by direct printing immediately after commissioning – at the touch of a button and in all the system’s multifaceted versatility.