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Laser printing on coated cartons and cases eliminates labels

Laser printing on coated cartons and cases eliminates labels
Videojet revealed its Reveel system for inline laser coding onto corrugated.

DataLase technology is gaining traction as an efficient way to laser-code cartons and cases while eliminating the need for print-and-apply-labels.

From a readability and contrast perspective, a brown kraft paper corrugated case is a tough substrate for legible printing without a white label to provide contrast either for human readable or machine-scannable information. However, technology from DataLase purports to solve that problem by providing a water-based solution to select surface areas of the substrate to be laser coded that increases readbility and scannability. It was apparent during Pack Expo in Las Vegas in late September that several vendors have upped the ante as the specialized coding technique gains traction.

We caught up with two of the vendors during the show. One of those was 3C! Printed Packaging Solutions, which provides cartons, inserts, labels, flexible packaging and blisters for customers especially in pharmaceutical and healthcare packaging markets. The company had  a demo line that was laser coding onto small cartons using  a new and improved DataLase formula for its branded application called Clear Code (see New Clear Code gets rid of the ‘ugly black box’). An entire corrugated blank can be coated or just the small portion of a carton that will be laser coded. The technique boasts no fumes, no waste and minimal power usage.

“Three to four companies, all contract packagers, are testing Clear Code,” said 3C’s Joey Rae Elphick.

Laser, substrate vendors collaborate

Videojet Technologies and International Paper announced a collaboration to promote Reveel, a new on-demand, “on box” laser imaging technology. Designed to give manufacturers an alternative to traditional labels and ink based case coding, as well as minimizing changeovers, Reveel is a water-based coating that enables laser imaging directly on corrugate and paperboard. Videojet demoed the technology during Pack Expo.

As boxes and cartons with the pre-applied white or translucent Reveel patch travel on a packaging line, an in-line Videojet CO2 laser marks high resolution bar codes, text and logos in the patch area.

We followed up recently with Peter Lindstrom, Videojet commercial manager about this new option in case coding.

What’s the difference and value in this for customers? How seamless is it to install and use for them?

Lindstrom: The removal of ink and labels from the factory floor and the elimination of related mess and maintenance can yield significant savings to many manufacturers.  Laser accessories, including lenses and beam turning units, help to simplify integration into production lines and maximize the laser’s performance. Lasers that offer a range of mark field and focal distance combinations can allow a broad range of effects from fine to thick line marking.

What are the costs, benefits and justification for customers including potential material and costs savings?

Lindstrom: The costs are often comparable to print and apply labeling. The brand owner may be able to shift the expense from an internal expense to an expense associated with the case supplier. Also, the expense of a labeler failing, causing down time, is taken out of the picture.

What’s the commercial status?

Lindstrom: Our customers use Laser Reactive Marking (LRM) solutions to mark logos, bar codes, and other variable data on corrugate and paperboard cases and cartons. They choose LRM to achieve marks with excellent readability.

Ed. Note: The company was awaiting its first customer test as of mid-November.

Also: SATO Inks announced in October an exclusive sales agreement with DataLase for in conjunction with the formation of a new subsidiary, SpeciaLase Limited, for the marketing of UK-based DataLase’s CO2 laser coding and marking technology.


Interesting in coding and marking? You’ll find more in the many aisles at WestPack 2016, Feb. 9-11, in Anaheim, CA.


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