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Returnable glass bottle ink improves reuse

Article-Returnable glass bottle ink improves reuse

Returnable glass bottle ink improves reuse
A more durable ink improves the viability of reusing glass bottles, which offers significant environmental benefits versus recycling.

More durable formulation optimizes the reuse of glass bottles to save significant amounts of energy and resources over and above the benefits of recycling.

A new returnable glass bottle ink to enable the the reuse of bottles in the drinks industry has been introduced by Linx Printing Technologies.

Once the Linx Black bottling ink 1068 has been used for printing batch and date codes and the bottles are returned after use, the ink is removed in the bottle-washing process, enabling new codes to be printed onto them ahead of reuse.

The ability to reuse glass bottles has significant environmental benefits. When glass bottles can be collected and reused, as already happens in the United Kingdom with milk bottles, far fewer bottles need to be manufactured. This saves significant amounts of energy and resources over and above the benefits of recycling. One source reports that when glass bottles are reused, 610 kilograms or 1,345 lb of carbon dioxide are saved for every ton of glass reused.

There appears to be keen interest in such an ink: Linx’s recent consumer research survey wherein essentially 90% of respondents to a U.K. consumer survey were concerned about the impact of soft drink packaging on the environment and would welcome a scheme to enable the reuse of glass drinks bottles. The survey among 100 U.K. consumers was for Linx’s voice of customer research, which is part of the company’s ongoing drinks campaign.

“Consumers are looking for solutions that minimize the impact of drinks packaging on the environment,” says John Tierney, marketing director, Linx. “The opportunity exists for brands to introduce effective solutions for the reuse of bottles. By ensuring the latest coding inks can be removed as part of the process, we are helping to enable the creation of these schemes.”

In addition to demand, the ink’s formulation also addresses the need for more durable codes than those currently achieved by other inks, Tierney tells Packaging Digest.

Available in black only, the ink can be printed on glass in cold-fill bottling and in humid environments. The ink has also been designed to cope with the challenges of providing clear, legible codes for bottled drinks; for example, by resisting removal when subjected to pasteurization, immersed in ice water, stored in a warehouse for long periods, or refrigerated. This reduces the likelihood of drinks companies facing product recalls.

Specifically formulated for use in Linx 8900 series printers, the ink is available globally through Linx’s worldwide distribution network, including the U.S.

“The new ink has been successfully trialed in a range of countries around the world, with much interest in Africa, and is now commercially available globally,” Tierney says.

Printing upgrade, too

In addition to launching the new ink, Linx has upgraded its 8900 series of Continuous Ink Jet (CIJ) printers with new software that is opening it up to more applications and delivering new competitive advantages for beverage customers.

With these enhancements, the Linx 8900 series is now capable of producing faster print speeds—by as much as 33% for one-line, seven drop-high print, now up to 440 meters/min or 1,444 ft/min—to enable higher production output in high-speed bottling applications.

Another benefit is the new prompted dates feature, which facilitates faster, mistake-proof message changes. When a message is selected or updated, the operator simply chooses from a predefined range of dates that are suitable for the product being coded. This means there is no need to manually edit dates, making the process quick and easy, which is especially beneficial where date accuracy is critical.

Also, the upgraded 8900 series’ new field insert option ensures faster message input with fewer mistakes. When part of a message is inserted, edited or deleted, the remaining parts of the message adjust automatically to best present the code.

“The combination of our latest ink technology with innovations in printing with the 8900 makes Linx the perfect partner for beverage customers,” says Tierney. “We’re delighted to be announcing these developments, which underline how we aim to create new products and evolve our existing ones to remain the best answer to every company’s coding needs.”

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