Packaging graphics on trays and bowls are taken to a higher, more colorful level using patent-pending Print & Form technology; this Q&A discloses the materials and other options as well as the potential for U.S. availability.
Print & Form is a new packaging option that provides full-color printing on rigid containers from Discovery Flexibles, Dundee, U.K. The direct print can be on the containers’ interior or exterior or both. We interview Jimmy Urquhart, general manager, who provides the colorful details with updates on this groundbreaking, brand-enhancing technology.
What can you tell us about the availability and any improvements to the technique?
Urquhart: Print & Form has been available for approximately one year and is patent pending. We have recently made some modifications to our process, which has enabled us to ensure excellent draw of materials during the thermoforming process. This has improved the final look of print on the trays.
What options are available?
Urquhart: We can supply any thickness from 400 microns up to 1mm and with up to 9-color print. We can supply APET, RPET, PVC, PP and CPET trays with various linings required for sealing purposes.
What is the print method and how is it applied to the container?
Urquhart: This is gravure print process only; we are highly experienced in rotogravure printing processes with more than 60 years within the flexible packaging industry. Rotogravure printing achieves a far superior print lay down and quality finish.
Print is applied prior to forming. We’d rather not explain the process because it’s part of our patent application.
Is the trend toward inside or outside print? And are any customers doing both?
Urquhart: On print and form, most customers are looking for the outside to be printed as this is the first view the consumer has on the retail shelves. However, we are seeing more and more food producers move toward inside print as well as outside printed trays; it really makes their brand stand out from the crowd and, depending on the design of the graphics, can add value to the brand.
What is the effect of these printed containers in terms of recycling?
Urquhart: The materials used are 100% recyclable.
What can be said about the partnership with Anson?
Urquhart: Both Anson and Discovery Flexibles have unique expertise within their own fields of the manufacturing industry, be it printing, converting and thermoforming. It was a decision that has developed well over the last year, Print & Form trays are printed and processed by Discovery Flexibles and converted to final product by Anson.
What’s the approximate cost premium to standard unprinted containers?
Urquhart: Costs are subject to the types of materials, artwork, the complexity and number of colors within the design. Brand owners using printed trays specific to their brand and product can justify this decision with the knowledge that by doing so they are strengthening their brand visibility and awareness with retailers.
What is the likelihood that Print & Form containers will be available stateside?
Urquhart: As we expand our sales force both internally and externally, we aim to increase our presence in various territories and the U.S. is most definitely a market we will endeavor to pursue.
For more information, visit Discovery Flexibles.