The beverage industry has experience using a number of different packaging materials for their products, including glass, plastic, card and paper. This variety of substrates means that they have to take into consideration many different options when applying codes to their products.
Coding technology can help, future-proofing bottling lines using a range of accessories to ensure that whatever substrate they are coding on and however they are doing it, bottlers get the highest quality codes that they need to satisfy their customers. When coding onto glass, many of the bigger bottling lines might choose to use laser marking machines, as they are reliable and have little in the way of ongoing costs.
New Packaging Materials & Their Challenges
However, with new technology developing that means bottles can be created out of paper, thanks to innovators like GreenBottle, laser coders may cease to be as effective. To ensure that high quality coding and marking is retained, Continuous Ink Jet printers might need to be employed to deliver a variety of reliable and effective product codes. This is the same with 3D plastic printed bottles, something that may deliver a revolution to the industry in the future.
One curious invention over the course of the last few years is edible glass by WikiCells (now wikipearl). This would almost certainly represent a challenge to bottlers, as substrates that were previously not determined to be food grade will become so. For those using laser coding machinery, this might not be much of an issue, but to smaller CIJ production lines this could require a fundamental change in set up.
Solvents that are often used in Continuous Ink Jet printers will no longer be able to be used in a food grade setup, and any contamination with non-food grade inks will need to be eradicated. As a result, something like the Linx 7900 FG designed specifically for coding directly onto food products, would need to be installed to ensure that regulations are met.
Luckily, as bottling lines are often wet environments bottlers may well already use printers with IP washdown ratings. This ensures that they can be fully cleaned of any contaminants once the shift has ended, removing anything that might become harmful if it were to come into contact with edible products.
Whatever packaging material you may need to code on in future, before we even consider the revolution in packaging offered by 3D printers, you can be sure that there is the coding technology available to help you achieve high quality and effective product marking for products in the beverage industry.