Direct Print is the first industrial-scale, digital printing process with low-migration LED UV-cured inks to provide a food-safe decoration solution for PET bottles.
Martin Schach, leader of the Direct Print Powered by KHS technology team stated that ‘the Direct Print industrial scale digital printing technology for PET bottles is the result of ten years’ investment in disruptive innovation by KHS, with many close technical partnerships from the world of high-tech digital printing, combined with highest precision design and manufacturing, resulting in more than a hundred and fifty patent applications along the way.’
The cloud-based Direct Print software platform links a headquarters-based sample printer for 1-to-1 proofing and artworks design approvals, linked via the cloud with the workflow of the production site based Direct Print industrial printer. The industrial scale Direct Print equipment is capable of printing variable, high quality images on each bottle in PET filling and packaging lines running at 12,000 / 24,000 / 36,000 bottles/hour. The Direct Print technology platform will enable beverage companies to change graphics and individualize decorations within minutes instead of weeks, bringing a new medium for consumer engagement into the increasingly digital world of packaging. Over time, Direct Print will eliminate labels altogether, thus reducing materials, carbon footprint and time-consuming changeovers on higher flexibility filling and packaging lines.
Moving to market
MARTENS Brewery based in Belgium implemented the first Direct Print industrial prototype, which will soon be replaced with the next generation Direct Print industrial system with several additional technical features, variable image capability and higher quality final images.
Several other beverage brand owners are exploring the possibility to become early Direct Print implementers able to leverage this disruptive brand engagement packaging technology.
Phil Johnson, managing director of NMP Systems which commercializes the Direct Print solution, states that ‘receiving this exciting award for printing technology from the drupa and EDP organizations is especially gratifying for a technology solution which has been designed expressly for the Filling and Packaging world.’