The Development of a Photopolymer Based Additive Manufacturing Process for Producing a Unique No-label Look Decoration Without a Laminated Face-stock

Anthony Carignano, ACTEGA North America Technologies Inc.

Plastics are used in virtually every shape and form in our daily lives. Polyethylene terephthalate (PET) and high density polyethylene (HDPE) based bottles are used to carry drinks and hold our shampoos. Rigid aluminum and glass containers equally play a vital role in maintaining the shelf-life and safety of consumer products during transport, storage and until ultimately used by the consumer.  All use some sort of primary and secondary labeling system to call attention to the product and inform the consumer of its ingredients.

While prime and secondary labels can vary in size, material and design, they’re very commonly pressure-sensitive labels. Made with an adhesive backing, pressure-sensitive labels stick to a variety of packaging surfaces while maintaining an appealing appearance. A siliconized carrier film made typically from PET is used to support the pressure-sensitive label during its printing process.  Once printed and then shipped to a packaging converter, the pressure-sensitive label is stripped from its liner and transferred to adhere perfectly to plastic bottles, cans, glass bottles as well as countless other common food and beverage packaging containers.

Over the past decade consumer backlash has grown significantly over single use plastic packaging encompassing both flexible and rigid structures and labels. Global brands and retailers are now scrambling to respond. Increasingly aware of the scope of plastic pollution, governments in more than 60 countries have introduced levies and bans to combat single-use plastic waste which can be in the form of primary packaging that is used to protect, preserve, contain and inform the consumer. In many cases primary packaging comes into direct contact with the consumed product itself such as beer, shampoo or cosmetics.

This presentation will review “Crystal” a print and apply technology which utilizes a photopolymer based additive manufacturing process on existing conventional printing assets to produce a unique no-label look decoration without a laminated face-stock on primary packaging. With Crystal, a low-waste, low-cost, premium no-label-look decoration is achievable at an overall much lower impact to the environment. The presentation will go on to describe how Crystal’s unique product and manufacturing process provide:

  • near zero waste to landfill (>95% reduction in waste) for printers/converters,
  • the ability to decorate at lower caliper than extruded films and
  • lower overall inbound raw material costs for printers.

The presentation will then discuss how Crystal competes and differentiates itself from other emerging technologies within the direct-to-shape landscape. Crystal with respect to consumer product safety, label performance, label functionalization and total cost of ownership vis-à-vis conventionally printed inline pressure sensitive labeling will be discussed.