Every day millions of individual packaged drinks are bought and sold – and many of them carry codes printed by a LEIBINGER printer. Want to know more about why beverage marking matters, and how to do it effectively? With years of experience in beverage marking, we have the answers to your questions.
What is beverage marking?
Quite simply, it is the process of applying codes or marks to a beverage product. These usually appear as a line of numbers and letters printed on the surface of the container.
Why is beverage marking so important?
Beverage companies use batch codes or lot codes to help traceability throughout the market supply chain, while production dates are also marked onto containers to show proof of freshness. Producers also benefit from both overt and covert marking in order to combat counterfeiting and protect their brands. To prove authenticity, drinks companies may also print other information onto beverage products: for example a QR code that links to official websites.
A food or beverage product may also need to carry nutritional information for public health reasons. This may mean printing the amount of calories or fat present in foods such as a box of chocolates or a can of soda, to assist customers in making the right choices.
What technologies are used for marking food and beverage products?
One of the most popular methods for beverage marking is continuous inkjet printing (CIJ). Able to print contactless on surfaces with distances up to 30mm from the print head, it can handle all materials and packaging of any shape, making it a fast and flexible option for marking almost any kind of beverage container.
What kinds of beverage products can you print onto?
LEIBINGER beverage marking solutions are based on continuous inkjet technology, and can therefore be adapted to the specific needs of any beverage marketer or producer. Our marking solutions are used for almost all packaging formats in all beverage categories:
- Aluminum cans and tins
- Glass bottles
- Plastic bottles
- Multipacks and shinkwraps
- Drink sleeves and outer packaging
- Drink cartons
What are the key coding and marking challenges faced by the beverage industry?
The production and distribution of beverages is a high-speed, high-pressure process. Producers need to be aware of the key challenges and how to solve them in order to maintain quality and productivity.
How to keep the production line rolling
Downtime is the enemy of the drinks producer. Those high speed lines need to keep rolling, so you cannot afford to use marking solutions that need constant attention and cleaning. Using quick-drying inks helps to prevent smudging. But those inks can also dry out on the print nozzle – creating blockages, which means cleaning, which means downtime.
LEIBINGER's Sealtronic is a unique and innovative way to optimize operational efficiency. Because it keeps the ink flowing - it therefore stops it drying out. If there is a pause in production – for example to change the type of product being printed - the printing mechanism simply closes up preventing access to the air. When the production line is ready to roll again, the LEIBINGER printer is ready to start printing once more.
How to withstand difficult environments
One major challenge facing the beverage industry is the need to observe hygiene requirements. Beverage marking printers must – like all components of the production line – be able to withstand thorough washing. The LEIBINGER JET3up PRO is IP65-compliant waterproof, ensuring that it can withstand the difficult conditions.
Moisture also presents difficulties in the form of condensation on plastic bottles or aluminum cans. This can impair printing for some marking solutions. However, our high-adhesion marking inks remove the problem by printing clearly despite the presence of moisture.
How to support operating staff
To maintain high speed production lines, you need highly efficient staff. This is why LEIBINGER coding solutions have been designed to be easy to use. All our marking equipment is controlled via intuitive 'WYSIWYG' software, that enables staff to control the final printed output precisely.
It also means that changeovers between one batch of products and the next – where different lot codes are needed – can be fast and accurate.
How to integrate coding solutions into the production line
Printing onto beverage packaging or bottles as they are conveyed at high speeds requires coding solutions that are not only fast and accurate. They also often have to fit into small areas. We have created a range of accessories that enable you to integrate our equipment exactly where you need it on the production line.
Printing from above, printing from below, LEIBINGER solutions are highly flexible and fit in with the way you want to work.
How to achieve maximum legibility
Continuous inkjet marking places clear, easily legible codes onto beverage products of all kinds. But this can be particularly challenging for consumers to read against dark surfaces.
One way to address this challenge is to use pigmented inks, which show up against such backgrounds. LEIBINGER printers such as the the JET3up PI are specially designed to work with pigment based inks. It uses a unique agitation system to keep the pigmented ink circulating, thus ensuring print quality.
The need for legibility is even greater when printing in small areas, such as onto bottle caps or plastic closures. A specialist small character printer – such as the JET3up MI – provides finer printing with a 35µm nozzle, marking characters with a font height as small as 0.7mm.
Why does the beverage industry choose LEIBINGER?
We have decades of experience serving beverage marketers in almost every country of the world. This means that we understand your needs for both reliable equipment, industry expertise and attentive service.
All LEIBINGER coding solutions are manufactured in our Tuttlingen, Germany factory, where we can oversee quality. Our global network ensures that your business receives excellent service, whichever country you are based in. By combining quality at all levels, we give you confidence that the coding process will work efficiently, and that every consumer gets the right experience from your brand.
Beverage marking with LEIBINGER
IQJET - the intelligent coding solution
IQJET is the first intelligent coding system to mark bottles and beverages. Ideal for glass bottles, PET bottles, white and colored glass, aluminium cans, beverage cartons and much more. Benefit from 5 years without maintenance.