Datalase is close to installation of its first photonic printing line – the no contact print technology that was introduced at the last Drupa.
The UK company showed a technology where a laser instigates a phase change in a coating, changing it from clear to black for date information, batch numbers or for promotional messaging. At the show the business model was to partner with the likes of Xerox and Ricoh for implementation of the technology and with ink makers for the coating two be applied as a flex or litho inks.
However, the company was acquired by Sato, providing the resources for the company to change strategy and offer the market a complete package of laser, software and coatings under its own name. “The first products will come to market in 2019 and 2020,” says sales and marketing officer Mark Naples. “The proposition is about driving consumer engagement.”
The initial versions were limited in size and speed of writing with the laser. These limitations have been overcome for the versions that will achieve commercialisation. “We are seeing lots of interest from the shelf ready market,” he adds, “where labels can be misplaced over the perforations that can damage the box when opened. This solution overcomes that, and because most self adhesive labels are not recyclable, we address that issue also. This solution eliminates waste and is sustainable.”
The first application will be as part of a Sidel bottling line, which will help reduce the number of Skus that need to be sorted through labels. The Datalase photonics approach will apply mandatory information or foreign language versions. It will also increase productivity through reducing changeovers.
A second application, currently in prototype form, is to personalise a coffee cup in store. The unit will print a marketing message, personalised salutation, or offer on the side of a cup in a few seconds, opening the way for brands to communicate with customers and encourage the use of an app to engage with the consumer.
The first implementation will be using black only. Other single colours are under development and further into the future, four colour process. Naples adds: “We have solutions, but these are still working on delivering that in a way that is commercially viable.”
Datalase is on the point of installing its photonics print technology on a bottling line and has developed a device for personalising the outside of a coffee cup. It is a change of approach for the company that burst on the scene at Drupa.