Everyone’s a winner

Digitalisation supports sustainable packaging thanks to adding value without adding materials or considerable costs. That value takes many
forms, from marketing and consumer engagement to raising awareness of environmental issues. Digital tools that can bring benefits to global beverage brands include laser engraving and a gaming-style recycling app, with plastic packaging manufacturers able to integrate both relatively easily and cheaply.
Laser engraving is a design tool to add value to plastic packaging, with the infrared and UV laser capabilities bringing appealing consumer
engagement opportunities right at the start of the design process. The digitalisation element of laser engraving comes from its graphic design
foundation, whereby the right files mean clear designs can be engraved on closures.
Andzejus Buinovskis, design engineer at global packaging manufacturer RETAL, developed specific files that highlight the possibility of laser
engraving for integration in the company’s portfolio of HDPE closures, which are widely used by many of the world’s leading beverage brands.
Andzejus says, “I realised the potential for laser engraving on the underside of our closures when I was Retalsent files to create engraving on our closures, but the graphic files were not suited to laser engraving. The files were prepared by a professional graphic designer as they meant to be printed, but they would not translate well in laser engraving and would not have the desired result. I worked on solutions using one or two lasers and with ultraviolet, infrared or both technologies, with my knowledge of the capabilities of the machines married with
my design skills. For example, the laser doesn’t see shapes, but rather outlines; the laser beam follows the perimeter of the shape, so the design needs to be simplified in order to create a clear image. I worked with the creators of the machine to understand in depth what is and is not possible within its existing capabilities, like can we create an infilled area and can we engrave on light, dark and coloured closures.”

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