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27 January, 2021 - 21:10 By Tony Quested

Cheers! Xaar technology transforms Beck’s beer bottle designs

Becks beer bottles new 2021

Cambridge inkjet technology trailblazer Xaar has revolutionised the look of Beck’s beer bottles. More than 200,000 special edition bottles were produced for the UK market deploying Xaar’s 1003 printheads.

Each bottle was printed directly with one of nine different 360-degree designs, replacing the need for a label. This significantly reduced the amount of packaging materials required, as well as minimising turnaround time, with designs being seen on shelf just weeks after their initial approval.

The innovation was a collaboration between the world’s largest brewer, AB-InBev, and leading digital decoration printing company, Dekron, using the DecoType Performance machine with Xaar 1003 printheads to decorate each bottle before filling and sealing.

“We worked closely with Xaar to develop this innovative direct-to-container printing application for Beck’s,” said Zsolt Rozsnyai, product manager for decoration at Dekron. 

“Xaar’s UV inkjet technology allowed us to combine effects to both maximise the print impact on the beer bottles and significantly reduce the time taken from design to the retail shelf.”

The DecoType Performance at AB-InBev uses the Xaar 1003 printheads to deliver exceptionally high-speed rotary printing in full colour, using CMYK with a white and varnish. 

In its full configuration the DecoType Performance uses a total of 288 printheads across 48 print cages, delivering an output of up to 24,000 glass bottles per hour.

As well as providing a high-impact print finish, the capacity to undertake multiple passes and add a varnish enables the simulation of glass embossing effects on bottles. 

This allows completely new design combinations to be envisaged by one machine, with the variable full colour print combining with a tactile finish, saving time and money by avoiding the need for labels to integrate with a screen print or embossed bottle.

Xaar’s TF Technology, supported by the development of a specific Waveform, was critical in ensuring the jetting was able to meet the demands of this challenging application. 

By enabling the ink to flow directly past the back of the nozzle during drop ejection, even at very high flow rates, the printheads are continuously primed, and with the ink in constant motion, this prevents sedimentation and nozzle blocking, particularly with heavily pigmented inks.

The 200,000 custom printed Beck’s bottles, comprised nine different designs, with each being printed at AB-InBev’s Tattoo Alpha site in Belgium. The bottles were then filled and sold in the UK through the country’s second largest supermarket chain, Sainsburys.

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