A UK company is using laser systems to enable packaging personalisation at the latest point in the supply chain.

DataLase, owned by Japan’s Sato Holdings Corporation, uses what Eric Ferguson, sales director, describes as “photonic printing” to personalise packaging at point of fill or point of sale.

“In Photonic Printing, a functional coating containing patented DataLase laser reactive pigment is applied as a patch using traditional print methods, such as flexography or gravure.

“Laser systems positioned at the latest stage of the supply chain, point of fill or point of sale, then activate this coating. The pigment changes upon exposure to the laser light, delivering an inkless, high contrast permanent print,” he said.

The technology is being used in a pilot of the new VAReLase solution, which prints personalised messages onto hot beverage cups at point of sale.

According to marketing manager Laura Rickards, this can be used to engage customers and promote a sustainability message.

“As a member of the Paper Cup Recovery and Recycling Group (PCRRG) we are keen to use our technology to raise awareness and push an agenda of behavioural change with regards to disposable cup recycling. We see this as a hugely effective way to help tackle the problem of recyclability by encouraging positive consumer behaviour, close the recycling loop and create a circular economy for disposable hot drink cups.

“While the technology behind the process is incredibly complex, the delivery is actually remarkably simple – the barista places the cup in the VAReLase system and personalised messages and graphics are inklessly printed directly onto the cup utilising the DataLase laser-reactive colour-change pigment technology.

“This new in-store digital experience will delight consumers and offers a new opportunity to communicate and grow brand loyalty,” she said.

DataLase will exhibit its photonic printing technology in the Seeing is Believing area at the Active and Intelligent Packaging Industry Association’s (AIPIA) World Congress from 18-19 November.

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