PD_Packaging Digest

Packaging Digest, April 2013

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Page 41 of 55

NEW TECHNOLOGY // APRIL 2013 www.PackagingDigest.com 42 A laser focus on packaging Lasers now provide brand owners with DISTINCTIVE DESIGN OPPORTUNITIES through finessing the texture and finish of polymer and glass containers. Rick Lingle, Technical Editor Used for heavy industrial applications and long a favorite of science fiction writers and movie makers over the past decades, Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation (laser) technology is carving out a niche in micromachining molds and in post-molding decoration to alter the look and feel of containers. One of the companies at the forefront of this underutilized package design tool is R&D/Leverage, which unveiled its new Laser Processing capability at Pack Expo 2012 as the company's latest addition to its "idea to mold" holistic approach to package creation around structural brand development and mold manufacturing. Adam Nelson, the company's laser business manager, reports a "tremendous amount of interest" in the technology at the show. Tat interest was split among a visitor base of converters and of brand owners, the latter of whom see the benefit of lasers in creating iconic textures for custom containers. According to Nelson, consumer packaged goods makers can benefit from custom, machine-based textures, structures and surface treatments that go far beyond milling and that have an added ecofriendly appeal. "Our Laser Processing is a truly repeatable process that delivers visual and tactile qualities and grabs consumers at the point of sale," Nelson says. "Our experience tells us that the tactile aspect of a package is as important as the visual cues—the package has to look and feel good in the consumer's hand. "Without using chemicals or complex, timeconsuming mechanical processes, we can now customize organic and non-organic textures to perfectly match the brand requirements of a product," he continues. "Our micro-machining laser-defined texture can machine metal to 0.0005 R&D/LEVERAGE Laser technology is carving out a niche in micro-machining molds (shown) and in post-molding decorating to alter the look and feel of containers. of an inch—eight times smaller than the human hair—and do it as much as five times faster and six times as efficiently as conventional tooling." Examples of organic textures include customdesigned rain drops, wood grain, leather-look, pebble patterns, even fingerprints. Non-organic textures might include geometric shapes, herringbone patterns, plaids and more. "We can literally create a texture from an image BEAUTÉ PRESTIGE INTL. Lasers add a touch of class to glass magenta cyan yellow black In addition to the unique details that lasers can add to a range of products to lift even commodities such as soft drinks, Solev in France uses lasers to take aim at the company's specialty markets in high-end products such as perfumes, cosmetics and spirits. Used for bottle decoration in markets where branding and appearances are of paramount importance, laser cutting has been raised to an art form since 2010. One recent example from Solev is for JPG "Classique" X Collection, Eau de Parfum in 50- and 100-mL glass containers supplied by Solev parent company Pochet du Courval. The bottles were further decorated by Solev including the sharp laser cut of the "dress" portion of the bottle that is highlighted with a special ultra-deep black varnish. JPG is a brand of Beauté Prestige Intl. Precise laser cutting was used to dress up this glass bottle of high-end perfume. of an organic and, for example, generate a maple leaf design with veins for a syrup package," Nelson says. In other words, lasers can do for package design what high definition has done for television. Te technology is applicable to any plasticmolded product whether for a medical, personal care, food or beverage application. Other vendors offer post-mold laser-decorating techniques to customize plastic or glass containers (see "Lasers add a touch of class to glass" at left). "Te idea of widening the design space for brand owners is very exciting as they are constantly pushing their packaging to help differentiate the product in the market," states Nelson. "Te idea is to focus on both the conscious and unconscious needs of the end user. We have found that a visual look through variation of texture is as important as the more traditional idea of uniqueness through shape only. We also believe the tactile feel gives the user a positive experience that they unconsciously desire, but generally have a hard time directly communicating." Te company says that the laser-enhanced design details can be functional for the package as well, for example a unique grip on a container handle that really engages the consumer. ES220904_PD1304_042.pgs 03.27.2013 01:59 UBM

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