Orora announces direct-to-package digital printing

digitally printed cans from Orora

Beverage packaging supplier Orora has announced it will soon be able to offer direct-to-shape digital printing.

The company yesterday launched Helio by Orora, which it said would provide customised beverage can design and decoration with faster speed to market for new products and promotions.

The digital decoration solution will complement and capitalise on the new multi-size can line investment at Dandenong, signifying a step change to the company’s leadership in can decoration,” the company said in a statement.

Chris Smith, General Manager, Orora Beverage Cans, told Brews News that the initiative saw the company taking its existing in-house innovation and design capabilities, pre-press capabilities, and unifying that with a digital print solution supplied by Isreal-based Velox-digital.

“That first machine is anticipated in the middle of 2024,” he said.

“This is a digital print solution. What Velox have proven here is digital print to rigid packaging, rather than the existing offset process used in can decoration.

“We’re excited about this as we’ve done a lot of work in our current operating processes to become as efficient as we can in reducing run sizes to help craft breweries. What we see this doing is firstly, all of the decoration enhancement to separate the primary pack on shelf and hopefully stimulate trial for our customers brands.

“And then it will enable us to consider shorter runs,” Smith said.

“Conversely, given the unique randomization that digital print provides, it is also just as applicable to a very large scale consumer promotion where you may want to randomize on a great rate.”

Orora isn’t yet able to quantify minimum print runs or costs, though the volumes were described as “substantially less” than current offset printing requirements.

Costing is also not yet available, though is expected to be at a premium to current prices, but with the added value of greater customisation in shorter lead times.

“We are seeing the demand for aluminium cans continue to grow, with particularly exciting developments across a number of categories including craft beer, soft drinks, RTDs and seltzers,” Smith said.

We know that can graphic design and decoration is a critical tool for engaging consumers – with strong in-house can decoration capability, the Helio solution enabled by high-speed, direct-to-shape digital printing, adds even greater value to Orora’s service offering for its customers.”

The Helio technology is expected to be deployed by Orora for customers by the third quarter 2024.

The move follows craft mobile canner, East Coast Canning, which launched ‘Australia-first’ direct-to-can digital printing capabilities following a major grant in July 2021.

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