Laser digital converting for food packaging
The change in consumer behavior has augmented the demand for ready-to-use food. This, in turn, has resulted in the demand for different packaging types. The food technology industry has developed along and adapted in concordance with these behavioral changes, offering increasingly advanced food packaging. Consumers no longer want to be confined to plastic bags or containers, but want packaging types that are practical in use, easy to open, and that don’t require the use of additional tools. On top of this, consumers demand packaging types that do not sacrifice the freshness of food, which is a current priority to the ever-demanding consumer of today. The shift in the packaging industry is easily visible by solely walking around in the local supermarket. From ready-to-use salad to instant noodles, packaging has changed. All of this has resulted in the need to make customized packaging.
The challenges of packaging are not trivial. Traditional methods of processing and finishing of cellulose and flexible packaging are less practical in today’s market. The market has shifted from a time where general packaging suited each product, to a market where each product requires its particular packaging type. Due to this shift, traditional packaging processes have become disadvantaged. Traditional packaging involves mechanical machining; tools for cutting, engraving, and imprinting are used for mass production. Due to this, the packaging quantity has to be augmented in order to cover costs. This traditional packaging process limits flexibility and adaptivity, solely serving the mass packaging market.
Today, however, the market is much more segmented and demanding. The winning producer is the one who is able to best adapt to consumer demands and provide real added value to their products. This is a real change of paradigm, made possible by the establishment of digital production processes.
The laser is the protagonist of this change. Laser Technologies have been established in recent years as an indispensable instrument in the processing industry of cellulose and plastic packaging. Agile, accurate, and reliable, the laser is a non-contact process that is based on software control to achieve maximum precision in machining.
Laser technology is incredibly versatile: not only provides it the possibility to perform work in a more efficient way, it also makes it possible to perform tasks that were not previously possible with traditional machining. The laser allows you to personalize packaging in any way preferred. These technologies have opened up new possibilities in the packaging world.
Let’s have a look at some of the possibilities offered by the laser.
Laser engraving consists of engraving a layer of plastic material. This technique is ideal for making packaging with an "easy opening". Easy opening bags are those where the opening is engraved: the consumer only has to pull slightly in order to open the packaging material. This processing would be very difficult to obtain and costly with traditional methods. Thanks to the laser control software it is possible to accurately set the laser parameters to obtain the desired cut depth.
Laser micro perforation
Laser micro perforation involves drilling micro holes in the plastic film. Micro perforation is used in food packaging utilizing controlled atmospheres. Laser micro perforation allows you to obtain holes of any desired size, thus enabling modified atmosphere packaging. The holes are perforated precisely in the preferred size, to ensure correct gas exchange between the inside and outside environment of the packaging, thus extending the durability and freshness of these products. Traditional methods of micro-perforation did not allow this process to be controlled accurately. Thanks to the laser, modified atmosphere packaging has been made possible, guaranteeing an expanded and improved product-lifespan.
Laser cutting is used to cut plastic materials from side to side. The laser cut is suitable for creating very precise details, even when cutting on small surfaces. Holes for filtering, plastic containers with special shapes or openings can be made easily and quickly thanks to laser cutting. Traditional cutting tools do not allow these complex or high precision cuts.
A flexible and easy-to-integrate tool
Laser features have revolutionized the way in which packaging is understood. Thanks to the laser, it is possible to adhere perfectly to customer requirements, providing products with real added value. These characteristics enable producers to tackle the most recent challenges in the industry.
All of this can be reached using minimum effort: to install Laser System El.En. it is not necessary to revolutionize existing lines. Our CO2 laser is compact and easily modulated for all your needs. The laser can be easily inserted into systems and adapted to the existing features. No mechanical system can ever be as fast as the laser. As a matter of fact, inserting a laser into a production line avoids bottlenecks that are often represented during the finishing process.