by Ana Catarina MOORE
Monday, March 25, 2024

A taste for change: an overview of key beverage industry trends and the use of laser and CIJ coding technology

Product packaging and coding is a critical element for all beverage producers, whether large or small. From building and maintaining consumer loyalty in a crowded market to following stringent regulatory requirements – and protecting consumer health and wellbeing - beverage companies are continually challenged to ensure that their approach to product coding aligns with the shifting demands of the sector and evolving business priorities.

There are numerous considerations when it comes choosing the right coding technology, including running costs versus upfront investment, speed of production, printing complexity and sustainability.

Amidst these challenges, Markem-Imaje has been supporting customers worldwide with deep domain expertise in the beverage sector and a range of technologies to address, successfully, a wide gamut of operational considerations.

The role of Markem-Imaje goes beyond providing innovative coding technologies; it extends to supporting regulatory compliance, conducting sample process reviews, and offering advice on the role of marking and coding in Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) strategies.


Benefits of a multi-technology supplier approach

It is always worth beverage suppliers considering a multi-technology supplier approach, wherein a single supplier covers all production line challenges, even if various marking and coding technologies are deployed.

Aside from the tangible benefits in terms of consistency of equipment, software and customer support, economies of scale, simplified invoicing, and reduced administrative burdens across the back office are a useful (and stress reducing!) consequence of working with a singular preferred partner. The advantages extend to maintenance and support, with a unified user interface across all equipment on the production line, minimizing staff training requirements. This streamlined approach also mitigates risks by reducing potential points of failure when integrating various equipment.


Which technology to choose: CIJ or laser?

It can be hard to know whether to opt for CIJ or Laser coding technologies when looking across your production line. Truthfully, there isn’t a “one size fits all” answer and each technology is tremendously helpful for beverage industry manufacturers.

Laser coding is a strong option for applications prioritizing marking permanence and environmental impact. The Markem-Imaje SmartLase C600 and F250 coders, for example, have broad and successful application in the beverage (and other) industries. Laser can be seen as a popular choice as it inherently requires minimal maintenance and does not use consumable products, so can be cost-effective long-term.

Continuous Inkjet CIJ technology is a highly versatile option, thanks to its flexibility and adaptability in difficult process and production lines, such as those in the beverage industry. It has a strong heritage of successful application for beverage producers and is capable of high speeds, offers excellent code visibility, and even the capability to remove codes.

Markem-Imaje has a wide variety of highly effective CIJ inks suited for any application in the beverage industry. These include black solutions that offer high adhesion, water resistance while being washable, as well as contrasted color solutions, including, but not limited to, orange for metal or plastics, yellow for one way glass and white for returnable glass bottles. Additionally, Markem-Imaje has a portfolio of MEK-free inks designed for the beverage sector’s every need and is one of a very few manufacturers to lower volatile organic compound emissions (VOCs) by up to 60% if used with the right printer mode.

Many beverage manufacturers often need both types of coders within or across their factories, creating additional costs so there is an economies of scale benefit from partnering with a multi-technology single supplier. For example, Markem-Imaje has multiple experts advising producers on the best coding solution for them depending on their line volumes, substrate, and the constraints of the application. We also offer the opportunity to use a similar digital interface, such as the Markem-Imaje CoLOS® software suite that integrates perfectly with any CIJ or laser technology, as well as with more than 5,000 manufacturing execution systems (MES) and all common ERPs, like SAP. The software enhances line and data management, traceability, coding verification and multiple other beverage production processes.


Balancing investment vs. running costs

An important decision for beverage manufacturers is the delicate balance between upfront capital investment (CAPEX) and ongoing operating expenses (OPEX). The choice between CIJ and laser coding is not a one-size-fits-all decision but must be tailored to specific application requirements.


Striking the right balance for your beverage operation

Making the decision about which technology to implement across your operation requires some careful weighing up and balancing practical considerations with financial decision making. Markem-Imaje has the experience and expertise to support you as a guiding partner from the initial decision, throughout the entire procurement and production journey.

Whether it's CIJ or laser, picking a solution capable of both boosting production efficiency and aligning with sustainability objectives is critical. Find out more by downloading our dedicated laser and CIJ beverage industry brochure by filling in your details on the right hand side.

Download the laser and CIJ beverage industry brochure


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