Plastic Bottle Printing

Written by Patricia Tunstall
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Plastic bottle printing can be accomplished by large character or small character inkjet systems, depending on the type of coding and marking needed. Continuous inkjet (CIJ) is a non-contact form of printing that is versatile in that it can print on almost any material regardless of size, shape, or texture. Ink is forced continuously through a nozzle, and this stream is then broken into fine droplets at the rate of up to 120,000 a second.

This type of printing is just one of many used to imprint codes and text on plastic bottles and containers. Roller coders are a simple kind of marking tool that comes in a hand or line version. They are also versatile, as they handle porous and non-porous materials, and can be set for indexing for spot printing, or non-indexing for continuous printing of text, logos, or other art.

Other Methods of Plastic Bottle Printing

Silk screening is the most common form of decoration in the packaging industry. It is quite satisfactory for use with one or two colors, but more than that becomes expensive. For multiple colors, consider labels, a heat transfer process, or inkjet printing systems. Compared to inkjet printing, however, this is a cumbersome process in which the bottle to be imprinted must be turned at exactly the right speed to accept the screen, and the bottles must be placed in huge dryers for a specified time at a specified temperature.

Hot stamping is a possibility for plastic bottle printing. Metal foil is literally melted onto a bottle and leaves a metallic impression of a logo or artwork. Label printing is a possibility, and it is probably as popular as silk screening. If multiple colors are needed, labels are definitely better for plastic bottle printing than silk screening.

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