The steel may be thinner and the opening device may have changed, but a consumer will only be attracted to a drinks can, or indeed any product, if it is attractively packaged. New developments are aimed at broadening the possible range of colours and designs which can be used on all shapes and sizes of steel cans and packaging.
As well as new designs and new ink systems, specially pigmented base coat systems are being developed to allow a wider choice of printing. Market research has also been carried out to determine the best colours to use on steel cans to produce the most striking designs, as some colours look better on aluminium than on steel and vice versa. For example deep red and yellow produced a richer texture on steel, and deep silver was seen as more solid. White coatings appeared cleaner, and deep blues and greens were also effective on steel cans.
Shrink Wrap Sleeves
However, the latest method for decorating cans is also the most flexible. Shrink wrap sleeves have been developed for ordinary drink cans and with this system there are no design limitations due to the metal as the sleeve is applied as a separate system. Up to ten different colours can be used in the one design and excellent print quality can be achieved with half tonal affects. Easy application reduces spoilage, and the sleeves can be simply removed and the can reprocessed should an error occur.
Suitability and Flexibility
The sleeves are recyclable, and can be used on a variety of different shaped cans. They are also ideal for rapid response cans, for situations such as, for example, the final or a sporting event. All of the competitors or competing countries can have a design stored on a disk for using on a drinks can label in the event of them winning, and as soon as the result is known, the victor’s design can be selected, printed to the shrink wrap sleeves, and be adorning cans in a matter of days.
The pictures show the high quality decoration of steel packaging products now possible. The top picture illustrates the capabilities of the shrink wrap sleeves , whilst the bottom picture exhibits some of the designs which can be printed directly onto steel.
Figure 1. Examples of the use of shrink wrap sleeves to decorate cans.