Printing on Glass Bottles and Containers

Industrial Printing on Glass and Bottle Printing Machine

Leverage Videojet Continuous Inkjet or Laser Technology for printing on glass

Glass bottles and containers remain a popular packaging option due to a number of reasons, including product differentiation and identification of a premium product. In addition, its reuse (returnable bottles) and recyclability make it an environmentally good choice. Glass bottles are popular for a variety of food and beverage products and those that require strong barrier protection.

Videojet offers a broad range of Continuous Inkjet (CIJ) and laser solutions for marking and printing on glass bottles. Pigmented inks are available for high contrast codes on dark colored glass bottles or clear bottles containing dark liquids. A unique ink formulation provides a high quality inkjet code that can also be easily removed for returnable bottle applications. Videojet laser systems deliver high resolution, permanent marks on nearly any type of glass container.


Printing on glass with Continuous Inkjet (CIJ) Printers

Over 340 ink, available for use in Videojet CIJ printers, are designed for both common and unique applications. From inks that penetrate thin layers of condensation and withstand the pasteurization process, to those that offer outstanding adhesion glass, Videojet can help you select the right ink and printer to achieve the ideal contrast, readability and durability of your printed codes while meeting your production needs.

Printing on glass is achievable with CIJ printers like the

Date codes, serial numbers, barcodes, traceability information and more can be printed on glass with high-performance Videojet inks designed for Videojet CIJ printers. Click here to learn how CIJ technology works.

Why choose CIJ technology?

  • Opaque pigmented CIJ inks are formulated to create highly visible codes on dark colored glass and clear bottles containing dark liquids, while resisting the pressure and heat of packaging environments and product-to-product contact during processing. Choose from a range of Videojet pigmented ink colors for use with the Videojet 1710 CIJ printer, ideal for printing on glass
  • Videojet condensation-resistant CIJ inks, such as Videojet V420 and V528 inks, are ideal for printing on glass. These inks can penetrate the condensation layer to adhere to beverage bottles and are durable during pasteurization and refrigeration/ re-cooling
  • Videojet caustic-removable CIJ inks, like Videojet V4220 and V483 are soluble to common 2-3% caustic solutions so bottles can be returned to manufacturers for reuse without a previous code being present. Certain inks can perform as a single-solution for bottlers producing a mix of returnable and non-returnable beverages. Download the whitepaper.
  • Fast dry CIJ inks, including Videojet V4201V4204V4216V4258V4269, are also suitable for printing on glass. These inks incorporate special fast-dry solvents and compatible resin technology necessary when there is little time between each code and when those codes come into contact with typical conveyor components and each other.
  • Codes produced with CIJ retort inks, like Videojet V476 and V521, provide a noticeable color change from one color to another when exposed to heat and moisture during the retort process. This allows processors to determine whether or not a particular item has been properly exposed to the retort process.

Laser Marking solutions for permanent printing on glass

Another solution for printing on glass, laser marking produces permanent high-resolution codes on nearly any color or type of glass. The permanent marks protect codes from being tampered with by unauthorized channels. Moreover, the high quality marks enable clear coding and help instill brand confidence with customers.

Laser marking systems like the Videojet 3640 CO2 laser and Videojet 7810 UV laser produce micro cracks that etch into the glass surface to produce serial numbers, internal tracking numbers, and traceability information on clear and colored glass.

When a laser places a code or mark on a plastic surface, it does so by using high heat to melt the plastic material, ablating (removing) part of it and leaving a mark on the surface. By thus altering the surface, the laser leaves a mark more permanent than a printed one that can be altered by being placed on a wet bottle surface, washed away during processing or damaged by abrasion during handling.

When a laser hits the glass, however, the result is completely different: the glass fractures. Natural grains and crystalline structures in the surface, when heated very quickly, will separate a microscopic sized “chip” from the surface as the hot piece expands rapidly relative to its surroundings. In this way, lasers are used to etch or engrave on glass, and if the power, speed and focus are all well controlled, excellent results can be achieved.

Using this process, glass bottles, vials and jars can be marked with lasers to produce serial numbers, internal tracking codes, and alphanumeric traceability information on both clear and colored glass. This is especially important in those processing venues where is a great deal of moisture is present that can dissolve inks or loosen labels, or where product handling can abrade or smear printed codes. The permanent laser etched marks protect codes from being tampered with by unauthorized channels, and the high quality marks that result enable clear coding that helps instill brand confidence among customers.

The glass ablation produced by the laser process produces visual consistency for alphanumeric codes, but cannot be relied on for consistency over the larger areas required for more complex figures such as 2D codes. It is also essential that a system is in place to remove glass chips as they are flaked off, to ensure they do not interfere with the laser beam as it creates subsequent characters.

A good example of how laser glass etching technology has been adopted into an industry norm is the production line. In this particular setup, the laser beam is directed towards a rotating or vibrating mirror. The mirror moves in a manner that traces out numbers and letters onto the surface being marked. This is particularly useful for printing dates, expiry codes, and lot numbering of products traveling along a production line in (for example) a pharmaceutical, food or beverage bottling line. Laser etching allows the glass bottles to be marked “on the move.” The location where the marking takes place is called a “marking laser station,” an entity often found in packaging and bottling plants. The speed of laser etching systems has largely led to them replacing older, slower technologies such as the hot stamping and pad printing of marks on glass as production line speeds have increased.