Welcome to the
Velox Support Center

Please login to continue

Do you want to be notified about Velox News?

Get all updates directly to your mailbox

Sign up

We use cookies to offer you a better browsing experience, analyze site traffic, and assist in our marketing efforts. For more information on the cookies we use and how to delete or block them please read our Terms and Conditions.

Accept and Close

Direct-To-Shape Digital Printing Takes Center Stage in 2024’s Beverage Trends

February 14, 2024

The global Beverage Cans market is tipped for significant growth, with soft drinks sales bubbling over, alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages seeing a rise in premium ready-to-drinks (RTDs) and mixers as the at-home cocktail trend takes hold. New product categories have been introduced ranging from organic energy drinks to CBD drinks, while the influence of Gen Z, whose focus on healthier lifestyles has boosted ‘health and energy’ soft drinks or low alcohol drinks.

With a steady rise in the beverage can market, due to their lightweight and sustainability qualities, there is the opportunity for innovative packaging concepts and contemporary printing technologies to step in. Small to mid-size beverage companies now have unprecedented freedom to create intricate designs and vibrant colors directly printed onto the can surface, as well as provide a more sustainable option.

The craft beverage can market faces several challenges in the scope of printing, as packaging and labelling play a crucial role in branding, consumer appeal and regulations.

Seeking Sustainability

A global push for sustainability has put pressure on the small-mid beverage brands in the industry to adopt eco-friendly packaging and print solutions. This has encouraged companies to shift to aluminium cans and seek for plastic-free decoration methods. Aluminum cans which are branded using direct printing methods, are recyclable within a short time frame, without diminishing in quality, no matter how many times it is recycled.

Dynamic Decoration

As consumer preferences evolve, there is a growing demand for unique and innovative packaging designs. With the craft beverage market booming with over 10,000 brands in North America alone as well as steady growth in the European market, being able to differentiate yourself from competing brands using unique decoration capabilities offer a great advantage.  Meeting these demands require advanced printing technologies capable of intricate designs, high-quality printing, various finishes, and unique capabilities.

Volume Flexibility

Many beverages are produced in high volumes, requiring efficient and fast manufacturing and inline printing processes to keep up with demand. In contrast to this, there is a high number of small-to-medium-size brands that require shorter runs. Balancing speed, quality, and cost-effectiveness for both high and mid-low volume production can be a significant challenge.

Rapid Time to Market

Craft beverage brands opting for smaller to mid-sized batches frequently encounter extended lead times from their packaging suppliers. The duration needed for label or shrink sleeve printing by an external supplier, coupled with the shipping and application process on the cans, results in the necessity to maintain substantial stocks and inventories, leading to a delayed response to market demands.


Crafting the Future: Direct-to-Shape Printing transforms the market

Beverage can decoration has undergone a remarkable evolution. Traditionally, analog printing techniques and lithography enhanced cans with simple graphics. This was followed by paper labels and digital printing on flat surfaces brought more detailed artwork, offering beverage brands the opportunity to do marketing campaigns at smaller scale that required higher printing quality and level of creativity. However, labels brought durability and application challenges. Shrink sleeves and pressure-sensitive labels offered improvements, allowing for diverse designs and better resilience but has their own application challenges as well as supply chain and sustainability concerns.

Today, decorating the aluminum can is a key part of the production process. High speed offset printing machines are connected to the line and print directly to the can. However, this entails using plates, lengthy setup process and having very long job runs of hundreds of thousands.

Due to current market demands – high-quality decoration and unique capabilities, shorter supply times, flexibility, both short and long printing runs, and improved sustainability- Direct-to-Shape digital printing is proving to be a gamechanger.

Velox’s direct-to-shape digital decoration technology offers a breakthrough in can decoration innovation. The Velox IDS-NC™ Series for necked beverage cans provides an unparalleled decoration speed of up to 500 cpm and a high level of operational agility. For example, printing any run length with no minimum quantity required or switching between jobs quickly which allows to shift to printing on demand, speed up time to market and eliminate overproduction. Velox’s solutions offer low total cost of ownership by increasing production capacity with near-zero machine setup time and extremely fast printing speeds, eliminating shrink sleeves or label materials and reducing inventory and storage.

Velox technology provides a photorealistic quality and wide color gamut, unique decoration features like end-to-end decoration on the entire can surface, selective digital matte, gloss and tactile finishes and metallic effects. Small to medium-size brands of craft beer, seltzer, Kombucha and other functional drinks, can benefit from its inherent sustainability by printing direct to can and removing the need for plastic shrink sleeves and labels that significantly save on plastic waste and hinder the aluminum can recycling process.


Beyond Tomorrow: What’s in store for the future of Direct-to-Shape Digital Printing

Looking ahead to 2024, environmentally conscious printing methods will become standard, artificial intelligence may play a larger role in optimizing commercial designs for direct-to-shape applications, leading to more variations and even consumer specific personal taste. The adoption of technological enhancements could lead to quicker decoration speeds and additional capabilities like 3D effects and new inks as florescent or invisible ink, making it an enabler and more competitive with traditional decoration methods. These trends are encouraging, and Velox expects significant opportunities for direct-to-shape digital printing in 2024 and beyond.

Need help or would like to know more about Velox?

Contact Us