DataLase, a specialist in Photonic Printing solutions, has released a new solvent-based range of functional coatings for flexible packaging printers. The development extends the company’s range from flexographic printing to include gravure printing applications.

According to DataLase, the new solvent-based coatings, created for use with CO2 lasers, offer an alternative option to continuous inkjet (CIJ) and laser ablation of variable data coding to deliver high contrast, durable, black-on-white codes across a variety of film and foil substrates.

The solution is a two-step process. First, the printer lays down the DataLase laser-reactive coating as a patch on to a film or foil. This patch can either be surface printed or reverse printed under a barrier laminate layer to provide anti-counterfeit tamper-proof coding. This solution is ideally suited for the demanding pharma industry packaging in particular.

A CO2 laser is installed at the point in the production process where the variable data, e.g. expiry dates, lot codes and/or 2D codes, is to be applied to the product. The patch is activated upon exposure to the CO2 laser beam, printing variable data as required to create highly-legible machine-readable tamper-proof codes that are ideally suited for applications that require 100% product traceability.

Adam Slack, Product Manager at DataLase, said: “DataLase coding and marking solutions go beyond the capability of standard CIJ or laser ablation processes by allowing manufacturers to benefit from increased productivity, superior traceability and the elimination of inks and solvents from their production halls. Typically, changing from a laser ablation process to the DataLase solution can increase throughput by up to 30%, depending on the application. Faster coding of machine-readable black-on-white codes means increased throughput, less servicing and maintenance, and fully compliant product packaging.”

“DataLase coding is extremely robust and durable avoiding smudging and rub off, which can cause annoying rework and waste for brands, as well as the potential of having to scrap an entire batch if the codes are illegible. This is particularly notable in flexible packaging applications, so we see a great opportunity for growth for DataLase in bringing our technology to this sector. We are continuing to invest in new applications and are excited about supporting brands and printers to assess the benefits of the solution.”

DataLase says its laser-reactive coatings work with CO2 lasers from a variety of suppliers, but the coating has been optimised for use with the SATO range of CO2 lasers, available from DataLase, to ensure a robust best-practice procedure when followed throughout the entire supply chain.