Partnering for innovation

Partnering for innovation
Belgian brewery prints on PET bottles with Agfa LM inks and adds augmented reality to support popular TV show.
The Martens brewery in Bocholt (Belgium) is the second biggest brewery in Belgium and an extremely experienced filler of beer in PET bottles. Now in its eighth generation, the company's own house brands constitute approximately 15 per cent of its output, with the remaining 85 per cent attributable to private labels, which are distributed in European countries as well as in China, Japan, Hong Kong and others.
For the most popular TV show on Belgian television, Martens Beer decided to fully exploit the newest print and production technologies available to promote a special flavor of the beer with a story through an interactive campaign. The project became a compelling story of the power of print allied with the digital world, showing how brand owners can fully utilise them to maximise their marketing power through deep engagement with the consumer.
“This interactive promotion campaign could be achieved thanks to innovative changes in the brewery manufacturing site, introducing technologies from different world leading suppliers,” explains Danny Dresselaerts from the Martens brewery. “Bottling beer in PET bottles and printing images of TV show characters directly on the bottle are unique projects as such. And we added augmented reality which enables the characters in the images to talk to the consumer via their smart phones or tablets.”
Beer in PET bottles is becoming increasingly popular for various reasons. Dresselaerts continues: “PET Bottles are 100 per cent recyclable, much lighter to transport and the beer tastes exactly the same as beer in a glass bottle. The direct print technology was developed by the German company KHS, implementing low-migration inks from Agfa. We will add extra TV characters along the promotion campaign so the consumers will experience new stories along the line. This combination of marketing and technology is unique and may well change the way we will package food and drinks in the future. We expect the bottles to be a collectors’ item soon, whether empty or full.”
For Martens brewery PET bottle decoration, NMP Systems, a subsidiary of KHS, combined dedicated low migration UV-curable inks from Agfa Graphics with the first industrial scale Direct Print Powered by KHS technology. The system prints colour images at 1080dpi in four-colour plus white at PET line speeds, creating unprecedented speed-to-market and variable image decoration capability.
In 2014 Agfa Graphics’ low-migration (LM) UV-curable inkjet inks were honoured by essenscia, the Belgian Federation for Chemistry and Life Sciences Industries, with the prestigious bi-annual Innovation Award. They are based on specific chemical formulations, compliant with European guidelines on food package printing. Designed primarily for printing directly on packaging and on labels, blister foils, lids and the like. for food and pharma applications. Agfa Graphics’ LM inks deliver durable solutions and can be customised for specific packaging materials.
One of the featured innovations is the direct digital printing process for PET bottles. This is marketed by NMP Systems GmbH, a wholly-owned subsidiary of KHS GmbH. Direct Print technology leverages co-developed low-migration inks for PET, producing brilliant CMYK + white process decorations on PET bottles. By doing away with labeling material, new or amended designs can be quickly and flexibly adapted to meet market demands. Here, standard labels are a thing of the past, greatly reducing production and transportation costs and saving on natural raw materials. Digitally printed PET bottles are 100 per cent recyclable.
These low-migration inks are based on specific chemical formulations, compliant with European guidelines on food package printing. They are able to deliver durable solutions and can be customised for specific packaging materials.
“As an innovator in the development of industrial UV inkjet, Agfa defines the most practical and efficient methods available for package printing”, said Marc Graindourze, Business Development Manager Industrial Inkjet Inks. “Agfa has worked closely with end users, print head manufacturers and packaging industry experts to launch the low-migration inks.”
Agfa’s research and manufacturing center, located at their Mortsel (Belgium) headquarters, builds on Agfa’s extensive knowledge and expertise in chemistry, colour management and dispersion technology for the development and production of premium-quality inkjet inks. Furthermore, Agfa offers a fully integrated B2B customer approach for developing custom-made inks, fine-tuned to accommodate specific inkjet applications.
Brouwerij Martens, as a family run company, has been brewing beer for 255 years, and it prides itself on this rich tradition. For eight generations, it has made maximum professionalism its trademark, supplying customers with products of excellent quality.
Today, Jan and Fons Martens are the eighth generation of brewers to stand at the helm of this Belgian family run company. The brewery sells more than three million hectolitres of beer every year. Martens Brewery has become a major player in the Belgian and international beer markets. The great majority of production, some 85 per cent, is destined for export and is marketed as own brands, the A brands of our many business partners and the private brands for retail, cash and carry and wholesale.
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