Orora offers Helio high-speed digital printing on cans

Canmaker Orora Beverage has installed a high-speed digital can printing system supplied by Velox, which it will use to offer a customised beverage can print service.

The new service, called Helio, is being presented as the group invests in expansion in Australia, with a A$30m project to expand end-making capacity in Ballarat, which was completed in March 2023, an A$80 million investment in a multi-size canmaking line in Dandenong, which was completed in June 2023, and a further $85m canmaking line which is expected to be completed in the first quarter of 2025 in Revesby, New South Wales.

The Dandenong plant will house the first digital printer to offer Helio, which is being marketed as offering “every colour, shade, gradient and fine resolution imaginable”. It is expected to be ready by the third quarter of 2024.

Israel-based Velox has been working with canmakers including Crown for about three years, with a system capable of running at up to 500 cans per minute with up to 14 colours.

General manager Chris Smith said: “The new digital printing technology’s advanced capabilities will enhance [our] offering, providing the benefit of quick turnaround from design to delivery, with the lead time required of printing plates eliminated. In addition, the Velox technology will provide greater operational flexibility, catering to smaller minimum quantities and reduced inventory overproduction.

Smith said the canmaker, which has been using industry-standard high-speed offset decoration, had been assessing direct-to-shape digital decoration technology for cans “for some time”. He said the new process would reduce waiting times for a specific can size or label design for activities including promotions, new products or limited editions.

“With no label set-up required and near-immediate supply, shorter, faster minimum runs can be accommodated, providing greater flexibility in product and campaign planning,” he said.

Smith said demand for aluminium cans was growing, particularly in craft beer, soft drinks, RTDs and seltzers. He added: “We know that can graphic design and decoration is a critical tool for engaging consumers – with strong in-house can decoration capability, the Helio solution enabled by high-speed, direct-to-shape digital printing, adds even greater value to Orora’s service offering for its customers.”

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