Glass packaging manufacturer O-I has extended its Expressions decoration technique to include variable data capability.

O-I Expressions is an inkjet-enabled glass decoration technique that allows late-stage design to be introduced with a range of colour and design possibilities, creating customised and personalised glass packaging at claimed ‘flexible volume, industrial speeds and affordable value’. Krones’ Dekron digital printing technology enables this capability, using a CMYK+W inkset. Expressions Relief achieves 3D embossed effects on straight-walled  glass surfaces.  

O-I: Expressions Signature at London Packaging Week 2023

Sample bottles decorated using O-I: Expressions Signature were showcased at London Packaging Week 2023

Expressions Signature takes these capabilities a step further, allowing various elements of a glass bottle’s design to varied during the same print run. This includes changing the graphic on the bottle, changing the colours within the graphic design, changing a name or word on the bottle, using different customised tactile digitally printed effects, and adding serialisation such as applying a sequential number for limited editions or an individual fixed code (QR or 2D datamatrix).

Sample bottles decorated using O-I: Expressions Signature were showcased at London Packaging Week 2023, featuring prints of six different cities – London, Paris, Milano, Barcelona, New York and Tokyo; each was printed in different colours with the city name embossed vertically using transparent relief printing. The bottles all featured unique QR codes.

O-I has collaborated with its technology partners to overcome a range of technical challenges. These include ensuring the accuracy of reading the customer’s data, minimising time delay in the print cycle, inspecting variably printed bottles and data protection.

Melianthe Leeman, global marketing director, wines and spirits at O-I, said, ‘This is an exciting time to be in glass manufacture as the industry is developing more attractive and sustainable packaging at speed. We see great opportunities for O-I: Expressions Signature, not just for premium and luxury special editions but also for global brands who can make one run of a common bottle shape then create culturally appropriate designs for different markets within the same print run.’