DATALASE has been awarded funding from Innovate UK for the firm’s label-free plastic bottle project.
The photonic printing solutions specialist said that plastic labels are of ‘equal concern’ to single-use plastic waste such as plastic bottles. It said that its solution aims to present an ‘alternative technology’ that could provide a label-free solution that can decorate and inform, is readily recyclable, and does not contribute to plastic waste.
DataLase’s photonic printing solution uses laser-active chemicals, which are colourless until exposed to laser energy. The business added that the technology potentially offers a bottle decorating process that does not involve labels or inks, contributing zero to plastic waste.
The chemicals can be incorporated at very low concentrations in the first stage of bottle manufacture by mixing them with the other bottle forming components. The bottles can be filled and capped in the normal manner, and by applying a laser pattern of variable design, the laser-active chemicals become coloured, revealing the desired decoration and information; there would, therefore, be no need for plastic labels.
Ally Grant, DataLase’s chief technology officer, said, “To win funding from Innovate UK is a fantastic boost for DataLase, particularly as our unique technology went head-to-head against hundreds of other competitor applications. The funding will allow us to conduct further R&D, develop engineering systems and to continue a truly ground breaking technology that could have enormous impact on plastic waste globally, by eliminating plastic labels.
“All R&D work will be conducted in the UK, including bottle formation, recyclability testing and analysis, and demonstration equipment will be developed to present to brands, universities and others in the supply chain. The funding will also help grow DataLase’s global patent portfolio, and protect this UK-led technology in the field of laser active chemicals and photonic printing.”