PET Bottle Coding and Marking: Best Practices for Plastic Packaging

PET Bottle Coding and Marking: Best Practices for Plastic Packaging
June 10, 2024 Macklin Tan
pet bottle

Speaking of plastic packaging, PET bottles are known as one of the most versatile and widely used options. From beverages to storing pharmaceuticals, PET (Polyethylene Terephthalate) bottles have become very common in various industries.

However, ensuring proper coding and marking on these bottles is essential for maintaining product integrity and safety. So, let’s delve into the importance of PET plastic bottle coding and marking and discuss choosing the right technology for your needs.

Importance of PET Bottle Coding and Marking

According to a study by Statista, Polyethylene Terephthalate bottles accounted for 31% of the global packaging mix of beverages in 2020, making them the most widely used packaging type in the beverage industry.

PET is a type of polyester that is formed by combining ethylene glycol and terephthalic acid. It is known for its excellent clarity, strength, and barrier properties. Because it is lightweight, durable, safe, and also recyclable, this material is widely used in the industry.

Whether it’s for drinks or medication packaging, consumers rely on accurate labeling to make informed decisions about their purchases.

Product Traceability

First, coding and marking on every packaging, including bottles, allows manufacturers to trace products throughout the supply chain, ensuring quality control and regulatory compliance.

Consumer Safety

Date codes such as expiration dates and best-before dates printed on a PET bottle are vital for maintaining product quality, taste, and nutritional value, ultimately safeguarding consumers from potential food safety issues.

Brand Identification

Also, proper labeling will help enhance brand visibility and foster consumer trust by providing a consistent and professional image. This is why you can see brand logos, taglines, or additional information printed on the bottles.

Coding Applications for PET Bottles

There are various applications of Polyethylene Terephthalate bottle coding in the industry. However, in general the beverage sector depends heavily on bottle coding to label essential information like batch numbers, expiration dates, and barcodes.

These codes are printed with specific technology to endure temperatures and tough environments, ensuring critical data remains readable throughout the product’s lifespan.

Moreover, selecting the right technology for coding and marking involves understanding the specific information for different types of codes, such as:

  • Expiration dates
  • Best before dates
  • Batch numbers
  • LOT numbers
  • Barcodes
  • 2D codes
  • GS1 data matrix codes
  • EAN codes
  • Logos
  • Texts

Read About: Linx Inkjet Batch Code Printer is Best Compared to China Brand, Here’s Why!

Choosing the Right Coding Technology

Because of the importance of PET bottle coding and marking, selecting the appropriate coding technology is important to ensure efficiency, accuracy, and compliance with industry standards. Here are some tips to help you choose:

  1. Understand the complexity of your code content. Determine if you need additional lines or different orientations, as these factors will affect the machine’s ability to meet your requirements.
  2. Evaluate your substrate requirements. Consider the types of materials and colors you need to code.
  3. Examine your line speed. Ensure your bottle printing solution can keep pace with your production line speed without compromising the output quality.
  4. Check the IP rating. The factory environment can impact performance, so make sure your printer has the appropriate IP rating to function reliably in wet or dusty conditions.
  5. Consider the overall costs. Look beyond the initial purchase price to see if it fits within your budget, and also consider the total cost of ownership, which includes consumables and maintenance services.

Besides the tips above, here are several technologies you may consider for your bottle marking and coding process:

Inkjet Printing

Inkjet printers offer versatility and precision, making them suitable for printing codes and graphics on plastic bottles. In particular, continuous inkjet printers (CIJ) excel in high-speed production environments, suitable for industries.

Laser Marking

The next option is laser technology. It provides permanent markings with high contrast, which is ideal for applications requiring durability and resistance to environmental factors. However, it might cost more than other technologies.

Thermal Inkjet Printing

Meanwhile, TIJ or thermal inkjet printers offer fast, maintenance-free operation, making them a cost-effective solution for PET bottle coding. They provide high-quality prints with quick-drying ink, ensuring clear and legible markings.

Barcode Placement

Placing barcodes and other codes on bottles in a strategic position will enhance readability and consumer convenience. So, codes should be printed in visible areas, such as the neck or shoulder of the bottle, where they are easily visible to consumers.

For example, expiration dates on bottles are crucial for consumer safety and regulatory compliance. As they inform consumers about the shelf life of a product, they are mostly printed on the bottleneck or on the cap so consumers can see the code easily.

Also, ensure that codes are not obstructed by other elements, such as labels or packaging, to prevent scanning errors during product identification.

Thus, you need reliable PET bottle coding and marking machines that are able to print on those specific placements, such as Thermal Inkjet Printers (TIJ). See a complete list of thermal inkjet printers here.


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