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Showa Aluminum Can to Install New Production Line for Ink-jet Printing
-Japan’s First Line Efficiently Prints Small-Lot Can Labels with Photogravure Quality-

Showa Denko K.K.
October 31, 2016

Showa Aluminum Can Corporation (SAC), a wholly owned consolidated subsidiary of Showa Denko (SDK) (Tokyo: 4004), has developed an ink-jet printing technology for beverage cans suitable for production of cans with multiple designs in smaller lots. SAC has decided to start construction of a new production line equipped with this new printing method in the coming November at its Oyama Plant located in Oyama City, Tochigi Prefecture, aiming to go into quantity production in December 2016.

The domestic demand for aluminum cans for beverages hovers around 20 billion cans a year. On the other hand, the number of varieties of products has tendency to increase due to diversification in consumers’ likes and changes in patterns for shopping. Thus canned beverage manufacturers’ need for small-lot production of a wide variety of products is increasing. In addition, luxurious designs for cans using many pictures or gradations are adopted more and more by beverage manufacturers, centering on limited sale products for campaigns to promote events. Production of cans with these luxurious designs requires printing technologies to faithfully reproduce original designs. Aiming to respond to such need, aluminum can manufacturers examined existing high-definition printing methods including waterless printing and photogravure. However, these printing methods were not suitable for small-lot printing of a wide variety of can designs.

The new printing technology developed this time by SAC utilizes ink-jet printing method suitable for printing of multiple designs in smaller lots, and has improved reproducibility of designs containing pictures with gradations by realizing high-definition printing of 600dpi, which is equivalent to the quality of photogravure. SAC started trial printing on cans with this technology, and finally cleared qualification standards set by beverage manufacturers. Thus SAC decided to start commercial production of cans with this printing technology.

The production line equipped with this new printing method is suitable for small-lot production of about 100 thousand cans, and can significantly shorten lead time between sending in of design data for printing and shipment of finished cans because ink-jet printing method does not require platemaking and stenciling processes.

SAC started production and sale of aluminum cans for beer in 1971 as the pioneer in Japan, and has been responding to customers’ need by introducing leading-edge printing and can manufacturing technologies. SAC will continue improving competitiveness of its products by making the most of its original production technologies and quality management system.

Sample cans printed with the new printing method
Sample cans printed with the new printing method

Sample cans printed with the new printing method

For further information, contact:
Public Relations Office (Phone: 81-3-5470-3235)

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