Sun puts marketing might behind DataLase coding technology

By Ahmed ElAmin

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Laser

Sun Chemical has signed a license agreement with DataLase to sell
the company's inks, which canbe used to laser mark products
directly on packaging materials.

UK-based DataLase is developing a broad range of new coatings and additives that react and change colour with laserlight. The inks are being marketed as a way to identify products and prevent counterfeiting, whichis becoming a major problem for food companies, according to the latest EU statistics.

Last year about five million counterfeit foodstuff, drinks and alcohol products were seized atthe EU's borders, representing a 20 per cent increase.

The agreement with Sun has the potential to bring DataLase's technology to a wider market. Sunsaid the agreement was part of the company's strategy to offer a complete range of printing inks toindustry.

DataLase ink is applied to packaging substrates at either the printing or converting stages. Once exposed to a low-power CO2 laser, the DataLase inks chemically react, turning from white to black.

Brand manufacturers can use the laser to write variable data such as date codes or bar codes onto their packaging materials.

Laura Browne, a company spokesperson, said among the food companies currently using DataLasetechnology is Müller dairy. The company is use DataLase inks for date and lot coding on its yoghurtpots.

Kwik Lok in Australia is also using DataLase's Masterbatch colour change technology in order to date code bread bag closures for George Weston Foods.Masterbatch is a coding, marking and printing additive that enables plastics to be marked using low power CO2 lasers.

Kwik Lok made the switch after it found that that its previous method of laser marking tended toallow the information to rub off the closures.

Browne said DataLase is currently working on developing inks and a process for direct food marking.The edible 'on-product' marking, called FoodMark, uses the company's laser technology to imprintdata such as 'product look up' codes, best before dates and country of origin directly ontofoods such as fruits.

According to the DataLase web site the product consists of a low power laser light imaging system,an edible colour change fluid, and an applicator for apply the fluid to a food surface.

DataLase's FoodMark for citrus fruits has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA)though a letter of opinion. FoodMark is not yet commercially available but is expected to be launched during2007 once the technique has achieved full FDA approval.

DataLase is headquartered in Widnes, UK and also has a significant US operation based in Atlanta, Georgia.The company was formerly known as Sherwood Technology.

Related topics: Processing & Packaging

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