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On Friday 11 May, at the Sky City Convention Centre, Gravure Packaging won the Industry Development and Creativity category at the Pride In Print Awards for a light-blocking milk bottle sleeve. 

The sleeve, which judges describe as “game-changing,” uses gravure printing technology that eliminates the need to print directly onto plastic bottles and can be used on clear containers needing a light blocking function.

Grant Amelung (pictured), technical manager of Gravure Packaging, says not many New Zealand companies use gravure technology, and his company is the only one in Australasia using it for light-blocking sleeves. 

He explains that the sleeve is used on plastic milk bottles that are exported to China. The client required light-blocking to increase the milk’s shelf life. They chose gravure technology, though, because of the extremely high-quality image production that can be achieved.

“The product in China sells for about $10 per bottle, so the labelling has to look really good. There is another, standard process, where you print on the surface of a white film. When you do that, though, the ink is on the surface, which means it scuffs and scratches easily and doesn’t look good.” 

Amelung says his customer loves the result and has converted all their other products to the gravure process.”

Not printing directly onto a plastic bottle makes recycling considerably easier, he says because recyclers have difficulty converting coloured plastic into clear or different colours. 
“If the bottles brown, then you have a problem.”

Amelung adds that gravure technology is particularly environmentally friendly because considerably fewer resources are required to make light-blocking sleeves compared to other processes. 

“We’re really pleased with our category win. It’s great to be recognised by people in the print industry because we put so much blood, sweat and tears into this entry.” 

Glenn Baker

Glenn is a professional writer/editor with 50-plus years’ experience across radio, television and magazine publishing.


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