Tetra Laval International has filed a patent for a printing station in a packaging material manufacturing system. The station includes a printing unit, a detecting unit, and a control unit. The printing unit provides a print at a pre-set position on the packaging material, while the detecting unit determines the actual lateral distance between a reference position and the print. The control unit stores a desired lateral distance and adjusts the pre-set position of subsequent prints based on a comparison with the actual lateral distance. GlobalData’s report on Tetra Laval International gives a 360-degree view of the company including its patenting strategy. Buy the report here.

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According to GlobalData’s company profile on Tetra Laval International, fiber-reinforced material joining techniques was a key innovation area identified from patents. Tetra Laval International's grant share as of September 2023 was 60%. Grant share is based on the ratio of number of grants to total number of patents.

Printing station for adjusting print position on packaging material

Source: United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). Credit: Tetra Laval International SA

A recently filed patent (Publication Number: US20230311475A1) describes a printing station for use in a packaging material manufacturing system. The printing station includes a printing unit that provides a print at a pre-set position on the packaging material. A detecting unit is arranged downstream of the printing unit and determines the actual lateral distance between a reference position and the provided print. A control unit stores a desired lateral distance and adjusts the pre-set position of a subsequent print based on a comparison between the desired and actual lateral distances.

The reference position in the printing station can be the actual position of a reference feature on the packaging material. This reference feature can be a pre-printed object such as a crease line print or a register mark. The print provided by the printing unit can be a two-dimensional code.

The control unit in the printing station is configured to adjust the pre-set position of a subsequent print by shifting the position of the printing unit. Additionally, the printing unit can comprise multiple laterally distributed printing devices, each providing a print at a unique pre-set position. Similarly, the detecting unit can include multiple laterally distributed detecting devices, each determining the actual lateral distance between a unique reference position and a provided print.

The patent also describes a method for providing prints to a packaging material using the printing station. The method involves activating the printing unit to provide a print at a pre-set position, determining the actual lateral distance between a reference position and the provided print, and adjusting the pre-set position of a subsequent print based on a comparison between the desired and actual lateral distances. This method can be performed repeatedly as a continuous web of packaging material is fed through the printing station.

Furthermore, the method can involve feeding the packaging material with a plurality of consecutive reference features, each defining a unique reference position. The printing unit can be activated repeatedly for each reference feature passing through the printing station. The actual lateral distance can be determined by activating multiple laterally distributed detecting devices.

The patent also mentions a method for manufacturing packaging material, which involves feeding the material through a décor printing system to provide it with a décor, and subsequently providing a print using the method described above.

In summary, the patent describes a printing station and methods for providing prints on packaging material. The system allows for precise positioning of prints based on desired and actual lateral distances, using reference features and multiple printing and detecting devices.

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GlobalData, the leading provider of industry intelligence, provided the underlying data, research, and analysis used to produce this article.

GlobalData Patent Analytics tracks bibliographic data, legal events data, point in time patent ownerships, and backward and forward citations from global patenting offices. Textual analysis and official patent classifications are used to group patents into key thematic areas and link them to specific companies across the world’s largest industries.