US-based rigid packaging supplier Crown Holdings has partnered with digital decoration solution provider Velox to develop a high-speed digital beverage can decorator.

The companies will provide beverage brands with digital decoration technology for both straight wall and necked aluminium cans.

The technology offers running speeds of up to 500 cans a minute, more than five times faster than current limits for comparable-quality digitally printed beverage cans.

It can also print up to 14 simultaneous colours and embellishments, including gloss, matte and embossing, on almost the entire surface area of the can.

The technology streamlines production by allowing users to print onto the can surface with or without a white basecoat, as well as allowing images to be printed on both the can neck and chime.

Crown technology and regulatory affairs executive vice-president Dan Abramowicz said: “Beverage producers continue to select aluminium cans for consumer convenience, long shelf-lives, infinite recyclability and 360-degree shelf appeal.

“The high-speed, dynamic solution we are debuting with Velox makes these benefits more accessible to brands of all sizes and across multiple product categories.

“From speed to quality to design features, the technology truly pushes the limits of digital printing for beverage cans, and we look forward to introducing this exciting innovation to our partners around the world.”

The technology is currently being trialled at Crown’s global research and development centre in Wantage, UK, with commercial can production expected to start within the next year.

Last month, Crown announced it had chosen Mesquite, Nevada, as the location for an aluminium beverage can manufacturing facility.

The 355,000ft² two-line facility will produce standard and speciality cans for the company’s clients.

Located in the Mesquite Technology and Commerce Centre, the plant is due to start operations in the second quarter of 2023.