Creative labeling and decorating techniques promote brand identity, marketability, and shelf appeal of products through blending such design techniques with the shape of the container.
Today, glass containers are designed to take advantage of what works best for different marketing channels, whether on the shelves of supermarkets, pharmacies, or convenience stores.
Applied Ceramic Labeling (ACL) or Silk Screening: A process where ceramic inks are printed directly onto bottles and then heated to adhere the ink directly to the bottle, creating permanent decoration. ACL graphics can be up to three colors with potential for 360 graphics on the body and/or neck areas.
Heat Transfer Labeling: Enables the transfer of a high-resolution graphic image directly onto a bottle. The bottle and label carrier are pre-heated so that the graphic is released from the carrier and transferred to the bottle by a special thermally activated application process. The bottle is then reheated so that the label bonds with the glass surface.
Shrink Sleeve: A full body PVC or PETG pre-printed sleeve, which is applied over the bottle and shrunk with heat or steam to fit the body contour of the bottle.
Pressure Sensitive Labeling: Entails the transfer of a graphic image onto a pre-cut adhesive-backed clear polypropylene film, which is then applied onto a bottle. This "no-label look" is similar to the silkscreen ACL label except with more color options and tighter print registration.
Cut and Stack Labeling: The most commonly used label process for food, beverages, wine, liquor and other types of packages. This technique uses a wide variety of printing methods and it is a fast application process. Packages are labeled after filling and/or after retort or pasteurizing.
Glass Decorating Techniques
Acid Etching: Creates an eye-catching frosted appealing look by immersing glass containers in a chemical solution (hydrofluoric acid), which reacts on the surface of the bottle. This process is commonly used with cosmetic, liquor and wine bottles. Acid etching can be performed on any color bottle and is compatible with all labeling processes.
Embossing: A distinctive image or lettering (either raised, or "in relief" on the bottle) created during the glass bottle molding process. Cost effective decorating alternative to create a quality brand image. The visual impression and feel of an embossment help to generate consumer interaction with the package.
Debossing: The design is heat-pressed into the surface of the bottle, creating a depressed (or indented) image. The debossed cyclone swirl on the back of Bacardi’s Ciclón bottle invigorates this premium brand and makes a powerful packaging statement. Specialty Colors: Specialty Colors can be applied on glass bottles to give brands a distinctive look. Common glass colors are Flint (Clear), Amber, Emerald Green, Georgia Green, Antique Green, Dead Leaf Green, Champagne Green, and Cobalt Blue. Surface Treatments Surface coating helps to maintain the outer strength of the glass container, improves durability and scratch resistance, enhances label adhesion and supports ongoing efforts to create lighter weight containers. At the hot end of the glass making process, a very thin coating of tin oxide is applied to the containers as they emerge from the I.S. Machine. At this juncture the bottles are about 1,000 degrees F. In the Annealing Lehr the containers are reheated to slightly above the annealing point and gradually reduced to below 1,000 degrees F.
The purpose of the annealing process is to relieve internal stresses in the glass caused by uneven cooling during the forming process where the outer surface of the container cools faster than the inner surface. After the annealing process, polyethylene dispersed in water is applied to the containers at the cold end at about 250 degrees F. This coating reduces friction between bottles as they move through production and filling lines. Lubrication eases surface contact, improves mobility and preserves bottle strength, which is dependent on a surface free of damage.