Digital inkjet manufacturer Tonejet has opened a new, additional facility to enable it to ramp up manufacturing for its Cyclone direct-to-pack printer.
After taking the keys in March for the new leased building in Melbourn, Hertfordshire, the business has been gradually refurbishing and moving into the site over the past few months.
It also continues to operate from two other buildings, with its main offices and manufacturing facility, where it formulates its own consumables including pigmented inks, based at the nearby Melbourn Science Park.
In addition to providing capacity for the manufacturing of Cyclone, which facilitates low-cost short-run digital decoration for beverage cans, the company said the new facility enables customers to carry out direct-to-pack digital print demonstrations, trial runs and pre-production proofing.
Around 10 of the company’s 45 staff are now based at the new site, which Tonejet chief executive Rob Day said “gives us both scale and efficiency as we continue to grow and develop”.
He added: “The space is ideal both as an R&D hub and operational centre, allowing our ink chemists, printhead technologists and printer engineers to work alongside their colleagues in production and customer support.
“The new 1,300sqm space has allowed us to add the necessary de-palletiser, curing oven and re-palletiser units to test and demonstrate a full, end-to-end can printing line, while allowing our customers to visualise exactly how our products fit into their operations and their businesses.”
Initially targeted at craft beverage brand-owners, contract fillers and packaging suppliers, the Cyclone system is said to enable users to develop seasonal specials, personalised marketing campaigns and special brand activations to boost consumer engagement and increase sales volumes.
Using Tonejet’s electrostatic drop-on-demand printhead, the manufacturer said the machine eliminates waste, shortens supply chains and slashes production costs, while offering lower running costs than those associated with shrink sleeves or pressure sensitive labels.
Tonejet sales manager Marvin Foreman said interest for the technology is high and that the company will soon be getting in its first beta customer.
“The can manufacturing industry is a very traditional business, it’s pretty much still all offset printing,” he said.
“The reason for this is that up until recently, most of the product in cans has been from global brewers and the likes of Coca-Cola who don’t do small batches. This whole craft beer revolution has opened up a huge opportunity for direct-to-shape digital printing onto cans – the amount of interest is crazy.”