POLYTYPE | 01.09.2022

Polytype’s digital printing system ‘DigiCup’ brings hyper-personalization to the masses.

What do spectators at a professional baseball game in Mexico have in common with amateur cyclists competing in a road race in Belgium and guests at a South African firm’s end-of-year party? It is more than likely that they all are holding a cup or water bottle that has been personalized using a machine developed by Polytype, the leading provider of direct-to-packaging printing systems worldwide. As Florian Fässler, head of digital development at the Fribourg-based company, explains, “We export our digital printing system ‘DigiCup’ all around the globe.” Demand is particularly high in the US, “where the sports industry is mad for customized cups.”

According to Fässler, “All printing processes used to be mechanical, so it took several weeks to print the packaging.” This also meant that profit was only to be had from bulk orders. But, around 10 years ago, the company revolutionized its business practices by embracing digital printing. As well as being quicker than earlier printing solutions, this technology makes it possible to handle very small printing orders without incurring any extra cost. “Even a single water bottle or cup pays off. The era of hyper-personalization is here!”

Economical and ecological

“Our machines help our customers digitalize their entire production chain”. Fässler also notes that “the machine can generate shipping labels as well.” Another advantage of the Polytype print-to-packaging solution is the fact that “it is in sync with today’s more environmentally aware consumer society, for whom reusable packaging is becoming the norm.” As well as being in line with what customers want, small-scale production also cuts waste. Given the volatile nature of the packaging market and fast-changing design and color trends, printed merchandise can all too often become dead stock.

The head of digital development points out a further benefit, “The much shorter production lead times mean that small firms selling customizable containers can now also compete in the e-commerce marketplace.” Polytype wants to build on this success and is currently exploring possible new applications for its technology, including silicone cartridges for the construction industry and wine bottle closures.