Tin cans are a great way to preserve and pack food, and they’re also safe, portable and sustainable for the environment for their recyclability. Most food packers and distributors opt for tin can packaging over other food packaging methods due to its convenience and longevity. Canned foods are also the most common food consumed by a large portion of the world population.
With that being said, huge corporations and small businesses rely on canned packaging to market and distribute their products. A considerable percentage of their marketing relies on the labelling in the canned packaging, which gives importance to printing on tin cans. That goes to say that learning how to print on tin cans is essential in any food packaging company.
What are tin cans made of, and how do they affect printing?
As the name suggests, tin cans are made of tinplate but are most commonly added onto a metal or aluminium base for durability. Tinplate is the most common material in cans used for preserving food. They’re resistant to corrosion and won’t contaminate the food, and they’re perfect for storage and food preservation.
Tinplate is a very versatile material. It’s an alloy, so it’s often mixed with other metals such as aluminium and steel. Since aluminium and steel corrode and could possibly contaminate the food inside, a thick layer of tinplate is coated onto the aluminium and steel base to prevent corrosion and ensure durable packing.
Aluminium is the most common material used in can manufacturing. However, it is mostly coated with a layer of tinplate over a metal base and coated again with different variations of lacquer for extra adhesion and to ensure the metal does not corrode with the food.
Printing on tin cans can be difficult, but with the latest technology, it is possible. You can’t print directly on tin or aluminium, so coating sheets are used in tin can printing. A specialised computer processes the design of the label and prints out tinplate sheets to be coated on the cans and heated up for them to stick.
The most common method of labelling cans is shrink-wrapping plastic wrappers on the cans or manually pasting paper labels using hot glue for small businesses.
But new technology makes digital printing on tin cans possible. A lot of manufacturers and food packing corporations use digital printing to print their labels on the end products.
Most packers go for shrink-wrapped plastics, but the most common method is digital printing and printing on the cans themselves.
Tinplate, also known as tinned cold rolled steel sheet, is a metal material (tinned iron sheet) that has been coated with a very thin layer of tin (0.10-0.15um) on a high-quality low-carbon (carbon content 0.12 percent) steel sheet. It has five layers: a steel base, a tin-iron alloy layer, a layer of tin, a tin oxide film, and an oil film. Tinplate printing (printed iron), printed tinplate food cans can be welded, rolled, sealed, or stamped into barrels, cans, boxes, and other containers of various sizes for use by food, tea, medicine, and home appliances, and sign manufacturers.
A feeding device, an offset printing unit, a coating unit, a drying room, and a take-up device are typically used in the tinplate food can printing process.
An overview on how to print on tin cans
Printing on tin cans isn’t printing on ready-made cans, per se. The process involves printing on tinplate sheets to be made into cans for beverages or other foods. It also depends on the material being printed.
According to the characteristics of the content-food, food packaging containers made of tinplate usually need to be coated with some kind of paint lacquer system on the inner surface of the tinplate food can to prevent the food are free content from corroding the tank wall become contaminated, which is conducive to long-term storage. In light of this, to increase the appearance of food packaging cans, a layer of decorative paint is also required to prevent the iron from being scratched and rusted after curling.
The paint lacquer system for food cans must be corrosion resistant, have good adhesion, be flexible, non-toxic, tasteless, and meet food hygiene and safety requirements. It must also have high-temperature heating in the subsequent process and a high temperature of 150 °C after filling.
Because tinplate for food cans are typically printed first, cans must then be bent, stretched, welded, flanged, and rolled. They must be strong in addition to the dry coating and ink layers. Adequate adhesion is required to prevent the coating film and ink layer from deforming, cracking, or even falling off during the processing and moulding process. Because the adhesion between the ink and the tinplate is not ideal, a layer of lacquer (i.e., primer) must be applied between the two to improve adhesion.
High quality cans with MC Packaging!
Not only does MC Packaging manufactures tin cans for distribution, but they also provide tin can printing services. MC Packaging is an expert on how to print on tin cans.
MC Packaging has been operating and manufacturing tin cans for over 50 years. Their clients include top food packing brands and companies. MC Packaging now has four factories operating all around Asia in Singapore, Malaysia and China. They supply premium quality cans, lids and printed sheets to a global clientele.
For inquiries and concerns, please contact (65) 6861-4238 and upgrade to premium quality cans for your products!