CTI’s solvent ink technology drives cup innovations

Color-change technology creates “wow” moments

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Thermochromic (cold reveal) - CTI has brought its experience to offset, flexo and in-mold labeled disposable beverage cups that change colors (or reveal messages) at cold or hot temperatures.

Specialty inks that are popular among consumers for driving interest on the packaging for beer, soda and candy are now feasible for fountain cups as a result of Chromatic Technologies’ invention of solvent-specialty inks.

The specialty inks experts at Colorado Springs-based Chromatic Technologies (CTI) invented a new suite of color-change technologies using solvent inks, including thermochromic (temperature-activated), photochromic (sunlight-activated), glow-in-the-dark and ‘reveal technology’ wherein CTI’s ink reveals a message after the product is consumed.

Thermochromic (hot) – CTI is an innovation partner with its unique thermochromic, photochromic and Glow-in-the-Dark specialty inks to create “theatre in the hand” for memorable customer experiences.

Previously, solvent-ink printers were forced to use water-based inks that slowed down manufacturing operations. The new solvent-specialty inks eliminate the operational hurdles of water-based inks.

Inks are socially active

CTI’s consumer research has found that the color-change technology is a tool for brands to drive content on their social media platforms. When brands create “wow” experiences on their packaging, consumers turn and share that story with their friends on social media. This quickly results in increased sales as friends try new technology and share their experiences.

Photochromic- Messages and designs can also burst into colors when exposed to sunlight, thanks to creative photochromic designs. It’s also a great marketing opportunity for your brand.

“Consumers have their phone in their right hand and a Starbucks, Coke or Coors Light in their left hand,” explained Patrick Edson, former vice-president of consumer insights for Coors Brewing Company and, since 2012, the chief marketing officer for CTI.

“In brand mapping exercises, we call this challenge ‘getting the right hand to talk to the left hand.’ If you can create an experience or start a story with your product in the consumer’s left hand, they, in turn, will share that experience on their phone in the right hand.

“Brands realize that the color-change technology is more than just creating an experience on a cup, it’s a new form of content for digital marketing,” Edson added.

Lyle Small, founder of CTI, weighs in, “Color-change technology is now affordable for cup printers. They offer a tremendous innovation tool for printers to help drive new margin for their customers in quick-serve restaurants and convenience stores.”

For over a decade, brands such as Coors Light have used thermochromic inks to turn their mountains blue to deliver on the promise of Rocky Mountain Cold Refreshment. Coca-Cola ensured a cold promise for 7-Eleven consumers with its “Ice Cube” 16-oz can. Cheetos used photochromic technology in Mexico for their “Where’s Chester?” promotion on chip bags. Oreo supported the 50th anniversary of the moon landing with Glow-in-the-Dark packaging.

Owing to the considerable growth of CTI, the company now offers in-house design services to help cup printers and brand owners develop concepts that can be quickly tested with consumers.

CTI, founded in 1993, exports to 55 countries where its ink technology is found on many of the world’s most recognizable brands in the consumer marketplace.

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