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Smart Sleeves – recyclable composite for dry offset printing of beverage cans and embossing of paper and cardboard


The Sleeves project worked on recyclable composite printing form materials for dry offset printing of beverage cans and embossing of paper and cardboard. In this project, MetaQuip has realized a sleeve with laser technology that can be used for this purpose. The results are promising.

Where are sleeves used

MetaQuip has been asked by various partners in the paper industry whether it is possible to develop a laser machine to realize sleeves more flexibly, faster and with less costs compared to existing solutions a so-called smart sleeve. Sleeves are rolls that are used in roll 2 roll applications to make a print or print. These sleeves are made of metal or plastic in which a height profile is applied and used in the process of printing beverage cans, the embossing of paper in dry or wet phase or for water marking of paper.

Project Specifications

  • Sleeve can be used for printing beverage cans, embossing of paper in the dry and wet phase and for watermarks
  • Plastic sleeve that is engraved with laser
  • High quality embossing or dry offset
  • Minimum change times.
  • Individual small series within 1 master batch
  • Lower costs due to fixed cylinder and replaceable sleeve
  • Laser in-house, fast realization, low costs, personalization, small series
Rol2Rol printing smart sleeve laser engraving


MetaQuip has researched which wavelength and laser machine principle is the most suitable for engraving plastic sleeves. It has also been determined in which process parameters the perfect depth can be realized without reducing the print quality and engraving the maximum engraving speed. In addition, we examined which other preconditions are necessary to ensure that the process is stable over the entire sleeve. With this MetaQuip has the exact technical specifications in view to make a machine that perfectly meets the requirements.

Laser engraving rubber drum
Example of sleeve rubber laser engraving
Embossing of cardboard and paper
Embossing of cardboard and paper
Dry offset printing of beverage cans
Dry offset printing of beverage cans

Ideas for new applications or innovation? 

Looking for a solution to a specific problem? Idea for a specific application for this innovation?
We are happy to look together at how we can achieve this.

Sleeve holder

MetaQuip has developed a sleeve holder that clamps the sleeve during laser machining so that it can be processed. In addition, in this sleeve holder, a number of functions are also required to enable the plastic sleeve to be processed properly. The sleeve holder is controlled by the laser machine. This sleeve holder has been extensively tested in combination with the laser machine; the results are so good that we now examine how the final solution can be used in the production line.

Next steps… for the recyclable composite for dry offset printing

Technically, MetaQuip has shown on the basis of the above prototype that it is possible to use a laser technique to recyclable composite sleeve for dry offset printing so that it can be used for the embossing of cardboard or paper or the dry offset printing of beverage cans and meets the specified requirements. The concept can be converted into a complete product relatively quickly. We are currently looking at business opportunities.

Fully automatic sleeve engraving machine