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OPPack awards window films technology

Pauline Covell reports from Luxembourg

Two hundred guests saluted the winners of the flexible packaging and labelling OPPack Awards on December 11 at a gala dinner held in Luxembourg, the regional headquarters of organizer ExxonMobil Chemical Films Europe. The jury’s decisions reflected an increasing use of OPP film in non traditional applications. Awards were selected from 10 short listed labels and 20 flexible packs.

In the packaging category gold went to Viba Sweets, of Floh-Seligenthal, Germany, for its confectionery and biscuits range. Converter Allflex Folienveredelung, of Aachen, Germany, used two different Metallyte films in lamination with Bicor transparent film – 30 micron Bicor MB 400 laminated to 18 micron Metallyte MM 388 and 30 micron Bicor MB 400 laminated to 18 micron Metallyte MM 348. The panel said: “This is an excellent illustration of the possibilities for flexible packaging because it combines excellent presentation through the use of a window and good product protection making use of the barrier properties of metallized film. Excellent packaging line speeds made possible by a wide sealing range add value to the choice.”

For the outer pack, the design is printed directly on the film¹s metallized side and then demetallized in-line to create the transparent window. It is believed to be one of the first ever applications of demetallization in a laminate.

The gold labelling award went to Duphalac from Solvay Pharma, of Spain. The converter – Germark, of Cornellá De Llobregat, Barcelona, Spain – used 60 micron Label-Lyte LL536 film for a new self adhesive label system. Two labels are printed and stuck together using a special adhesive that allows the upper label to peel on and off the other, revealing important user information. The detachable part of the outer label contains information for pharmacists to remove and keep for their own records. The label reduces and simplifies packaging by replacing the traditional paper leaflet in a carton.

Opportunity

Commented the judges: “The gold award is made for an innovative approach that combines a reduction in packaging materials with the latest technology. It illustrates a new opportunity for films in a variety of market segments with the winning concept opening doors for creativity in many other applications.”

Interflex Tullis Neill – Dalkeith, UK, converted the pack taking the silver award in the packaging category. Rankin¹s Bread, from Irwin¹s Bakery, is wrapped in 26 micron Bicor MB 777 laminated to paper. The structure offers an extended shelf life for this speciality product from the barrier properties offered by the PVdC and acrylic coated Bicor film. It was chosen by the jury for “an interesting combination of materials which offer several features, including extended shelf life, good visual presentation combined with a favourable touch sensation and an innovative window”.

The bronze prize was awarded to Nestlé Türkiye Gida Sanayi, Turkey¹s Maggi stock cubes wrap of 38 micron OPPalyte MW 280 converted by Huhtamaki Ronsberg, Germany. End user Nestlé was looking for a more environmentally friendly overwrapping packaging solution to replace a paper/wax/aluminium structure. The metallized OPP film is claimed not only to save on cost, but also reduces overall weight. The jury commented: “The award goes to a traditional product which greatly benefits from the modern touch of metallized OPP film. The result is a simple but appealing wrap offering cost and environmental benefits”.

The independent jury members were Nathalie Scieux, packaging buyer, Auchan, France; Simon King, manager director, PCI Films Consulting, UK; Werner Gessner, head of International Operations and Business Development for SIG, Switzerland; Julian Carroll, director EUROPEN, Belgium; and Fabrice Peltier, president P’Référence packaging design agency, France.

At a company seminar held prior to the celebrations, president of ExxonMobil Chemical Films Europe Carlo Ranucci expressed the opinion: “Today packaging is a troubled industry. More value is being destroyed than being created and industry participants are unable to earn more than marginal returns on their investments. What the industry needs is to create new value in packaging.”

As he explained: “The key to creating new value is to make packaging a just in time ingredient and unlock its full potential to promote the product.” He added: “What is required goes beyond a supply chain initiative, it requires a re-engineered approach to an entire industry.”

In seeking this new value the OPP films producer, German prepress, cylinder, sleeve and plate specialist Saueressig (owner of Apex in the UK), and Republic of San Marino converter SIT chose the event to announce the launch of the ‘Time to Market’ project. Internet based, using tools and systems that create real-time networks amongst companies in the production, distribution and promotion of packaging for FMCGs, the project aims at the integration of all players in the value chain to generate a service level that would be impossible for one company alone.

These systems focus on several aspects of the packaging chain. For example, they will help companies to digitally manage the design process of packaging (such as image storage, computer emulation and remote location proofing) and then link that with materials planning and ordering, as well as colour repeatability. From concept to approved artwork and from approved artwork to delivered packaging, all involved parties will be able to interact in a simultaneous collaborative mode.

The artwork, prepress and printing can be integrated into one digital workflow, providing reliable colour matching and mock-up production, and ensuring packaging material suitability and availability. The systems developed will enable the packaging industry and FMCG manufacturers to reduce time to market, make effective planned and unplanned promotions and eliminate waste, creating a valuable business network centred on the FMCG company.

To develop the project, ExxonMobil has joined forces with experts along the value chain, in colour management, graphic design, image management and printing. ExxonMobil has co-founded and is co-operating on the project initially with Saueressig and SIT, two entrepreneurial companies who share its vision of the future for packaging.

Expertise

Saueressig is already well advanced in ‘e-services’, providing workflow management and order tracking. The expertise the company brings to the project focuses on reducing complexity and lead times through a standardized workflow and on-line colour management.

SIT – with rotogravure presses, in-line and off-line lamination and in-house graphic design – is working on the colour repeatability part of the project to guarantee design colour consistency across all communication mediums, including the design of the finished packaged product. The company, bursting at the seams in its San Marino base, is also in the process of building a plant in Italy. Amadeo Michelotti told Converting Today that it should be finished and equipped with new gravure presses by the end of this year.

The entire Time to Market project, which is now moving from the conceptual phase to implementation, has a pilot project underway and should be completed in early 2003. ExxonMobil expects other companies to join the network at that point, including designers, prepress operations and converters.

More information from Kirsten Ward, ExxonMobil Chemical – TEL: +352 45102 2412. EMAIL: Kirsten.ward@exxonmobil.com