AIMCAL Presents Awards
AIMCAL – "and the winner is…."
Lamination innovation wins AIMCAL Technology of the Year Award
The Association of International Metallizers, Coaters and Laminators (AIMCAL) has honored a lamination innovation with its 2017 Technology of the Year Award. The Award was presented to Dow Chemical Co., Midland, Michigan, and Nordmeccanica, Hauppauge, New York, in a ceremony on Wednesday, April 26, in conjunction with ICE USA (April 25-27, 2017, Orange County Convention Center, Orlando, Florida).
Compatible with most printing inks and substrates, the lamination technology shortens time to market, boosts production speeds and cuts costs. Twin coating heads on Nordmeccanica’s Duplex SL One Shot laminator apply one component of Dow’s two-part Symbiex solvent-less adhesive on each web. When the resin-coated and hardener-coated webs meet at the lamination nip, polymerization begins and the adhesive quickly cures. No mixer is needed, and pot life is no longer a concern. The quick curing produces a measurable bond within 30 minutes allowing quicker quality checks and slitting within 90 minutes. Curing inventory is eliminated, and there’s no need for hot or thermal-conditioned curing rooms and associated energy consumption. As a result, pouches made from the lamination – even those destined for food contact – can be filled within 24 hours instead of the typical waiting period of four to six days. In addition, final optical properties are higher, and a significant reduction in adhesive misting boosts production speeds up to 20 percent versus traditional solvent-less lamination.
The judging panel quickly acknowledged the collaborative development effort and novel nature of the resulting two-part adhesive and application technology. “Using a two-component adhesive without a Meter Mixer Dispenser really hasn’t been done before,” they agreed. “Eliminating worries about pot life is game-changing,” noted one judge. “This technology is applicable to thousands of laminators,” added another member of the panel.
The judges also presented two Honorable Mentions in the 2017 AIMCAL Technology of the Year Competition. In the Coating/Laminating Equipment/Accessories Category, the TecMaster R&D coater/laminator from Faustel, Germantown, Wisconsin, earned an Honorable Mention because it allows coating, drying and laminating experiments to be conducted using the same processes found on full-scale production equipment. The result is lower testing costs and faster turnaround due to shorter setup times. Self-contained, pre-engineered and modular in design, the unit offers a small footprint, portability and quick installation. Easily interchangeable coating heads currently include direct gravure (unsupported with yoke), slot die and knife-over-roll with offset gravure and intermittent slot die to be added in 2017. Options include ultraviolet and corona treaters.
“This machine provides an easy environment for research and will reduce the time needed to develop new products,” states one judge. Noting that pilot-scale equipment has not been readily available to the industry, another judge added, “The alternative is to schedule an hour on a production coater – which simply isn’t practical in many situations.”
Mylar ovenable films won DuPont Teijin Films, Richmond, Virginia, an Honorable Mention in the Materials Category. First marketed in 2014, the heat-sealable, thermoformable polyesters run on automated packaging machinery and enable “no-touch” cooking. Sealed packs go from packaging line to store to home freezer or refrigerator to microwave or conventional oven for maximum convenience with minimal handling. Tailored self-venting releases steam as the product cooks/warms. The result is an entrée or meal that cooks faster and maintains taste, texture and moisture with virtually no preparation time and greatly simplified cleanup. Enhanced food safety is another benefit. Since packaging remains sealed until the food is ready to serve, risk of contamination and cross contamination is reduced substantially. Products promoting “Cooking in Mylar” have generated substantial sales in Europe, and major launches are planned in North and South America.
The judges were impressed with the heat-sealable nature of the film and the flexibility it provided for package design. They also appreciated the food safety benefits. “Moving chicken from market to fridge to oven without handling eliminates many hazards posed by touching raw proteins,” noted one member of the panel. Another judge concluded, “It makes cooking so much easier for everyone, but is especially helpful for novice cooks and small households.”
The judging panel for the 2017 AIMCAL Technology of the Year Competition included five well-known experts in the converting field: Tom Bezigian of PLC Technologies; Dr. Charles A. Bishop of C.A. Bishop Consulting.; Dr. Edward D. Cohen of Edward D. Cohen Consulting, Inc.; Dr. Eldridge M. Mount of EMMOUNT Technologies, LLC; and Dr. David Roisum of Finishing Technologies, Inc.,. Craig Sheppard, executive director of AIMCAL, moderated the judging teleconference.
The AIMCAL Technology of the Year competition is part of the AIMCAL Awards program, which also includes Web Coated Product and Sustainability Award competitions.
Microbe-resistant overlaminate wins AIMCAL Product of the Year Award
Microbe-resistant Sharklet embossed vinyl overlaminate from FLEXcon Co has won the Product of the Year Award in the 2017 AIMCAL Web Coated Product Competition. AIMCAL, the Association of International Metallizers, Coaters and Laminators, presented the award on Wednesday, April 26, during a ceremony at ICE USA .
The pressure-sensitive, clear Sharklet overlaminate is micro-embossed in repeating micropatterns reminiscent of a shark’s skin. The microscopic texture, patented by Sharklet Technologies, Aurora, CO, must be precisely manufactured to a specific height, width and depth and makes it difficult for bacteria to attach and multiply. The overlaminate may be applied directly to surfaces or printed graphics. It also many be manufactured as the outer layer of workspace mats to create immediate and moveable surface protection. As a result, high-touch surfaces stay cleaner between cleanings. Nontoxic, non-leaching and chemical-free, it’s an environmentally-friendly approach to bacterial control and does not contribute to the development of “superbugs.” Research shows the micropatterns are effective against both gram-negative and gram-positive bacteria. Applications include any high-traffic area such as checkout counters, hospital waiting room surfaces, airport check-in desks, seatback tray tables, common-use areas in gyms and foodservice counters, trays and tabletops.
The judging panel categorized the Sharklet film as a development with potential to transform the world by preventing transmission of illness-causing germs. “The number of potential applications, including packaging, is significant,” noted one judge. Another judge added, “It’s a huge market and could make a meaningful impact.”
The judges also recognized five entries with Marketing or Technical Awards.
In the Packaging: Food Category, Flex Films (USA) Inc. took home the Marketing Award for a bag for 5 kilograms of premium Samaa basmati rice from Sulson Overseas Pvt. Ltd., New Delhi, India. The bag features a front, back and bottom of matte-finished biaxially oriented polypropylene/metallized polyethylene terephthalate (mPET)/clear polyethylene (PE) with gussets of clear PET/PET/PE. A tamper-evident, three-dimensional slide-to-close zipper on the front panel protects product quality and eliminates the need to transfer contents to a reclosable container. A side-gusset handle shifts the center of gravity of the relatively heavy bag to make it easier to handle. To maximize shelf impact, bag stock is reverse-printed rotogravure in eight or 10 colors with toluene-free polyurethane inks. Uflex Ltd., Noida, India, parent company of Flex Films, supplied the substrates and served as metallizer and converter.
The judges were impressed with the attractiveness of the package, the welded-in handle and transparent side gussets. “It’s quite sophisticated, and the matte finish really imparts a premium appearance,” commented one judge. “There was a lot of thought given to ways to create value for the consumer,” noted another member of the panel.
The Technical Award in the Packaging: Food Category went to Hazen Paper Co., for its role in metallizing, coating and laminating box wrap for a gift box for Godiva Chocolatier Inc., Wyomissing, PA. The box, designed by Godiva’s Global Design Group, New York, NY, features Hazen’s transfer-metallized Envirofoil paper, which is microembossed, modified tip-coated gold and flood-coated clear. The nano-thin layer of texturized aluminum and lightly applied gold tint and clear coat impart a lustrous effect as well as scuff and crack resistance. Compared to its previous box wrap, the gold coating relies on proprietary colorants that achieve the desired appearance with 98 percent fewer particulates and a significant reduction in energy consumption to apply and dry multiple layers of particulate-laden ink. The transition to Envirofoil paper and the proprietary gold coating cuts costs 50 percent. Savings resulted from improved drying efficiency, which more than doubled line speed, plus a basis weight reduction of 25 percent to 60-pound paper. Verso Corp. Specialty Papers, supplied the substrate, while Burt Rigid Box, Inc. served as the converter for the project
The judges were impressed by the savings in money and material. Despite the reduction in pigment usage, “It’s a beautiful gold,” commented one judge. “The package is simple, but quite effective,” added another member of the panel.
Unifoil Corp.,earned the Marketing Award in the Packaging: Nonfood Category as the converter for a holiday beverage carrier for Budweiser beer from Anheuser-Busch InBev. The limited edition 2016 Holiday Pack carrier matches a run of 16-ounce red aluminum bottles marking the anniversary of the repeal of Prohibition. Produced in three sizes, the carrier consists of a lamination of two weights of Carrier Kote paperboard from WestRock. Decoration involves ultraviolet flexo printing, transparent red ink and Unifoil’s Unilustre transfer metallizing. Selectively applied strips of metallizing on the front, top and rear panels eliminate gluing concerns on the packaging line and reduce package cost and weight. Toray Plastics (America), Inc., served as the metallizer.
The judges concluded, “The selective metallizing adds value to the package,” and sets this special edition product apart from day-to-day beer purchases. The panel also appreciated the use of selective metallizing to maximize shelf impact and enhance productivity on the packaging line by providing a highly bondable surface for gluing. One judge commented, “If the side flaps had been metallized, you’d probably see some scuffing caused by the flap-folding and gluing process and contact with conveyor rails.”
Hazen Paper swept the Packaging: Healthcare, Cosmetics and Toiletries Category, capturing both the Marketing and the Technical Awards. The Marketing Award recognizes a setup box for Cashmere Mist from Donna Karan, New York, NY. Hazen served as converter and metallizer of the Ultracure silver 48-gauge metallized polyester/80-pound coated-one-side litho paper box wrap. The design by McLean Packaging, which also served as contract packager, combines crackle embossing with matte ink and two-tone colors that impart the soft appearance of cashmere.
The judging panel found the faceted texture extremely appealing. “The embossing invites touching,” commented one judge. “Convincing the consumer to pick up a package really helps sell it,” added another member of the panel. “The execution is well-done, successfully accomplishing the tricky combination of film, graphics and embossing,” the panel concluded.
The Technical Award in the Packaging: Healthcare, Cosmetics and Toiletries Category goes to Hazen Paper for a setup box for Rose Radiant Gold from Michael Kors Beauty, New York, NY. McLean Packaging collaborated on this project too, with Hazen serving as metallizer and converter of the custom rose gold, acrylic-coated 48-gauge metallized polyester/80-pound coated-one-side litho paper box wrap. The brilliant metallized polyester base material provides an ideal surface for printing the custom rose color. Heavy embossing achieves an almost crystallized appearance. Dropping out the center of the embossing on the front panel maximizes the three-dimensional effect and boosts shelf impact in department store displays.
The judges were so intrigued by the sparkling effect achieved with the metallized film, rose color and embossing, they examined it with a magnifier and wondered how the look was achieved. “It looks like glitter, but it doesn’t rub off,” commented one judge. “You can’t damage the surface by rubbing it,” agreed another member of the panel. The judges concluded, “The sparkling effect definitely adds value.”
The judging session for the 2017 AIMCAL Web Coated Product Competition was hosted by Yolanda Simonsis, president/editorial director, Paper, Film & Foil Converter, and Pat Reynolds, editor-in-chief, Packaging World magazine, both Chicago-based, and moderated by Mark Spaulding, editor of Converting Quarterly. Other judges included Travis Funk, head of Global Packaging Innovation R&D at Diageo,; and Vincent Ditrolio, vice president of Operations at Labels & Specialty Products.