Innovation and creativity ‘alive and well’ in alufoil industry
15 April 2015
Innovation and creativity ‘alive and well’ in alufoil industry
Alufoil Trophy 2015 produces an outstanding selection of winners, with aluminium foil and closure concepts for the food, beverage and pharmaceutical sectors
Once again companies from every part of the aluminium foil industry have embraced the opportunity presented by the Alufoil Trophy. With the diversity of the 57 entries, covering a wide range of products across all the entry categories, the judges had a demanding task but finally selected 12 worthy winners.
The judges were led this year by Jean-Paul Duquet, global packaging eco design manager of Bel Group, who brought a wealth of experience in aluminium foil to the table, having had a long and distinguished background in the alufoil industry. He commented, "It is very refreshing to see so much creativity from the aluminium foil sector at a time when market conditions continue to be challenging. There are some fine examples of highly original concepts to open up new market opportunities or expand existing ones."
"The ability to meet environmental and sustainability targets without losing any degree of performance or quality is very clearly demonstrated. In addition the technical innovations, to solve complex problems or meet difficult conditions, illustrate the talent available in the industry. Overall it is clear innovation and creativity are alive and well in the aluminium foil sector," he added.
The annual awards are organised by EAFA, the European Aluminium Foil Association. Its executive director, Guido Aufdemkamp, commenting on the 2015 competition said, "Once again we have seen companies from every part of the aluminium foil industry embrace the opportunity presented by the Alufoil Trophy. Whether they are making containers, trays, lids, pouches, pill packs, closures or even general engineering products, the Alufoil Trophy enables companies to showcase new ideas. It continues to attract entries from many of Europe’s leading aluminium converters as well as brand owners, top designers and practitioners in the packaging, printing and industrial sectors."
The competition is open to products which are either made from aluminium foil or contain aluminium foil as part of a laminate, structure or packaging system, as well as aluminium closures. Categories cover every aspect of aluminium foil usage across many diverse markets, particularly those for packaging and technical applications. The classifications are Consumer Convenience; Marketing + Design; Product Preservation; Resource Efficiency; and Technical Innovation. The judges also have discretion to award an Alufoil Trophy for products displaying excellence across a number of categories, or for an outstanding or clever application.
– Ampac Flexibles: Marinade Pouch: "JANS Bio Marinade"
– Di Mauro Flexible Packaging: TwistPack
Marketing + Design
– Ampac Flexibles: Pull Tab T-Shirt Pouch
– Guala Closures: TANQUERAY 10
– Mechanotools – ICONT and Hydro Aluminium Slim: ICONT / 3D-Series trays
– Amcor Flexibles and Sandoz International: AirFluSal Forspiro
– Amcor Flexibles: Canseal Pro
– Constantia Haendler&Natermann: Chang Beer
– Amcor Flexibles: Stelvin Inside
– Constantia Flexibles: Aluminium foil < 5 µm
– Guala Closures: Guala Closures Design Studio (GCDS) technologies
– Bayer Health Care and Berndt+Partner Creality: Aspirin Next Generation – The first shaped pouch for tablets
A simple solution to a common problem and a sophisticated pack making a potentially messy job easier demonstrate just how convenient aluminium foil can be.
For simplicity the recloseable aluminium foil bag from Di Mauro Flexible Packaging solves the problem of leaks or spills of frozen food from multi-portion bags, while being quick and easy to open and reclose when required.
The TwistPack frozen food bag was developed for a major frozen food brand owner, for products such as 1kg of vegetables. No adhesive or label is needed as the design takes advantage of the dead fold properties of aluminium, once twisted. Benefits for the consumer are that they can use, then easily reclose the bags as many times as they want and do not have to look for other closing devices.
Cleaning up a messy job in some style the Ampac Flexibles Marinade Pouch, made for client JANS, is an innovative, 3-sided seal pouch, with a special zipper solution, in the format 200 x 300mm designed for consumers who like fresh meat marinated in an organic marinade.
He or she can simply place the meat of their choice into the marinade pouch which contains 200ml of sauce and marinate up to 1Kg of fresh meat within 30 minutes. The pouch combines a three-layer laminate with aluminium foil in the middle, backed by a high barrier transparent material. The zipper membrane protects the reclose-profile until opening. The product has a shelf life of 12 months and is not subject to cold chain requirements.
Marketing & Design
Opening up new markets or expanding and enhancing existing ones is a key element of this category. The three winners ably demonstrate how aluminium foil can succeed in both.
Ampac Flexibles’ Pull Tab T-Shirt pouch for beverages combines innovative packaging with technology to enhance brand marketing, allowing food manufacturers to deliver products in a very attractive, T-Shirt shape pouch.
The shape is perfect as a football club or sports club drink container and can be custom-printed to match the colours of the team in up to 10 colours. The high barrier stand up pouch also provides hygienic protection of the straw hole with a tear away, customized Ampac Pull Tab label, so is ideal for a sporting environment. As larger straw diameters are available (up to 8mm) it opens a new field of sales because the pouch can contain smoothies and thicker liquids and is not limited to waters and juices, says Ampac
A complete makeover, for Diageo’s new Tanqueray No. Ten bottle, features a stunning aluminium closure designed and made by Guala Closures. The closure is perfectly integrated, both to support the premium positioning and enhance the design. It is a perfect example of what aluminium can achieve as both a practical item and as a part of a total marketing concept.
Citrus is at the heart of the Art Deco influenced overall design, with a strong element of the new bottle shape and other components being the lemon squeezer. The closure, made with 8011 aluminium alloy, is thicker than average. Cutting-edge processes have been used to achieve its shape, while more grip was obtained with a knurling process.
A range of ‘boat shaped’ aluminium platters, used for home meal preparation or catering service, enables more convenient handling and excellent presentation of delicate food and dishes. The design, from Mechanotools – ICONT and Hydro Aluminium Slim of Italy enhances the wide range of dinner trays available by offering smooth contouring, created by a new 3D process.
In traditional aluminium trays the container top edge is on a flat level. In this 3D-Series of trays the containers’ top profile is built on 3-axis, outlining a double-curvature surface, the first of its kind applied in moulding technology for aluminium containers, say the companies. The trays come in three sizes 35, 45 and 55cm in gauges 105µm to 160µm.
Aluminium foil has a five star reputation for product protection. This winner shows the material can work well to make a highly innovative medical device even better.
A new respiratory inhaler, from Sandoz International, for people suffering with asthma/COPD, uses a specially designed alufoil blister strip developed by Amcor Flexibles, to ensure a longer shelf life of the powder in the AirFluSal Forspiro device.
The strip protects the inhalation powder from moisture ingress and also improves performance during transportation and release of the powder from the cavity. In this complex device all the components had to be carefully combined to achieve the required performance. The protection of the active ingredient – a hygroscopic powder – is entirely due to the innovative use of the alufoil blister strip.
Making the most out of the material, whatever the use, is now top of every packaging agenda. These winners show aluminium foil to best advantage for very diverse purposes.
Canseal Pro, a direct-seal aluminium membrane for can ends, developed and manufactured by Amcor Flexibles, is currently being used to pack dry products that do not need heat processing after filling, as well as for other products such as condensed milk, which benefit from the excellent barrier properties offered by aluminium foil.
The coextruded sealing structure of Canseal Pro, made specifically for a newly developed direct sealing technology, offers excellent seal integrity, easy peelability and highly efficient processability. The membrane reduces total packaging material and cost, since it is directly sealed onto a can. So no additional metal ring is needed. One thousand conventional steel EOE lids, for a typical 73mm diameter can, weigh around eight times more than the equivalent Canseal Pro lids, says Amcor.
Constantia Haendler & Natermann has created a remarkably thin neck foil label for Chang Beer which uses an 8.8µm, soft tampered, aluminium foil alloy. This not only offers material savings, but also downstream advantages during the recycling/reuse process.
The thickness of neck foil has been reduced, over time, from something like 13µm to 10.5µm and most recently down to 9.5µm. In addition to material savings of 8% the new neck foil has a positive impact on wastewater used during the returned bottle cleaning process. The thinner foil completely dissolves in the caustic bath, extending the caustic wash efficiency by up to 10%. This leads to lower emissions of hydrocarbon and thus less heat dissipation from the washer, says the company.
A trio of winners show that aluminium foil can rise to very different technical challenges and adapt successfully with other technological developments
Constantia Flexibles has developed a 5µm aluminium converter foil, specifically designed for pouch and confectionery laminates. Improved process parameters allow the thinner foil to be processed on a high performance laminator without loss of performance.
The new thickness has been achieved thanks to advances in rolling mill technologies which have enabled enhanced parameters in each of the steps: rolling, doubling, separating and annealing, to obtain the thinning to below 5µm, compared with the current standard of 6 – 7µm. Envisaged applications include the wrapping of chocolate, confectionery bars and the inner wrappers for gum where a typical lamination would be Alu/wax or adhesive/paper.
For the wine sector Stelvin Inside is a new range of aluminium closures and liners from Amcor Flexibles, which can double wine maker’s Oxygen Transmission Rate (OTR) choices, giving them more tools to help craft and perfect their wine.
Each of the four new liners has a different OTR target which, through technical developments in combination with other materials that make up the liner, ensures a controlled level of oxygen dispersion allowing wine makers and consumers consistency from one bottle to the next. All of the films used in the liners are produced by Amcor and are PVDC-Free. Two of the four new liners also contain layers of aluminium foil. OTRs are offered between 1O2 and 7O2.
Also in the wine sector, but addressing a very different issue Guala Closures has launched a range of customised aluminium closures. Prior to their introduction, smaller wineries had to use standard ranges and colours for their closures, because of minimum order numbers required for bespoke printing, usually as high as 50,000 pieces.
Guala Closures Design Studio (GCDS) technologies has created a new concept to offer wineries in-house artwork creation and on-site production. The facility boasts state-of-the-art, fast output printing techniques combining digital printing, embossing and plasma technologies. Additionally they allow the application of colour, logos and artwork to any size of order for Guala’s patented screwcaps.
Cross Category Award
The winner of this award used aluminium foil to the highest standards and achieved a result which works at every level of performance.
A project led by Bayer Health Care with the support of design company Berndt+Partner Creality, has created the first shaped pouch for packing a tablet, in this case a very traditional solid form product, the Aspirin.
Aspirin Next Generation has a new formulation which is more moisture sensitive so packing it in aluminium foil was essential, says Bayer. Working with converter Constantia Flexibles and machinery supplier Romaco Pharmatechnik, the group has created a shamrock shaped pouch pack containing four single tablets. The shaping is achieved by a new machine concept while the visible silver surface underlines the product’s newness and modernity.
By using a paper-aluminium laminate the pouches can be opened easily and individual tablets can be separated and taken for ‘on the go’ occasions, meeting contemporary consumer needs.