Alufoil Trophy 2018: Winners demonstrate impact shelf presence and resource efficiency

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12 Apr 2018 --- Excellence in shelf presence, environmental sustainability and consumer experience were the key features of the 2018 Alufoil Trophy. Organized by the European Aluminum Foil Association (EAFA), the prestigious annual event displays excellence in aluminum foil innovation and technology across a wide range of applications, notably food and beverage packaging and pharmaceutical.

A panel of leading industry experts from all areas of the aluminum foil industry announced ten winners across the five competition categories. “We were impressed by the great originality of many entries, which took existing products further or added a new dimension to the use of foil. There was a highly inventive theme which showed a strong grasp of the technical possibilities of aluminum foil, while, at the same time, giving consideration for convenience and environmental impact,” explained the judges.

Each year the competition is organized by the European Aluminum Foil Association, EAFA and entries come from all parts of the aluminum foil sector including aluminum foil rollers and converters. Guido Aufdemkamp, the association’s Executive Director praised the standard of entries again this year. “Many of the winners for 2018 are truly groundbreaking, such as helping to simplify a complex electrical process, improve access to a key medical product, or creating stunning closure designs using crossover technology. We are constantly impressed by the way the aluminum foil sector can innovate and the Trophy is an important and effective way to recognize these achievements.”

The competition is open to products which are either made from aluminum foil or contain aluminum foil as part of a laminate, structure or packaging system, as well as aluminum closures. Categories cover every aspect of aluminum foil usage across many diverse markets. The classifications are Consumer Convenience; Marketing and Design; Product Protection; Resource Efficiency; and Technical Innovation.

The winners:

Consumer Convenience Category

Perlen Packaging: PERLAMED-BLISTair
A thermoformed dry powder, single-use, inhaler, PERLAMED-BLISTair from Perlen Packaging, designed for mass consumption and skin packaging of food directly on to foil offer ultra-convenience. It can be manufactured on a standard blister machine, incorporating an aluminum foil lid and opening system, which enables single use inhalers to be produced.

Many patients in third world countries cannot afford to buy an expensive injection molded device with 30-60 inhalations. The PERLAMED-BLISTair brings that medication within their reach in single dose format and can enable a local supplier to produce them on a standard machine. The device is hygienic, easy to handle, very efficient in material use and can be purchased at a competitive cost.

Plus Pack: Ready2Cook Skin Packaging Solution
An innovative skin packaging concept for chilled or fresh foods, such as fresh fish, the Ready2Cook Skin Packaging Solution, from Plus Pack, offers maximum flexibility for the consumer as it can easily go directly from the chilled cabinet to the oven or even BBQ.

The judges, all specialists from sectors of aluminum foil production, gave a very positive verdict. “The pack has the look and feel of quality, which is always reassuring to consumers buying fresh foods. But it scored highly for its ease of handling, along with a format which offers extended shelf life and then can be used as the baking container. It is even much easier to transport, stack and store, not only for the retailer but the consumer as well,” they declared.

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Plus Pack-Ready2Cook Skin-Packaging Solution

Full surface skin packaging offers a hermetically sealed food safe solution which improves the shelf life of the contents by several days, compared to traditional modified atmosphere containers with a sealed film lid, says the company. Once the skin packaging is removed the aluminum container makes a perfect cooking tray, according to Plus Pack.

The low height and handles of the container make it easy to transport and store for the consumer. If they decide to buy several products at the same time, the skin packaging solution means they can keep fresh foods for an extended period in top condition. And they have a healthy diet without having to buy fresh items every day. The aluminum container is also fully recyclable, so there is no need to fill up the waste bin.

Marketing and Design Category

closurelogic: Embossment on Talog
A new embossing technique for aluminum closures by Talog has been developed by closurelogic and enables embossing of logos and lettering on the top of the cap, to enhance the appeal, branding possibilities and quality image of the company’s premium closures.

The Trophy judges felt the development offered great potential to users of aluminum closures. “This opens up possibilities for branding and design which will appeal to soft drinks and water producers and consumers alike. Traditionally those who buy premium beverages, sodas and mineral water like the look and feel of quality on their bottles. This embossing offers a subtle, but very visually appealing difference in a part of the closure which has not received much attention to date.”

Closurelogic says it is following the trend of its customers to upgrade to higher quality roll-on closures. The technique enables them to add distinctive contours and letters on the top of the screwcap which can reflect a brand image or identity, reinforcing the brand message displayed elsewhere on the bottle.

Javier Muñoz, owner and CEO of closurelogic said, "Winning this Alufoil Trophy is a very important achievement for us. The Talog, without embossing, is already recognized as a premium closure adding prestige to the product. With our new embossing technique, consumers can actually feel the quality, adding a new dimension to the brand experience."

This feature can be added to the existing aluminum roll-on closures systems offered by the company, such as Talog, Star-Log and Alu-Star, which are suitable for any kind of beverages.

Constantia Flexibles: Cat Milk in Aluminum Portion-Packs
Made by Constantia Flexibles for animonda petcare, the Milkies, as they are known, contain 15g of cat milk with healthy additives and are the only portion packs using an aluminum capsule/lid system for this kind of product available in Europe, the company believes.

“This is a very ‘on trend’ product,” was the summarizing comment of the judging panel. “The whole concept is very well presented and eye-catching. We are sure it will appeal to pet owners and it certainly stands out on the shelf. It is a clever and original use of the capsule concept and one again expands the footprint for this kind of pack style, which is gaining far more traction than just in the coffee sector.”

Four different varieties of Milkies are retailed in two pack styles, a ‘four pack’ sleeve or a carton containing 20 capsules. The pet snacks can be served as a topping on food or added to drinking water. The aluminum foil lid is printed in striking and appealing colours to identify each flavour, while the capsule itself is lacquered in gold to give it a very high-quality look and feel.

“Animonda’s milk snack has a leading position in the cat milk market. The aluminum foil packaging signals freshness, while the capsule offers both convenience and single serve alike. This is an example of successful value creation through a combination of new product and packaging ideas," said Udo Bilz, head of marketing at animonda petcare.

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Tetra Pak Tetra Fino Aseptic100 Ultra MiM

Product Protection

Tetra Pak: Tetra Fino Aseptic 100 Ultra MiM
A new single-portion pack for juice and dairy products, featuring a thin aluminum foil inner layer. It is a new ambient pack for in-shop and at-home freezing of dairy and juice-based products The Tetra Fino Aseptic 100 Ultra MiM not only enables the contents to be kept for long periods at ambient temper

atures, but also allows them to be turned into frozen treats, with minimal changes to existing dairy and juice production processes.

The aseptic processing and packaging mean the product does not need preservatives to maintain its nutritional values. The thin layer of aluminum helps to maintain the colour, texture and taste of the contents for at least four months without refrigeration.

The judging panel felt the new pack offered advantages in several areas: “We were impressed that quite complex dairy and juice products could be stored, handled and sold without any temperature control being required. In addition, the style of the pack, as a small carton/pouch format, lends itself to being marketed as a frozen or ice cream product. The pack offers security along the supply chain, until it is frozen by the retailer or the consumer at home.”

The consumer can be completely confident that the product is in optimal condition when it reaches them. No requirement for a cold chain also means energy savings across the entire value chain, according to Tetra Pak.

Resource Efficiency

Amcor Flexibles: PolyInert laminates for stick packs
A new laminate from Amcor Flexibles, which enables sensitive pharmaceuticals to be packed in stick packs. PolyInert Laminates for Stick Packs is a multilayer barrier laminate with aluminum foil that has a contact layer specifically developed with low scalping properties. This improves the shelf life of the product as well as helping to reduce both the pack size and its carbon footprint, according to the company.

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Amcor PolyInert Laminates for stick packs

The judging panel for the Alufoil Trophy felt this development had a significant impact on both the product and the pack's environmental performance. “This barrier laminate can handle highly sensitive pharmaceuticals in both powder and liquid format. Plus, it delivers a huge saving in material use and energy consumed in making the pack. It ticks all the boxes for Resource Efficiency.”

Other advantages of Polyinert include that it can be sandwich or surface printed for information, marketing or to include anti-counterfeiting measures, claims Amcor. But the reduction in pack size, compared with traditional formats such as sachets, can achieve as much as 40 percent materials savings, reduce non-renewable primary energy by 30 percent and water consumption by 39 percent, in addition to the 30 percent saved on the carbon footprint.

“This trophy in the Resource Efficiency category reflects our commitment to help our customers reach their sustainability goals,” said Andrea Della Torre, Senior Director R&D at Amcor Flexibles Europe, Middle East and Africa. “We implemented our PolyInert technology in stick pack format, thus achieving an improved environmental performance compared to a conventional 4-side seal sachet. Our continuous development of new materials and how these can contribute to better and more sustainable packaging is a high priority of our sustainability agenda,” he added.

A major breakthrough is that using the new laminate containing aluminum foil, not traditional plastics, minimises the interaction between the drug and the film. So, the active pharmaceutical ingredient in a volatile drug does not become absorbed in the contact layer. This greatly improves the efficacy and shelf life of the product, saving yet more valuable resources.

Huhtamaki Flexible Packaging: Lamineo
A new 3-layer laminate, Lamineo, developed specially for the coffee sector by Huhtamaki Flexible Packaging demonstrates high levels of resource efficiency. The new material, which uses extrusion rather than adhesive in its construction, reduces the amount of PE by up to 20 percent without any loss of performance or rigidity.

“The coffee pouch used to demonstrate this new material containing aluminum foil was an excellent example of what has been achieved here,” was the summarizing comment of the judging panel. “The look, feel and printability are first class and the samples offered for inspection had excellent rigidity and were easy to open. The material saving is significant while offering good machinability. This is a classic resource efficient development”.

Between the PET and aluminum foil, an extrusion layer is placed instead of adhesive. This layer increases the distance between these two dimensionally stable materials, which strengthens the rigidity, says Huhtamaki.

Huhtamaki emphasised that the material can operate on any current flow-wrap machine, without any need for modification and without loss of production speed. Additionally, the adhesive-free lamination helps to reduce the NIAS (non-intentionally added substances) in any analysis, a major challenge for food contact materials.

Technical Innovation

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Amcor AluFix Retort-Xtra

Amcor Flexibles: AluFix Retort Xtra
The latest peelable can end from Amcor Flexibles is the first aluminum foil can end able to withstand aggressive products such as tomato sauce, sauerkraut, fish in white wine and similar products. It is sealable on PP lacquered tinplate and is suitable for all current retortable production capabilities, says the company.
Alufoil Trophy’s judging panel was hugely impressed by the can end’s ability to cover such a broad range of products. “This is a notoriously difficult area for aluminum foil and to have overcome it in such a comprehensive way is a major step forward. It opens new markets and brings safety, convenience and material savings in addition to being truly innovative,” they said.

Normally products like pickles, dips, tomatoes sauces or seafood are highly acetous or have salts or spices in them. The Retort Xtra’s composition has been designed specifically for environments with low pH values and high levels of these demanding substances.

Amcor believes the can end, which incorporates a tab rather than the traditional ring pull, will gain wide acceptance with both the canning industry and consumers. This is due to the safe and easy opening, materials and energy saving in the manufacturing cycle and the fact it can be introduced without disrupting existing production programs, including retorts. Both printing and embossing are possible on this BPA free membrane.

Guala Closures: Imagic
A ground breaking piece of technology transfer has given Guala Closures the potential to make aluminum closures in virtually any unique shape. The Imagic uses Electro Magnetic Forming (EMF), first developed for military use, to create almost any shape a designer could wish for – including round, pyramidal and precisely decorated – to very high quality.

The effect is achieved by placing an aluminum shell over a plastic ‘skeleton’ or mold. Using EMF the shell takes the shape of the mold to create the shape required. The Alufoil Trophy jury agreed that this was a highly innovative technique. “Clever and original complementary technologies have been used to bring a new dimension to the closure sector. The marketing possibilities for aluminum closures have just been greatly expanded. We believe this can have a strong impact among designers in the highly competitive drinks industry,” they explained.

With EMF technology a metal conductive workpiece is formed by high intensity pulsed magnetic fields, in just milliseconds. The force ‘shapes’ the aluminum shell so that it adheres perfectly to the inner skeleton. Extremely high-quality control is achieved, which is not possible with the traditional mechanical solutions currently available, Guala Closures claims.

Piero Cavigliasso, group innovation technology director at Guala Closures Group expressed his delight at receiving the award, “We are very proud that such a new technology, used for the first time on aluminum closures, has been awarded by the well-known Alufoil Trophy. Our aim is to protect the freedom of design of the most creative agencies, to face the challenge of giving shape to their imagination. We believe EMF can bring an additional benefit in terms of anti-counterfeiting: we invested years of development and the technology is not on the “shelf”, so it will not be easy for counterfeiters to imitate.”

The finished product is very resistant and so avoids dent problems, both during the production process and transportation. The closures combine the functionality of plastics with the aesthetics of aluminum, says the company.

Stogger and Novelis Deutschland: Stogger Wireless Lighting
Stogger BV of the Netherlands has worked with Novelis Deutschland to create a simple and less labour intensive, wireless LED lighting solution, using aluminum foil to carry the electric current.

The aluminum foil replaces wired assemblies which are both expensive and time-consuming to set up, says Stogger. The PowerBoard is a recycled PET panel, laminated with three layers of aluminum alloy AA 1200 and the wireless LED lights are just screwed anywhere into the surface.

Click to EnlargeOften simple solutions are the most elegant and effective and this is certainly the case here,” was one of the supporting comments of the judging panel.

“The layers of aluminum foil are excellent conductors of electricity and enable the modules, or letterboxes, to be made in many intricate shapes and sizes, quickly and with the potential of using automated assembly methods. A real advance in technology on many levels,” he added.

Additionally, the LED modules achieve seamless light distribution using the company’s square lens technology. Manual placing of wires is completely eliminated; this often-intricate task was both costly and time consuming, as well as making assembly of signs quite difficult.

Pieter Peeters, co-founder of Stogger commented on the award, “Stogger, as well as Novelis, are very proud that this new, patented technology is being recogni

sed within the aluminum industry by winning the Alufoil Trophy 2018. We hope that winning this Trophy opens doors, in our search to find the right distribution and development partners to roll out our new technology.”

Stogger Wireless Lighting also enables a very even lighting distribution, without the need for the usual long, trial and error process. Another advantage is that the letterbox production can be fully automated, which was previously impossible.

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