Bronze effect

The winners of Bronze awards in the Cans of the Year awards 2016 offered some brilliant innovations. John Nutting reviews them

The Cans of the Year awards for 2016, presented during The Canmaker Summit in Lisbon, celebrated the best examples of commercially-sold metal packaging entered last year.

So many canmakers offered brilliant examples of their work that not all could be Gold award winners, nor Silver. So being a Bronze award winner, as all these described here are, should be no less memorable.

Here’s why they were winners.

Designing a conventional aluminium monobloc aerosol to have a striking appearance is always a challenge, but Canada-based Montebello Packaging threw everything in its technical toolkit to make the Arm & Hammer Foot Powder Spray, owned by Premier Brands of America, look as attractive as possible.

It’s a novel container with a 53mm diameter and 185mm height and featuring a crisp 45-degree shoulder. What really makes it stand out are the colourful graphics, which are achieved using a nine-colour process with a silver glitter base coat.

Montebello claims to be the only maker of aluminium aerosols in North America to have a nine-colour printing system, in this case supplied by Germany’s Hinterkopf, which gives it the edge in special effects, all at speeds of up to 240 cans per minute.

Three-piece tinplate cans are often used for drinks where the product requires pasteurising after filling. In India, Maiya Beverages and Foods promotes its Badam milk drink with almond flakes as having no artificial colours, flavours or preservatives, and with the highest quality. This is matched by the packaging, a 180ml welded can made by Shetron featuring half-tone graphics and topped with a 202 aluminium stay-on-tab end.

With so many brands fighting for attention in the canned beer sector, a memorable design is key, even though with two-piece cans high-quality lithography is tough to achieve at line speeds of 2,000 cans a minute or more. To make an impact in the Chinese domestic market where German beer is increasingly popular, brewer Denninghoffs wanted a traditional label design for its Hofjäger brand, featuring a Bavarian hunter set against dark and tan backgrounds.

Ball Packaging Europe’s design team transferred this design to its 500ml aluminium cans which were printed using high-definition techniques at one of its UK canmaking plants, in time for the beer’s commercial launch at the SIAL food exhibition in May 2016.

The Bottles category is crowded with innovation, which provides emerging drinks firms with a range of techniques to differentiate their brands. Base Camp Brewing in Oregon has been using bottles alongside aluminium cans for its beers for a while but wanted something different for its Nomadic Blood Orange Double IPA ‘hybrid’ ale in a way that would appeal to outdoor activity enthusiasts looking for a lightweight, robust and attractive container.

CCL Container in the US provided a 22oz impact-extruded bottle with a crown closure, but what was different from Base Camp’s previous examples was the more rounded shoulder and appealing semi-matt graphics. The bottle is also being used for Base Camp’s slightly less potent 7.7% ABV S’more Stout.

The XRE is claimed to be the first reclosable stay-on-tab (SOT) end worldwide

The Holy Grail for many beverage can designers is an all-metal resealable end, which is a challenge with the need to contain carbonation pressure. Latest to come close to this is the Xtra Reclosable Easy Open End (XRE) developed by Korea’s XRE Corporation in collaboration with equipment manufacturer SLAC Precision Machinery.

The XRE is claimed to be the first reclosable stay-on-tab (SOT) end worldwide, and for its Korean customer Lotte Chilsung Beverage provides added value to its Aloe Vera King fruit juice – convenience, less potential for spills, and less chance of insects and contaminants getting into the drink.

Any type of metal packaging has the potential to be Fancy, which is why the category attracts such a diverse range of examples employing all kinds of canmaking techniques.

Brazil’s Metalgráphica Renner has been making large deep-drawn cans with safe-edge sealing lids for many years. Their conical bodies enable them to be necked during warehousing shipping, saving space and costs.

What lifted the Alma de Flores gift tin designed and produced for the Memphis brand into an award winner was its all-over decoration, in which image-distortion pre-press techniques – necessary because the graphics are printed on the flat sheet – were used to create the flower images with UV-cured inks and varnishes with a soft-touch finish. Just the kind of tin you’d want to keep.

Three-piece food cans are so ubiquitous that they struggle to get attention on the supermarket shelf. To make the containers used to pack a range of Nongren brand nuts for the Chinese food manufacturer Beijing Yuanyanghongxing Food, ORG Packaging used a number of clever techniques to add value and style.

The decorated 320ml body is formed into a dumbbell shape, which in addition to making it stand out adds stiffness, while the aluminium end has an easy-opening feature.

General Line containers also come in all shapes and sizes, and in many manufacturing processes. As a rule, baby nappies (diapers) have increasingly been packed in pouches made of plastic film using sealing features to keep them hygienic and fresh.

Deva Industries in Indonesia wanted something more lasting and durable for a limited-edition run of its Cuddles brand, and canmaker PT Sinar Djaja Can provided the solution with a lock-seam tin with a slip lid. It’s made from 0.16mm tinplate for the body and lid, both of which are printed and clear lacquered, and 0.18mm for the clear lacquered base. In addition to providing a container for the nappies, and other baby supplies, the tin is a ‘great gift idea for a baby shower celebration’, says Deva.

There’s more to the experience of drinking beer or soda from a can than meets the eye, or the lips. Gulping is unappealing, it would seem, as is a less smooth pour into a glass. In Japan, Universal Can Corporation has been working on new designs to meet this need and offered one of its prototype designs as an entry. It’s called the ‘Two-way score end’, and opens in the same way as a conventional stay-on-tab end, except that when the tab is twisted, a vent is created that enables the drink to flow more smoothly, thus “enhancing the refreshment experience”.

Metal decoration is a craft that embraces all of the cans entered into the Cans of the Year awards, which is why it has its own award. The Bronze-winning suitcase-styled hinge-lid tin, complete with carry handle, was made by Zenith Tins in India, and featured superbly matched matt-effect lithography so that customer Faber-Castell could market its crayons to school children.

Sustainability is key to the future of metal packaging, and is also recognised with awards. The Bronze this year went to a prototype D&I beverage can entered by steelmaker ArcelorMittal, in which the starting gauge for the coil is 0.18mm, some 15 percent less than the industry average of 0.21mm, offering a 15 percent weight reduction for the finished can. Lower consumption of metal offers cost-saving benefits throughout the supply chain, says ArcelorMittal, and the lower gauges can be incorporated into canmaking lines with limited modifications, giving a quick return on investment.