One of the most exciting new metal packaging designs of 2018 crept up surreptitiously on us at The Canmaker. Hardly surprising, because it had been disguised as a Champagne flute designed to promote the idea of a lager having aspirations in elevated sections of society.

And yet when the Cans of the Year judges saw the aluminium flute they immediately saw its potential for promoting metal packaging as a quality product: as did delegates at The Canmaker Summit in Venice, who voted it as worthy of the Special Award.

Okay, so the Le Beck’s flute is expensive to make, but in the promotional context conceived by Anheuser-Busch InBev, it is as equally cost-effective as any mass-produced D&I beverage can, if alone for the publicity it has generated.

Other highlights from the past year emerged to show that canmaking equipment is being urged into the world of Industry 4.0, in which at one end of the scale operators will be able watch processes with a high level of transparency, enabling them to predict performance more accurately and minimise downtime and waste. At the other end marketing people are able to respond to consumer trends quickly by feeding data straight to pre-press and production to minimise lead time.

Decoration is the bottleneck in any canmaking line, and with digital print becoming available, holdups could soon be a thing of the past.

You can read in this issue how three-piece can welders are at the top of the wave, and better still using technology that can be applied to older equipment, so there’s no need to think your canmaking facility could be left behind in the Industry 4.0 developments.

Next May, less than five months away, this is the tempting prospect in store at the Cannex show in Denver, Colorado, where The Canmaker will be backing conferences covering canmaking technology and can seaming processes.

If you want to keep ahead of the wave, you must be there.

John Nutting