Leader of the Six-Pack

Members of the Assn. of Industrial Metallizers, Coaters & Laminators hitched their horses to a Texas hoedown-style venue at the annual winter meeting held March 14-18 at Hyatt Lost Pines Resort in Austin. Included at the opening reception were live armadillo races (my armadillo was fascinated with Leo Nadolske), jail breaking (took me only 5 seconds), cow pie shuffleboard (I wasn't the worst), and frisbee tossing (representing something even less appetizing than cow pies).

The next few days took a more back-to-business approach with keynote speaker Chris Wallace of Fox News fame sharing professional experiences never captured on tape, including the now infamous Bill Clinton interview. He also gave his opinion on whether or not President George W. Bush had become a lame duck, the “insane” early obsession with the 2008 elections, the Iraq strategy, and Democratic and Republican presidential hopefuls.

Dr. Tom Steiner followed, describing himself as a corporate “EnterTRAINer,” and addressed the constancy of change. In today's fast-paced corporate environment, he said, companies and the people who lead them will be successful only if they can both react and anticipate change with speed and agility. Maintaining a sense of humor may help make the journey fun, he added.

Dr. William Llewelyn of AWA Alexander Watson Assoc. provided valuable marketing statistics on worldwide labeling and product decoration, including consumption and anticipated demand; Simon King of PCI Films Consulting Ltd. presented the global outlook for the high-performance plastic film industry (also see PFFC, January '07, p30), including insight on the overall recent trends concerning China and India; Bill Balliette of Nova Centrix addressed opportunities in printed electronics; and Bill Stratton of Adhesives Research shared his first-hand experience with the importance of disaster planning and management in the event of a fire.

The concluding speaker, and perhaps the most anticipated, was economist Dr. Robert Fry of DuPont. He said growth slowed in 2006 and projected how 2007 will shape up. The most important news here is that Fry does not anticipate a true recession; however, the US is in the middle of a mid-cycle slowdown. He forecasts that growth will remain below trend in 2007, but he expects improvement in 2008.

Product of the Year

Another highlight of the winter meeting is the presentation of awards for AIMCAL's metallized and coated product competition. Judges unanimously awarded the product of the year to Graphic Packaging Intl., Marietta, GA, for a six-pack carrier for Miller Brewing Co. A “brewski” never looked so dressed up for the holidays.

Earning highest marks in technical and marketing categories for dazzle-factor appeal, Graphic Packaging's Beverage Div. structurally designed and converted the carton, utilizing holographic film metallized and supplied by Spectratek Technologies, Los Angeles, CA. Converted at GP's Golden, CO, facility, the substrate sported ultraviolet (UV) flexographic inks with the blue ink on the lens-patterned hologram effecting a holiday twinkle.

Electron beam coatings (perhaps, judges suspected, among the first commercial applications) imparted a smooth brightness to the carton's interior as well as to the holographic cell dividers. Structurally, the film is laminated to the kraft side of the Aqua-Kote board at GP's Tuscaloosa, AL, plant, positioning the white clay coat on the inside of the finished carrier to reflect light and present an ultra-clean look.

Puffing up Tissue Sales

A marketing award went to Unifoil Corp., Fairfield, NJ, in the healthcare category for a holographic family of cartons designed for a back-to-school promotion of Puffs tissues from Procter & Gamble, Cincinnati, OH. Designed and contract packaged by Specialized Packaging Group, London, ON, Canada, and Rock-Tenn Co., Norcross, GA, the holographic, acrylic-coated Unilustre transfer-metallized paper/paperboard construction is converted by Unifoil in four patterns and combined with graphics to generate a wide array of designs.

Unifoil employs film from Toray Plastics (America), North Kingstown, RI, metallized by Crown Roll Leaf, Paterson, NJ, to transfer-metallize the Unilustre paper and follows with lamination to 16-pt solid bleached sulfate (SBS) employing Ultraflex adhesive to prevent stress cracking at the folds and corners.

Multifaceted Success

A gift box for Elizabeth Arden, New York, NY, captured a marketing award for Hazen Paper Co., Holyoke, MA, in the healthcare, cosmetics, and toiletries category for Elizabeth Taylor White Diamonds. Unlike previous award-winning entries for this product, a bidirectional dot pattern replicates embossing of diamond facets to earn the nod from judges this year.

The box, designed and contract packaged by Hub Folding Box, Mansfield, MA, features 48-ga silver metallized polyethylene terephthalate (PET) from Adherent Technology, Granby, CT, laminated to the coated side (Hazen's Ultracure acrylic lacquer) of 20-pt SBS with water-based adhesive. The gold-tone holographic effect, achieved via a surface-stamped metallized transfer film, is maximized due to the silver base.

Smooth as Silk

Winning a marketing award in the decorative display category, Unifoil achieved an upscale image with an assist from Celpast for metallizing eye-catching blue holiday gift boxes for Grey Goose Vodka from Bacardi USA, Miami, FL. Judges thought the execution was flawless, noting elegance was preserved even during consumer handling with the addition of a two-tone blue matte and gloss-printed surface that discourages fingerprints. Two windowed display cartons comprise acrylic-coated, low-haze, 48-ga metallized PET from Toray laminated to 28-pt SBS to provide strength that compensates for the large window area. The larger box, holding a bottle and martini glass, incorporates a three-panel magnetic closure, reportedly the first of its kind. Hub Folding Box provided contract packaging and package design services.

Technology by the Bowlful

Graphic Packaging deserved a second technical award in the food category for a dual-susceptor pot-pie package for Heinz South Africa, Paarl, South Africa. Heinz SA attempted to simplify preparation by introducing microwave (MW) use to reduce cooking time. Incorporating a dual susceptor technology, the new packaging system, designed and converted by GP, replaces a traditional carton and MW-unfriendly aluminum bowl with a dual-ovenable QwikCrisp Pot Pie Bowl and a patterned MicroFlex-Q patch susceptor for the carton.

The combined packaging system results in a browned crust for both top and bottom while cooking time is cut from 30-35 min to just 5 min. GP converts the uncoated paperboard/adhesive/susceptor/48-ga metallized PET bowl via a patented process to laminate SBS from International Paper, Memphis, TN, with a high-temperature-resistant metallized PET film from Celplast Metallized Products, Toronto, ON, Canada. The carton's MicroFlex-Q patch (also converted by GP) integrates a patterned susceptor from Rol-Vac, Dayville, CT, that GP adheres to PET film. The combined susceptor and PET film then are adhesive laminated to paper to form the MicroFlex-Q patch comprising a construction of paper/adhesive/patterned susceptor/48-ga PET. The patch then is mounted to the interior side of the carton by GP to run on high-speed packaging lines.

Moisture Hangup

Vacumet won a second technical award, this time in the nonfood category, that extended the use of metallized products to a household product called DampRid Hanging Moisture Absorber from DampRid, Orlando, FL. The dehumidifying product is a hanger-mounted, dual-chamber pouch that contains moisture-absorbing calcium carbonate with a deodorizer in the top chamber and lower chamber for water collection. To provide the necessary permeability that allows the calcium carbonate to work, the front of the top pouch features a printed synthetic paper. The metallized laminate achieves enough opacity (with an optical reading of 0.40) to discourage light transmission and prevent bacteria/mold growth, but it also provides enough transparency so the user can determine the water level in the pouch. The construction primarily consists of metallized PET/2-mil LDPE laminate with Vacumet performing metallizing on the PET from DuPont Teijin Films, Hopewell, VA. The pouch converter is Star Packaging, College Park, GA.

Glass Tradition Broken

Celplast was honored with a marketing award in the food category for metallizing a film Siptop Packaging, Mississauga, ON, Canada, uses for its pouched IV-Iced Vodka frozen cocktail. A notched easy-open tear feature and tapered top facilitate sipping the vodka slushy in a straw-like fashion. The pouch is claimed easy to store, occupies less shelf space, and weighs less than the same-volumed bottles or cans it replaces.

The three-layered structure, converted by Packall Packaging, Brampton, ON, Canada, comprises reverse-printed 48-ga PET/metallized 60-ga nylon and a 3-mil blend of ethylene vinyl alcohol (EVOH) and linear-low-density PE to provide good sealability and minimize leaking. The nylon contributes durability and puncture resistance to the structure, while the metallization (performed by Celplast) and the EVOH in the sealant layer provide the required oxygen barrier.

Strength Under Water

A technical award in the label, retail category, was bestowed on Vacumet Corp., Franklin, MA, for its rendition of a holographic label for Miller Brewing's holiday promotion of Miller Lite beer. Vacumet's HoloPRISM holographic wet-strength substrate utilizes conventional inks gravure-printed at Multi-Color, Corp., Norway, MI. An opaque white accentuates the graphics while also highlighting the diffractive quality of the stock crystal ice flake/chipped glass hologram pattern. Graphics complement the holiday six-pack carrier that won this year's Product of the Year award.

A drop-in replacement for Vacumet's metallized VacuBrite paper that Miller typically uses for its labels, the HoloPRISM holographic paper provides ink adhesion, rub resistance, and printing and cutting performance. The label reportedly can be applied and adheres at normal line speeds and can withstand submersion in ice water.

Judging was hosted by PFFC and chaired by Steve Sedlak, sales manager, ESK, a Ceradyne co., Saline, MI. The expert judges included Travis Funk, senior packaging engineer, Diageo; Panos Kinigakis, CPP, senior technology principal R&D, Kraft Foods; Stan Kopecky, packaging consultant, SJK Packaging Assoc.; Paula Record, CPP, senior development engineering manager, Packaging, Unilever Home and Personal Care North America; Dean Lindsay, principal, dean LINDSAYdesign; Melissa Larson, managing editor, Converting magazine; and Yolanda Simonsis, associate publisher/editor, PFFC.


Film is No Slipup

MTI Polyexe, Brentwood, NH, won Technology of the Year for its anti-skid, rough surface, blown film used for building and construction applications. The weather-resistant material, incorporating UV barrier additives, becomes an intrinsic part of the building, such as in sub-roofing applications, while permitting safe walking conditions even when wet. Produced in one pass, the film is said to provide better UV protection and coefficient of friction at a lower cost and exhibits good strength properties; can be laminated to virtually any substrate; and comes in unlimited colors.

Committee chair Steve Sedlak once again moderated the competition with judges from the AIMCAL Technical Advisory Panel, including Larry Gogolin of Gogolin & Assoc.; Ed Cohen of Edward D. Cohen Consulting; Eldridge Mount of EMMOUNT Technologies; John Fenn of Fennagain; and Charles Bishop of Charles Bishop Consulting Ltd.

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