Following numerous successful conferences in North America, Applied Market Information LLC launched a new packaging event. The pioneer event Thin Wall Packaging Films 2012, hosted more than 150 delegates on June 19-20 in Chicago, Illinois at The Westin Chicago North Shore. Amongst which, were prominent brand owners such as Nestlé, Danone, Kraft Foods, General Mills and Barilla.
AMI partnered with Marbach Tool & Equipment as the headline sponsor, with further sponsorship from Illig Machinenbau, Cloeren Inc., Entropex, Greiner Packaging, Kortec Inc. and Polyfil Corporation.
Applications of thin wall packaging range from dairy ice cream tubs and yogurt pots to ready meals, bakery trays and long-life jar and can replacements.
The event provided an excellent forum for leading brand owners, packaging manufacturers, and suppliers to the industry to debate the latest developments and market trends in plastic packaging.
A range of topics covered include, market trends and drivers, plastics packaging materials, production technology, new designs, sustainability, shelf-life and barrier properties, or glass jar and metal can substitution.
The two day program was co-chaired by AMI consultants with extensive knowledge on the thin wall packaging markets: Jon Nash and Martyna Zimakiewicz.
In the inaugurating conference session, Amcor Rigid Plastics and Grupo Phoenix (leading FMCG packaging suppliers in North America) presented an overview of the changing landscape of rigid plastic packaging in the context of materials and design that helped the audience understand the role of innovation in consumer appeal and product differentiation.
Greiner Packaging (a leading European supplier of dairy packaging, with growing presence in the Americas) discussed different ‘green’ packaging options available on the market and stressed the importance of recyclability.
Product differentiation can certainly be enhanced by superior decorating technologies, of which in-mold labeling is a perfect example. There were a number of in-mold label producers in the audience, as new market opportunities in this segment attract research and development initiatives.
Printing Company Verstraete assured that IML not only allows for excellent graphics and improved shelf appeal, but it can also provide functional barrier properties to extend product shelf life, when applied in combination with high barrier multilayer filmic substrates.
Although IML is predominantly used with injection molded containers, the emergence of T-IML (in-mold label for thermoforming) is not to be overseen; Hekuma Automation’s second and third generation machinery designs are contributing to bridging the gap on the market with that in regard.
Nevertheless, brand owners and packaging converters must realize certain limitations of IML, especially contour doming, multi-dimensional curves and contours, as pointed out by Fame Technology Solutions. The company highlighted the importance of prototyping and the pilot phase in order to minimize adjustments on production equipment.
The thin wall packaging market witnesses technical developments in two competing production processes: thermoforming and injection molding. This Chicago conference provided an opportunity for an open debate – Illig Maschinenbau (represented by Midwest Plastics) looked at the benefits of thermoforming, of which cycle speed, high output and cost were key.
This topic was further developed on the second day of the conference by OMV-USA, which highlighted manufacturing advancements in the in-line extrusion thermoforming technology.
On the other hand, Kortec Inc. explained how co-injection technology for multilayer thin wall packaging can improve options for differentiated marketing, flexibility of design as well as scrap and cost control.
This topic is well known to Husky Injection Molding, a machinery supplier, which presented the advantages of using integrated production solution and hot runners (i.e. single source supplier responsibility, higher performance and integrated controls).
The manufacturing technology advancements are equally matched with developments of new materials. Braskem discussed innovations in polypropylene for thin wall packaging and the benefits of bio-polyethylene, while Kuraray America presented the latest achievements of using high performance EVOH barrier films, especially applicable for plastic packaging replacing traditional metal or glass packaging formats.
With such a successful premiere, the next Thin Wall Packaging has been set for June 18-19, 2013, at The Westin Chicago North Shore, Chicago, Illinois. AMI is expecting an even greater response from the North American audience.