By Contributing Editor Hallie Forcinio
Microbe-resistant Sharklet™ embossed, vinyl overlaminate film from FLEXcon (Spencer, MA) has won the Product of the Year Award* in the 2017 AIMCAL Web Coated Product Competition. The Assn. of International Metallizers, Coaters and Laminators (Ft. Mill, SC) presented the award on April 26 during a special ceremony at ICE USA in Orlando, FL. The judges also recognized five entries with Marketing or Technical Awards.
The pressure-sensitive, clear Sharklet overlaminate is micro-embossed in repeating micropatterns reminiscent of a shark’s skin. The microscopic texture, patented by Sharklet Technologies (Aurora, CO) must be precisely manufactured to a specific height, width and depth and makes it difficult for bacteria to attach and multiply. The overlaminate may be applied directly to surfaces or printed graphics. It also many be manufactured as the outer layer of workspace mats to create immediate and moveable surface protection. As a result, high-touch surfaces stay cleaner between cleanings. Nontoxic, non-leaching and chemical-free, it’s an environmentally friendly approach to bacterial control and does not contribute to the development of “superbugs.” Research shows the micropatterns are effective against both gram-negative and gram-positive bacteria. Applications include any high-traffic area such as checkout counters, hospital waiting-room surfaces, airport check-in desks, seatback tray tables, common-use areas in gyms and foodservice counters, trays and tabletops.
The judging panel categorized the Sharklet film as a development with potential to transform the world by preventing transmission of illness-causing germs. “The number of potential applications, including packaging, is significant,” noted one judge. Another added, “It’s a huge market and could make a meaningful impact.”
The judging session for the 2017 AIMCAL Web Coated Product Competition was hosted by Yolanda Simonsis, president/editorial director, Paper, Film & Foil Converter, and Pat Reynolds, editor-in-chief, Packaging World magazine, both Chicago-based, and moderated by Mark Spaulding, chief editor of Converting Quarterly (Pleasant Prairie, WI). Other judges included Travis Funk, head of Global Packaging Innovation R&D at Diageo (Norwalk, CT); and Vincent Ditrolio, vp-Operations at Labels & Specialty Products (St. Charles, IL).
More info: www.flexcon.com, www.aimcal.org
* The AIMCAL Web Coated Product of the Year Award honors the late Peter Rigney, former publisher of Paper, Film and Foil Converter and long-time champion of the competition, who passed away in 1997.
Food Packaging: Marketing
In the Packaging: Food Category, Flex Films (USA) Inc. (Elizabethtown, KY) took home the Marketing Award for a 5-kg bag of premium Samaa basmati rice from Sulson Overseas Pvt. Ltd. (New Delhi, India). The bag features a front, back and bottom of matte-finished biaxially oriented polypropylene (BOPP)/metallized polyethylene terephthalate (mPET)/clear polyethylene (PE) with gussets of clear PET/PET/PE. A tamper-evident, three-dimensional slide-to-close zipper on the front panel protects product quality and eliminates the need to transfer contents to a reclosable container. A side-gusset handle shifts the center of gravity of the relatively heavy bag to make it easier to handle. To maximize shelf impact, bag stock is reverse-printed gravure in eight or 10 colors with toluene-free polyurethane inks. Uflex Ltd. (Noida, India), parent company of Flex Films, supplied the substrates and served as metallizer and converter.
The judges were impressed with the attractiveness of the package, the welded-in handle and transparent side gussets. “It’s quite sophisticated, and the matte finish really imparts a premium appearance,” commented one judge. “There was a lot of thought given to ways to create value for the consumer,” noted another panel member.
More info: www.flexfilm.com, www.uflexltd.com
Food Packaging: Technical
The Technical Award in the Packaging: Food Category went to Hazen Paper Co. (Holyoke, MA) for its role in metallizing, coating and laminating box wrap for a gift box for Godiva Chocolatier, Inc., (Wyomissing, PA). The box, designed by Godiva’s Global Design Group (New York, NY), features Hazen’s transfer-metallized Envirofoil® paper, which is micro-embossed, modified tip-coated gold and flood-coated clear. The nano-thin layer of texturized aluminum and lightly applied gold tint and clear coat impart a lustrous effect as well as scuff and crack resistance. Compared to its previous box wrap, the gold coating relies on proprietary colorants that achieve the desired appearance with 98% fewer particulates and a significant reduction in energy consumption to apply and dry multiple layers of particulate-laden ink. The transition to Envirofoil paper and the proprietary gold coating cuts costs 50%. Savings resulted from improved drying efficiency, which more than doubled line speed, plus a basis weight reduction of 25% to 60-lb paper. Verso Corp. Specialty Papers (Stevens Point, WI) supplied the substrate, while Burt Rigid Box, Inc. (Oneonta, NY), served as the converter for the project.
The judges were impressed by the savings in both money and material. Despite the reduction in pigment usage, “It’s a beautiful gold,” said one judge. “The package is simple, but quite effective,” added another.
More info: www.hazen.com, www.versoco.com, www.burtbox.com
Nonfood Packaging: Marketing
Unifoil Corp. (Fairfield, NJ) earned the Marketing Award in the Packaging: Nonfood Category as the converter for a holiday beverage carrier for Budweiser beer from Anheuser-Busch InBev (St. Louis, MO). The limited edition 2016 Holiday Pack carrier matches a run of 16-oz red aluminum bottles marking the anniversary of the repeal of Prohibition. Produced in three sizes, the carrier consists of a lamination of two weights of Carrier Kote paperboard from WestRock (Richmond, VA). Decoration involves UV-flexographic printing, transparent red ink and Unifoil’s Unilustre transfer metallizing. Selectively applied strips of metallizing on the front, top and rear panels eliminate gluing concerns on the packaging line and reduce package cost and weight. Toray Plastics (America), Inc. (North Kingstown, RI), served as the metallizer.
The judges concluded, “The selective metallizing adds value to the package,” and sets this special edition product apart from day-to-day beer purchases. The panel also appreciated the use of selective metallizing to maximize shelf impact and enhance productivity on the packaging line by providing a highly bondable surface for gluing. One judge commented, “If the side flaps had been metallized, you’d probably see some scuffing caused by the flap-folding and gluing process and contact with conveyor rails.”
More info: www.unifoil.com, www.westrock.com, www.toraytpa.com
Healthcare, Cosmetics & Toiletries
Packaging: Marketing & Technical
Hazen Paper swept the Packaging: Healthcare, Cosmetics and Toiletries Category, capturing both the Marketing and the Technical Awards. The Marketing Award recognizes a setup box for Cashmere Mist from Donna Karan (New York, NY). Hazen served as converter and metallizer of the Ultracure silver 48-gauge metallized polyester/80-lb coated-one-side litho paper box wrap. The design by McLean Packaging (Moorestown, NJ), which also served as contract packager, combines crackle embossing with matte ink and two-tone colors that impart the soft appearance of cashmere.
The judging panel found the faceted texture extremely appealing. “The embossing invites touching,” said one judge. “Convincing the consumer to pick up a package really helps sell it,” added another. “The execution is well-done, successfully accomplishing the tricky combination of film, graphics and embossing,” the panel concluded.
The Technical Award went to Hazen Paper for a setup box for Rose Radiant Gold from Michael Kors Beauty (New York, NY). McLean Packaging collaborated on this project as well, with Hazen serving as metallizer and converter of the custom rose-gold, acrylic-coated 48-gauge metallized polyester/80-lb coated-one-side litho paper box wrap. The brilliant metallized polyester base material provides an ideal surface for printing the custom rose color. Heavy embossing achieves an almost crystallized appearance. Dropping out the center of the embossing on the front panel maximizes the three-dimensional effect and boosts shelf impact in department store displays.
The judges were so intrigued by the sparkling effect achieved with the metallized film, rose color and embossing, they examined it with a magnifier and wondered how the look was achieved. “It looks like glitter, but it doesn’t rub off,” commented one judge. “You can’t damage the surface by rubbing it,” agreed another panel member. The judges concluded, “The sparkling effect definitely adds value.”
More info: www.hazen.com, www.mccleanpackaging.com