Sustainability, safety, new standards and complete production lines: SACMI explores the future of metal packaging


SACMI Metal Day 2019 – the 2-day event at SACMI Imola that brought together over 160 selected international customers from 29 countries – has ended after an in-depth examination of technological/market trends, complete SACMI lines for Ring-Pull and MASC Caps and new digital services for product personalisation, assistance, and preventive maintenance.

SACMI Metal Day 2019, a 2-day event, held at SACMI Imola to explore metal cap/packaging technology, trends and prospects together with an audience of international experts and stakeholders – not to mention over 160 selected customers from 29 countries worldwide – has now ended. It offered a unique opportunity to bring everyone up to speed on market trends affecting a global industry now worth €800 billion, an industry that packages 300,000 products every second.

The event got under way on 28th May in the impressive setting of the Auditorium 1919. The event was opened by the President of SACMI Imola, Paolo Mongardi, who gave the audience an overview of the Group’s businesses and performance as it prepares to celebrate its first centenary. Key topics during the first half of the morning included industry trends and prospects, sustainability and the circular economy, with talks being given by key European metal packaging representatives (e.g. industry associations, manufacturers and users). They included Michael Nieuwesteeg, Managing Director of NVC (Netherlands Packaging Center), Cor Waringa, Senior Global Lead Packaging Materials Manager at Heineken, Michele Arrigoni from the Global Packaging Division of Barilla, and Davide Rose, owner of the same-named packaging company and formerly project manager at BRITVIC.

“The future of packaging and environmental sustainability are indissolubly intertwined”, explained the speakers. Indeed, it’s a topic that will be crucial in both the medium term – with a potential window of opportunity for the metal industry as public awareness and standards focus on plastics – and the long term, also in light of new consumption patterns (smaller sizes and portions) and global social-economic changes (ageing population).

Such factors involve the entire metal packaging value chain, as the speakers scheduled for the second half of the morning clearly emphasised. For example, Lutz Thannhaeuser, technical director of Thyssenkrupp Customer Service, illustrated the company’s commitment to the removal of hexavalent chromium from steel coatings, while Alufoil (Bruno Rea and Guido Aufdemkamp) and Actega (Charles Weyhausen, sales manager) sung the praises of aluminium, which is 100% recyclable and can potentially be recycled an infinite number of times. Dplast (Petr Rozsival, sales manager), “supplier of quality plastic-making technology products for various industries”, based in the Czech Republic, was one of the first companies to take up the challenge of PVC-free cap liners, thanks also to its technological partnership with SACMI.

An enthusiastic, engaged international audience pressed the speakers with insightful questions, demonstrating keen interest in the enormous challenges and opportunities posed by new materials and processes that reduce environmental impact. The afternoon began in earnest with a presentation of SACMI technology for the industry, with customers being given an in-depth guided tour of the plant.

Customers visited eight plant ‘stations’; they saw several machines and lines in action, from a high speed manufacturing line for crown caps (a field in which SACMI leads the world with 70 years of experience) to the twist-off cap line, plus two major new SACMI products for 2019: the first, a complete Ring-Pull cap manufacturing line, integrates tried and tested SACMI solutions for application of the (PVC-free) liner and practical plastic ring with tab with the new PTS001 1,300 pcs/hour press. The second is the alu cap line: configured to manage ROPP caps and implement the MASC (Multicomponent Aluminum SACMI Caps) standard, this is a high-added-value solution that enhances safety and practicality. Again, it is a fully integrated line incorporating everything from press to lining machine and final assembly of the cap with the tamper-evident band.

Customers were also given the opportunity to visit the cutting-edge SACMI Closures Lab, which works alongside the University of Bologna. It is equipped to provide customers with a full array of cap tests right from the pre-industrialisation stage and its procedures have been certified by key players in the international beverage industry. Moreover, advanced SACMI inspection systems were presented; these provide a dedicated solution for each individual product and can operate on-line with high speed machines to ensure total output quality. One of the key design strengths of the SACMI range is its capacity to provide specific solutions for every possible inspection requirement within the metal graphics industry. Visiting customers were then taken on an in-depth tour covering everything from food container inspection units (SACMI Ulysse and iCan100) to beverage can quality control solutions (ElioScan and iCanEnd).

SACMI also gave customers a sneak preview of the new DecoCap360-3D (inspection of top, bottom and decorated walls) and LuggedCap360-3D (internal, curl, lug and side wall inspection) for twist-off caps. Both these solutions share advanced algorithms that allow for perfect 2D reconstruction of the image acquired in 3D. All-new for 2019 is Eclipsim Coat, the painted metallic sheet inspection unit used in a variety of product fields on which SACMI has installed a powerful processor and a high performance graphics card to achieve inspection rates of up to 6,000 sheets/hour. Lastly, visitors were shown the new CHS102 system dedicated to Total Quality Control of the high alu-caps used in the Wine & Spirits sector.

Following a visit to the SACMI ‘maintenance room’, an increasingly important facility for the management and preventive maintenance of machines and plants, the delegation transferred to the Dino and Enzo Ferrari racetrack in Imola. SACMI Metal Day continued the next day, focusing on a range of SACMI technologies and services, from the new SACMI S.P.A.C.E. portal – which integrates on-line assistance, spare parts and training on a single digital platform – to the innovative manufacturing support services provided by the SACMI Customer Service Division. Digitalization of production and processes was also illustrated, with a focus on ground-breaking metallic sheet/cap digital printing solutions and the new Industry 4.0-oriented plant re-engineering services that enjoy the skilled support of the SACMI Innovation Lab.

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