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A thirst for innovation

Case study

Food and drink. Two things we can’t live without. And with the world’s population growing all the time, it’s no surprise that the food and beverage can market has grown 57 percent in the last 20 years. What might raise an eyebrow is the fact that over the same period of time, the use of virgin metal has decreased 20 percent and the packaging industry’s net CO2 emissions have fallen 50 percent. Lowering your environmental footprint on this scale calls for the sort of pioneering research and groundbreaking innovation which has propelled AkzoNobel Packaging Coatings to the forefront of the metal packaging industry.

One of our latest products to be introduced to the market was AqualureTM 915, which is helping the beverage can industry to become even more sustainable. Around 50 billion steel and aluminum cans are produced every year in Europe alone and most are 100 percent recyclable. In fact, recycled can metal can be converted into new cans, refilled and be back on supermarket shelves within 60 days.

That’s environmentally-friendly by anyone’s standards. But these cans are now becoming thinner and in turn are using less metal (known as light-weighting). This poses an extra challenge because it puts new demands on the coatings used inside the cans. These coatings perform a dual role – they protect the beverage from the metal and the metal from the beverage.

The launch of AqualureTM 915 was significant because it’s an ultra-flexible lacquer which flexes with the new lightweight steel cans, yet still retains a perfect barrier to protect the liquid inside. This high level of protection is becoming increasingly important, especially as more aggressive and flavor-sensitive products – such as iced teas and isotonic drinks – are being introduced to the market.

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