Milacron has sold its first production system for the production of its 'Klear Can' technology
Milacron has confirmed the sale of its first ‘Klear Can’ production system, the first-to-market clear plastic can that allows brand owners the opportunity to provide consumers a window into the ingredients inside.
After what it describes as “extremely successful” qualitative testing with consumers in Asia, conducted by Nielsen Market Research, the customer plans for the Klear Can to be in-market, on retail shelves and available for consumer purchase no later than Q1 2017.
Milacron’s Co-injection business unit developed the Klear Can, which is a disruptive technology in food packaging. Milcaron says the Klear Can is an “ideal alternative to antiquated metal cans” for fruits, vegetables, soups, meats, and other products.
Design advantages, such as the can’s crystal-clear transparency and recyclability, have led to the first major commercial sale of the production system for a large brand owner focusing on tropical fruits.
“After years of development and strong, positive consumer results, we’re excited to launch the Milacron Klear Can in key global markets. We are also thrilled about the prospect of transforming the metal can industry,” said Milacron President and Chief Operating Officer, Ron Krisanda.
“The Klear Can is fully recyclable. After consumer use only a small amount of metal remains on the can’s upper rim, the residual ring on the flange will separate during the grinding phase.”
The Milacron Klear Can is similar to many PP plastic containers with double seam EZO can ends found in stores today. Although it behaves like a can, it is recyclable. The base is plastic and the rim is a very low percentage of the package; so low, it is microwavable. The product is over 98 percent plastic after the can is opened. The PP Klear Can qualifies as a ‘5’ for recyclability.
Based on barrier layer percentage, Milacron says the Klear Can provides more than two years shelf life, and is also cost competitive to metal cans. The Klear Can uses the same filling, seaming and retorting machinery as metal cans, so minimal downstream investment is required. In addition, the Klear Can allows manufacturers the flexibility to mould cans at the filling site (i.e., via ‘through-the-wall’ supply operations), which offers operational efficiencies.
The Klear Can is a patented co-injection moulded, polypropylene EVOH plastic can, which Milacron says can be cooked and seamed meeting all industry standards, is BPA-free and designed to withstand standard retort pressures and temperatures (up to 130° C).
The product uses a single standard metal can end, and uses the industry standard can end double-seam process. Milacron says “rigorous testing” has verified that the Klear Can seal integrity is approved and proven safe and reliable.
Finally, while Klear Can is lightweight, it is also stackable and dent-resistant through all aspects of the manufacturing and transportation process.
Coffee fuels system demand
In addition to its Klear Can success, Milacron Co-Injection says its systems with Kortec embedded technology are now being used in the production of 100 percent recyclable single use coffee pods.
The single use coffee pod market has grown rapidly over the past decade and Milacron’s technologies ensure that the newly designed pods are able to enter the recycling stream rather than landfill.
“Recyclability is driving major design changes within the coffee pod market, and will continue to create new capital equipment demand to support this growing consumer product,’ explained Steve Morris, Milacron Vice President and General Manager, Milacron Systems.
“Today, cups moulded on a Milacron platform qualify for a ‘5’ for recyclability. A key benefit of an injection-moulded cup is the ability to mould features into the cup that replace the addition of costly components such as filters. This benefit also eliminates a second moulding process, scrap, assembly costs and part weight.”
Currently, most single use pods are thermoformed polystyrene and not recyclable. Manufacturers are eager to move to recyclable injection moulded PP cups over the next three years. Globally, there are ‘billions’ of single serve cups on the market.
Injection moulded cups, Milacron added, also have better mechanics, allowing them to use more shapes, provide wall and barrier consistency and produce better clarity in clear parts. These cups also have a flange seal off area and no barrier breakthrough.