Innovative uses, creativity earn honors from AIMCAL

Judges for the Package/Label of the Year Award, sponsored by the Association of Industrial Metallizers, Coaters and Laminators, praised new applications for metallization along with the creative incorporation of holograms into packaging for snack foods and game pieces.

A new metallized label that replaces a more costly mirror as the timing mechanism for a bar code scanner won the Package/Label of the Year Competition sponsored by the Association of Industrial Metallizers, Coaters and Laminators (AIMCAL) during the trade association's 1995 Packaging and Label Competition.

The competition honored nine converted products. Winners were honored during AIMCAL's annual meeting in Phoenix, AZ, on March 15-19.

Impressed with the new application for metallization, along with the fact that the metallized label replaces a more expensive part, judges declared the Microscan bar code scanner timing mechanism label best-of-show.

The scanner is mounted onto manufacturing equipment, and the timing mechanism label assists in scanning bar codes of various parts in production. A laser pulse reflects off the mirror, scans the bar code and then bounces information back to a scanner which reads the information.

"The metallic luster of the polyester works well for this application because it reflects the laser pulse similar to the way a glass mirror does, and necessary tolerances can be held to ensure the accurate timing and reading of the laser pulse," said Joyce McDade, sales promotion specialist for FLEXcon of Spencer, MA. "Additionally, the metallized labels can be produced at a fraction of the cost of glass mirrors."

FLEXcon submitted the entry on behalf of end user Microscan Systems Inc., Renton, WA; the converter was Fascination Graphics, Seattle, WA; and the metallizer was Dunmore Corp., Newton, PA. with the substrate supplied by Du Pont Electronics Mylar Films, Wilmington, DE.

Technical and marketing excellence are the focal points of the AIMCAL competition, and packaging and labels containing a metallized substrate and currently in commercial use are eligible for consideration. The Package of the Year award goes to the package or label judges consider the year's best-of-show from all entries submitted.

The judges also gave a Special Award of Merit to a metallized fiber insulation that is considerably warmer than most conventional insulation. Several judges described the new product's unique characteristics as "innovative."

Another Special Award of Merit was bestowed on a non-packaging entry - inflatable hats designed to appeal to children aged 3-7 and men 18-24 who "enjoy being the center of attention, appreciate zany and offbeat products, and love a party atmosphere."

Other awards went to a variety of products as diverse as candy bags, a game box and a police car decal. Converters submitting the winning entries for the 1995 AIMCAL contest, listed by category, are:

* Package/Label of the Year - Fascination Graphics, Seattle, WA, Microscan bar code scanner timing mechanism.

* Special Awards of Merit - Ultra Fibre Inc., Granville, OH, Ultra Fibre insulation; and Anagram International Inc., Minneapolis, MN, Madkapps inflatable hats.

* Snack Food Packages (Marketing) - Hueck Folien GmbH, Austria, Cracknel chocolate candy Merci Crocant.

* Snack Food Packages (Technical) - Printpack Inc., Atlanta, GA, Brock Mighty Morphin Power Rangers holographic package.

* Nonfood Packages (Marketing) - Seneca Printing and Label Inc., Franklin, PA, Milton Bradley metallic series puzzles.

* Nonfood Packages (Technical) - Unifoil Corp., Passaic Park, NJ, Spiderwire Ice Line.

* Labels (Graphics) - Nameplate Inc., Gardena, CA, ProCaps Milk Cap game pieces.

* Labels (Technical) - American Decal, Chicago, IL, Ultra Leaf decal for State of Illinois police.

Package/Label of the Year

End-user objectives of the Microscan bar code scanner timing mechanism label included reducing manufacturing and selling costs while improving the scanner's safety. Metallizing solved both problems.

The metallized label replaces a $38 fabricated 10-sided mirror for a bar code scanner's timing mechanism. The metallized label also makes the scanner safer, since the laser pulse reflecting off the metallized polyester is less harmful to the human eye than laser pulses reflected off the glass mirror.

Labels are screen printed with conventional inks on a semi-automatic flat-bed press. Tolerances are critical since imprecise tolerance affects timing of the laser impulse. The label has a .005 overall dimension with a .003 concentric.

Special Awards of Merit

Ultra Fibre insulation was submitted by metallizer Vacumet Corp, Wayne, NJ, for end user, converter and substrate supplier Ultra Fibre Inc.

This metallized fiber insulation is said to be 30%-50% warmer per ounce than lofty polymer insulations and offers twice the warmth per ounce of thinner insulations. It's also breathable, soft and resilient.

Individual metal-coated fibers are produced through a patented process. A lightweight non-woven web produced of polymer fibers is then metallized. The new process opens the metallized non-woven back into individual fibers, which are blended with binder fibers and dispersed into a three-dimensional matrix through a carding process. The metallized fibers block radiant energy, maintaining warmth while allowing moisture to dissipate for comfort.

Madkapps Inflatable Hats was submitted by metallizer Camvac, Oak Brook, IL, for converter and end user Anagram International Inc., Minneapolis, MN, with substrate supplied by Dayton, Smith and Associates, Excelsior, MN. Anagram wanted to create a "fun product that would appeal to a fun-loving group of consumers."

The initial line consisted of six items, four of which utilized metallized film. The metal line has since been increased to nine items.

"Metallized film was used because it allows for the most brilliant colors," Tim Nacey, vice president of marketing for Anagram, said. "This was particularly important since primary usage would be outside, where sunshine would light up the colors and designs. Metallized film offered additional brilliance."

By applying its standard technology to this product, the firm was able to reach new products and increase sales. The use of metallized film added glitz, appeal and a party atmosphere to the product, whose initial retail outlets are party and novelty stores, amusement parks and festivals.

"All of these distribution outlets require the product to shine in order to capture target audience attention," Nacey said. "The use of metallized substances made this happen."

John Ramm, director of sales and marketing for Camvac, added, "We appreciated the opportunity to work with a top-notch converter such as Anagram on this exciting product."

Snack Food Packages: Marketing

Cracknel chocolate candy Merci Crocant was submitted by converter and metallizer Hueck Folien GmbH for end user Storck GmbH, Halle, Germany; substrate supplier Hoechst Folien AG, Weisbaden, Germany; and package designer Pahnke und Partner GmbH and Co., Halle, Germany.

The end user sought an attractive product with a design corresponding to the wrapped chocolate candies which customers can see through the window. A high-water vapor, gas, light and aroma barrier was required to maintain quality until the candy is consumed.

Oriented-polypropylene film is rotogravure printed and inline overlacquered. After metallization, the material is laminated against the second oriented-polypropylene film. Packages are processed on vertical flowpack machines. Printing and metallizing are protected against scratching in the sandwich, as well as during transport and stocking, by the sealing tools.

Candy quality is preserved by the high-water vapor, gas, aroma and light barrier supplied in the metallized film. Placing the printing inside the sandwich makes it possible to seal outside of the package, thus giving it more body and stability.

Snack Food Packages: Technical

The award in technology in snack food packages went to the Brock Mighty Morphin Power Rangers holographic package submitted by converter and metallizer Printpack Inc., Atlanta, GA, for end user Brach and Brock Confections, Chattanooga, TN, and substrate supplier Applied Physics Research, Roswell, GA.

Designed with the cooperation and creative oversight of the Saban Entertainment Group, which licenses the characters, this package seeks to use consumer knowledge of television personalities to generate interest in the familiar candy category. This approach generates sales for the end user and retailers while building audience loyalty for the licenser.

The package offers a dynamic shelf image with a holographic background pattern consistent with the character profile of the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers.

Printpack used its film-converting knowledge to develop a new high-speed web-embossing process to produce economical holograph images on standard flexible-packaging materials. The package is reverse-printed oriented polypropylene/metallized and holographically embossed on oriented polypropylene/heat sealable oriented-polyethylene terephthalate.

The holographic film is manufactured by applying a proprietary coating to an oriented-polypropylene film, embossing the film and then vacuum metallizing the embossment.

Nonfood Packages: Marketing

The winner in marketing for nonfood packages was the Milton Bradley metallic series puzzles submitted by metallizer Van Leer Metallized Products (USA) Ltd., Franklin, MA, for end user Milton Bradley Co., East Longmeadow, MA, and converter Seneca Printing and Label Inc., Franklin, PA.

To create a dramatically different visual effect for a new line of children's puzzles, the end user chose holographic puzzles featuring images of super-heroes. Since puzzles are often purchased based on their packaging, a replica of the puzzle is printed on the outer package, highlighting the holographic puzzle inside.

Using holographic papers, visual effects created by Milton Bradley's designers positioned the puzzle as an innovative and high-quality product in the marketplace. The paper used in this packaging application employs a traditional vacuum-metallized process with an additional step for holographic embossing. The paper is sheet-fed offset printed by Seneca and laminated to package-cover and puzzle stock.

Nonfood Packages: Technical

The award for technology in nonfood packages was given to Spiderwire Ice Line submitted by converter Unifoil Corp., Passaic Park, NJ, for end user Safariland, Ontario, Canada, metallizer Vacumet and contract packager House of Packaging, City of Industry, CA.

To differentiate its product from ordinary fishing line, Safariland requested a vibrant package to provide high impact and to support sophisticated graphics. Embossing provided a 3-D effect, and Unifoil used metallized film (acrylic-coated 48-gauge metallized polyester laminated to .018 solid-bleached sulfate) rather than foil to achieve this dynamic look. The brilliance of the metallized polyester is a perfect complement to the elaborate graphics.

Labels: Graphics

ProCaps Milk Cap game pieces received the graphics award for labels and were submitted by FLEXcon for end user Procaps, converter Nameplate Inc., Gardena, CA, metallizer Metallized Engineering Inc,Waterbury, CT, and substrate supplier Staufen Folien/VKW USA Inc., Wilmington, DE.

The end user's objectives included increasing the game's popularity while adding another dimension to it by generating collectable pieces and novelty items. To accomplish these goals, holographic designs were metallized to provide decorative enhancement of the game pieces and create at-point-of-sale attention.

According to ProCaps, the original game pieces were printed on plain white cardboard. Laminating metallized-holographic vinyl to the cardboard turned game pieces into collectibles and novelty items.

Labels: Technical

The technology award for labels was given to the Ultra Leaf decal submitted by metallizer Vacumet Corp., Wayne, NJ, for end user State of Illinois police, and converter and substrate supplier American Decal.

The Illinois Police Department wanted an attractive decal that could be used on a variety of surfaces and could also withstand the harmful effects of outdoor exposure.

Ultra Leaf is a premium cast film which creates visual, 3-D illusion. The metallized film can be surface printed with text or graphics. Applying a clear coating to printed areas ensures maximum imprint life.

In vertical application to glass, aluminum er other smooth surfaces, the label can last up to seven years under normal outdoor conditions. It is resistant to humidity, salt, ultraviolet degradation, mild acid, alkalis and most petroleum-based oils, greases and aliphatic solvents.

Judging of this year's competition was handled by a distinguished panel of industry experts: Peter A. Rigney, PAPER, FILM & FOIL CONVERTER, Chicago, IL; Jim Kinstle, Juntas River Corp., Milford, OH; Yolanda Simonsis, Converting Magazine, Chicago, IL; Mark Wygonik, Flexible Packaging Association, Washington, DC; and Fritz Yambrach, Rochester Institute of Technology, Avon, NY.

AIMCAL is the international trade association representing the interests of companies engaged in metallizing, coating and laminating. Operating through volunteer leadership supported by full-time staff members, the organization sponsors publications, technical and managerial meetings, lobbying efforts on key legislative issues, awards and recognition programs.

Additional information about AIMCAL can be obtained from: Ed Weary, executive director, 211 N. Union St., Suite 100, Alexandria, VA 22314; 703/684-4846; fa, 703/684-4873.


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