Making the Most of Metallizing

The second European Conference on Metallized Papers and Films, organized by AWA Conferences, took place in Amsterdam, The Netherlands, February 5-7. Sponsored by the European Metallizing Assn. (EMA) — along with Applied Films, Alzenau, Germany; Chemsultants International, Mentor, OH; Intelicoat, South Hadley, MA; UPM Label Papers, Brussels, Belgium; and PFFC — the conference provided a forum for networking and an opportunity to learn about key technical advances.

In his keynote speech, EMA president Lothar Zapf of Hueck Folien, Weiden, Germany, urged conference delegates to define common interests at all levels of the value chain and develop and maintain a means of intense information transfer so everyone — from vacuum metallizer to converter and end-user — can continue to make the most of this highly functional and highly decorative material technology.

Zapf showed innovative examples of technical applications for metallized products, such as holograms on blister lids for pharmaceuticals; circuitry for car seat heaters, copper wire replacements; and a range of leading-edge hologram/kinegram opportunities.

The conference program addressed a range of topics and issues across the value chain. Conference chairman Dr. William Llewellyn, who spent many years in senior management positions with U.K.-based Van Leer Metallized Products, delivered the introductory paper on the market, which currently is being driven by a number of factors. The primary factor is the trend toward flexible and semi-rigid packaging, coupled with the improving quality and consistency of metallized film products and their excellent barrier properties.

Technical Advances
The main body of papers concentrated on process-oriented topics and on optimizing vacuum-coated and -metallized materials to deliver the best possible performance characteristics to converters and end-users. The industry's technical advances, both in terms of unsupported films and metallized paper and film label stocks, are providing converters and end-users with opportunities to introduce innovative packaging solutions, both functional and esthetic.

German specialty paper mill Schoeller & Hoesch, which supplies metallized papers to the beer labeling market, and U.K.-based UCB Films both provided an interesting material trends update.

A detailed look at vacuum coating specialities followed, with Valmet, Bedford, U.K., speaking on chromium metallization for outdoor holograms; the German Fraunhofer Institut looking at the barrier mechanisms of vacuum-coated films; and Henry Bernard of Oxford Univ. offering a “tour” of his department's new multifunctional pilot plant for the production and evaluation of multilayer films. France-based Microwave Energy Systems offered an in-depth paper on microwave plasma technologies and the associated processes, while Netherlands-based RTC&P Consultancy evaluated target and magnetron technology in the vacuum-deposition processes.

Water-based lacquers for metallized papers were covered by BASF Printing Systems, Stuttgart-Feuerbach, Germany, and the latest developments in coating and laminating metallized papers were introduced by Valmet Rotomec, San Giorgio, Monferrato, Italy. Galileo Vacuum Systems, Prato, Italy, showed how innovations in vacuum coaters for packaging are improving production efficiency, and Applied Films examined electron beam in vacuum coating films. Galileo addressed the importance of post-vacuum coating, slitting, and finishing.

For more information contact AWA Alexander Watson Assoc., Amsterdam, The Netherlands; awa-bv.com.



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