The company claims that the new product is already generating considerable interest among packaging firms looking for new means of differentiating their products in the marketplace. With Creasteel, highly complex and original shapes can be produced with a minimum number of drawing steps.
In addition, major European fillers and distributors are currently evaluating the physical benefits of the material. Arcelor claims that this innovative, super ductile steel offers two major mechanical advantages; a very low limit of elasticity combined with a high capacity for elongation of over 35 per cent.
The improved performance of Creasteel in terms of deep drawing characteristics compared to standard steel for packaging and aluminium therefore makes its use of particular interest to manufacturers looking to increase packaging efficiency and at the same time produce value-added packaging.
"This new steel will ease the development of original packaging designs due to a simplified production process," said Barbara Martin, in charge of the processed foods division at API.
A press is usually needed for each drawing step, so by reducing the number of drawing steps required, packaging companies will find they can make savings through lower investment in tooling. This also means small production runs are possible.
API also claims that there are virtually no limits to possible can designs with Creasteel; severe conical and elliptical shapes, tight curves, and hard shoulders are all feasible with a minimum number of tooling operations.
In addition, a broad selection of closures are applicable with this material, including traditional easy open ends, direct heat seal foils or seamed rings.
Creasteel is also ideal for the production of shaped easy open ends. "With Creasteel, one can obtain optimum opening characteristics on a par with aluminium which until now has not been the case with traditional steel for packaging,"said Martin.
One of API's primary objectives is to promote this steel grade for packaging in the fresh food market sector by developing pre-coated Creasteel. API hopes that this will ensure the promotion and development of steel packaging in new and expanding food segments.
"We have great expectations for this new product which has a high potential and offers substantial added value to canmakers and fillers and an opportunity to differentiate their products in the eyes of the consumer," said Martin.
Creasteel was developed by Arcelor's research laboratory (Ledepp) in co-operation with API's factory in Basse-Indre (France), where it is currently being produced.