Can you see me? Sonoco introduces clear alternative to metal version

By Joseph James Whitworth

- Last updated on GMT

Picture: Sonoco
Picture: Sonoco

Related tags 2016

Sonoco has introduced a clear can as an alternative to the traditional metal version that has been a mainstay packaging option for more than 200 years.

The TruVue can, with Sonoco’s patented FUSION Freshlock Technology, is made of multilayer plastic substrate that allows consumers to see the product inside.

The clear, retortable plastic can incorporates the metal lid and metal bottom found on a traditional can and runs on existing equipment.

Standing out from the crowds

Jack Sanders, president and CEO, said with more than 47,000 products competing for attention in the average supermarket, standing out from the crowd is increasingly important.

sonoco can
Picture: Sonoco

“This is especially true for processed and shelf-stable foods like soups, sauces, fruits and vegetables and even wet pet foods – products traditionally sold in a metal can in the center of the store, an area which is losing share to fresh products found on the perimeter,” ​he said.

“This new solution creates multiple placement opportunities around the store, including high-traffic areas like the perimeter.

“Changing consumer demands are driving the need for innovation among premium brands promising freshness, authenticity and improved quality from simpler ingredients.”

Sonoco said it is the first clear plastic can to withstand the rigors of continuous retort systems without overpressure, performing in high-temperature and high-pressure environments.

It provides a more uniform heating experience, a quicker retort cycle and greater strength performance throughout the supply chain, compared to competitive formats.

One such alternative is the multi-layer co-injection technology from Kortec​ (who was acquired by Milacron last year).

The Klear Can uses the same filling, seaming and retorting machinery as metal cans. It has a three-layer plastic construction (PP outer and inner layers, with an EVOH barrier).

Projects in the pipeline

Meanwhile, Sonoco has updated on projects through 2017 to expand production capability in composite cans, flexible packaging and rigid plastic containers. 

sonoco can 4
Picture: Sonoco

These projects include investment of $13m to $15m to grow composite can production capacity in Poland, $20m in investment in a composite can facility in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, which opened in September 2015 and will ramp up production through the first half of 2016.

It is also investing for a composite can line at its new plant in Shanghai, China, and possible development of a second plant in South China in 2016 or 2017.

Development of a rigid paper product technology engineered by its European rigid packaging operations for commercial development at its West Chicago, Illinois can plant. 

As well as extrusion and increased thermoformed portion control capacity at its Franklin Park, Illinois plant, polypropylene tray production capacity for microwavable food trays and blow molding capacity at its New Albany, Ohio, facility in 2016.

Sonoco is projecting to generate $450m in cash from operations in 2015 and spend $170m on capital investment.

Regarding 2015 performance, Sanders said targeted growth segments – Consumer Packaging and Protective Solutions – are demonstrating they can grow despite difficult economic conditions. 

“Through the first nine months of 2015, sales in our Consumer Packaging segment are up about 11%, aided by last year’s acquisition of Weidenhammer Packaging Group, while operating profits are up 18.5%,” ​he said. 

“Likewise, Protective Solutions sales for the first nine months of 2015 are up about 5% and operating profits are up 44%.”​  

Related topics Processing & Packaging

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