A Greener Holograph

Posted: December 17, 2010

Gillette has added a high-end holographic effect to the carton of its Fusion ProGlide razor without the use of metalized lamination. It was accomplished with the help of a process by Diamond Packaging that combines Henkel Corporation’s MiraFoil metallic coating with new holographic technology.
The seeds for the ProGlide launch were planted two years ago when Dennis Drummond, senior key account manager of Henkel, suggested a coating to replace foil board laminating and hot foil stamping. The potential advantages were appealing, because the MiraFoil coating could eliminate an entire production step. “At that time, Gillette had a special board stock that was wet bond foil-laminated in the Northeast and then sent to their converters for printing,” explains Drummond. “This took ten to twelve weeks, whereas MiraFoil coating can be on the shelf for the printer any time.”
The sustainability advantages were also attractive. According to Drummond, cartons produced with MiraFoil replace film and foil laminates, which are difficult to recycle at best. MiraFoil can be removed by the de-inking process, and it can be applied to precise areas, allowing creative designs and reduced waste.

Pleasingly printable
The MiraFoil samples impressed Michael Marcinkowski, senior engineer, R&D, in Gillette’s global packaging division. “They looked really great,” he says. “We conducted trials, worked out issues such as vignetting, lay-down and blocking of the ink, and several types of printing effects to achieve optimal results.”
Although MiraFoil coating can be used on paper, paperboard, or print-treated plastic film, Marcinkowski says that the substrate board was important during Gillette’s trials. “We found that the smoother the board, the better. A smooth board gives a more mirror-like finish with better light reflection off the surface. Once we ironed out those issues, we put together production-like comps and presented them to the marketing people, who were satisfied with what they saw.” Marcinkowski and his team then implemented MiraFoil coating in Europe and the U.S. with Gillette’s number one brands, Fusion and Embrace.
Sustainability was monitored in the change from foil-laminated board to the MiraFoil UV-based system. “The old technology could be recycled but had a different recovery value,” says Marcinkowski. “Plus, it’s harder on the carbon footprint because you have to send the board out to be laminated and then ship it back to the converter. With MiraFoil, you eliminate that entire process because you can print all in one pass, all on one station on one machine. The product lifecycle with associated carbon dioxide release is much better. When you do an analysis, such as with the Walmart Scorecard, the MiraFoil process gives you some wins.”

EAS-friendly as well
MiraFoil also enables 100% readability of EAS (Electronic Article Surveillance) tags, which protect merchandise from theft. According to Drummond, “Most foil board blocks the EAS signal, even when tags are placed on the outside of the package. But sheets coated with 100% coverage of MiraFoil were tested and did not interfere with the EAS signal—even when sandwiched between multiple sheets.”
After Gillette’s success with MiraFoil, says Marcinkowski, “we wanted to achieve a metalized holographic effect in combination with MiraFoil for the launch of our premium ProGlide Fusion product. I was aware of technology that could do this and worked closely with Diamond Packaging to implement it.”
“The holographic technology is an extension of Diamond’s greenbox sustainability initiative,” says Peter Cecere, director of business development at Diamond. Because of it, he says, “the ProGlide package meets very high standards. It reduces packaging, reuses material, and promotes recyclability.”
There are other differences that the consumer can’t see. The combination of technologies at Diamond’s location supports shorter lead times and cost effectiveness. And eliminating multiple steps with outside companies makes changes easier and response times faster.
ProGlide was the first product Diamond ran with the new holographic process. “Visibility was huge,” says Cecere, “and the margin for error was minute.” But the effort was a success. “We produced production-ready sheets on the very first press proofing that Gillette attended,” Cecere says.

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