Aluminum / Metal

Spotlight: Metal Packaging

Posted: July 5, 2004 by
Ron Romanik

At the Cannex expo in Denver, Colorado, The Canmaker magazine and expo attendees bestowed the top honor to Silgan's latest packaging innovation, the Dot Top™ metal food can end. The Dot Top is Silgan's latest "quick top," and offers easy-opening and reclosable convenience in a metal package.

Silgan's consumer-friendly Dot Top packaging is especially convenient for children and older consumers. The lid is very easy to open, and there are no sharp edges after the can is opened. This concept has taken off in Brazil, and is the next logical extension of an idea first introduced in glass lids.

To open a Dot Top can, the consumer peels back a small plastic dimple, or dot, in the center of the lid. The vacuum that holds the lid in place is released, and the consumer is able to easily lift the lid off the container. If some of the contents remain unused, the consumer simply snaps the lid back on, pushes in the plastic dimple to make it airtight, and stores it for later use.

Both the dimple and the hole it plugs are lined with plastisol, the rubbery gasket material found on the inside of most metal lids. The Dot Top catches shoppers' eyes on the shelves, as Hirzel Canning Company & Farms of Toledo, Ohio, has found out. Hirzel became the first commercial food processor in the U.S. to launch Silgan Containers Dot Top for its Dei Fratelli line of Presto! pizza and dipping sauces.

The technology is applicable to many categories in the processed food industry. It can be used for a variety of products that are hot-filled, closed with mechanical vacuum, or retorted with overriding pressure. Dot Top is the latest offering in Silgan's Quick Tops family of convenience ends, and is licensed exclusively by Silgan Containers from Metalgrafica Rojek of Brazil.

This technology, however, requires manufacturer investment in time and capital for equipment and infrastructure. The product to be put in the can also has to fit within certain processing requirements. The market, however, is in the midst of a massive conversion to easy-open can ends. The conversion process is slow, so if a manufacturer is converting anyway, the Dot Top might be a viable option.

Organized by The Canmaker magazine, the "Can of the Year" awards consist of 10 categories in which winners are selected by an international panel of expert judges. The Dot Top earned first place in the "Food—Three Piece Cans" category. The overall Can of the Year title was selected by attendees of Cannex, who voted for their favorite can.

"This award recognizes our commitment to delivering convenient, metal packaging solutions to the marketplace as exemplified by Silgan's family of consumer preferred EZO (easy open) ends," remarks Thomas Snyder, Silgan's vice president of sales and marketing. Silgan Containers Corporation is the largest food can supplier in North America, and parent company Silgan Holdings is a leading North American manufacturer of consumer goods packaging products with annual sales of $2.3 billion in 2003.