Unveiling a pioneering aluminium smoothwall tray product, i2r looks to shake-up the food pack-aging industry for good. Commercial Director, JON WEST, explains all…
Despite the fact that aluminium is amongst the most environmentally responsible metals on the planet, and thanks to recycling, roughly 75% of the versatile and lightweight metal ever produced is still in use today, leading aluminium foil tray manufacturers, i2r, have further increased the environmental efficiency of their products through innovation.
Having been in development for nearly a year now, we are delighted to be launching our patented and design registered smoothwall tray – i2r Ultra™ – a game changer in container design. Key to the design being a radical style of embossing that dramatically increases stress resistance thereby reducing the weight, price point and overall environmental impact of the product.
Partnering with Wolverhampton University, we progressed the detailed and complex project using finite element analysis (FEA) prediction software. Based on a redesign of one of our existing products, the prototype design made use of a specialist rib and base configuration to provide an increase in structural strength and deliver a reduction in weight.
The next phase was to subject the design to significant independent scientific testing and validation; for this we used Nottingham-based kA Testing. The tray underwent compression and tension tests, which were conducted against the relevant ISO standard, focused on ensuring that the new design could withstand the same or more forces applied to it following production, sealing, transportation and storage. In each of the tests, i2r Ultra™ returned a percentage increase in strength against both the existing i2r tray design and a comparative competitor’s tray, despite having a significant gauge reduction.
In the example below, the ‘crushing from long edge compression test’ saw i2r Ultra™ delivering an average of 27.23N – 28% stronger than the existing tray at 19.7N, despite a 10% reduction in weight.
As a market leader, our abilities to innovate are well-known. With i2r Ultra™ we have achieved a weight saving on an infinitely recyclable product and increased the strength over other competitor products. Ultimately, this design shows that we are working hard to address environmental concerns, whilst at the same time offering further innovation and commercial choice by increasing strength and presenting the product at a reduced price point against comparable containers. We are really excited about this new range and the benefits it has to offer.
On the base of the tray, we have included an ‘Alu’ recyclable logo and a ‘rinse & recycle’ message, both of which help provide the consumer with a clear and strong environmental call-to-action, assisting to further promote the already high levels of aluminium recycling. As an addition to our existing smoothwall range, we are initially launching i2r Ultra™ with eight foil containers and will be looking to invest in new tooling to expand the range further over the longer term.
We welcome customers to contact us to discuss this exciting project and how we can fulfil their requirements with either the initial products that will be launched or with investment in new i2r Ultra products. We are not abandoning our existing product range which offers the widest market choice but complimenting it. It is technically possible to incorporate this design throughout the whole i2r smoothwall range should our customers desire it.
We will be launching the new container on stand G45 at the forthcoming Packaging Innovations show at the NEC, Birmingham on 27-28 February.