As I said in my previous article, the second consumer wish is the reclosability of the can or at least a covering of the opening to protect the content.
Some years ago beverage can manufacturers started looking seriously into this convenience wish of the consumer. Only recently the market has seen several developments for resealable can closures not from the large beverage can manufacturers, but from small up-starts and inventors. The Resealable End from Ball might be best known, but we will see the Smart Tab, the Soda Seal and the Can2close, all three very inventive in its design, only they come from unknown inventors and as such it is doubtful they will see the market as long as no large company is picking up the idea.
Let’s start with the Ball Resealable End.
The Ball Resealable End
In 2008 Ball Packaging Europe launched the resealable beverage can. The Resealable End is an aluminium can end into which a flat opening mechanism made of plastic is integrated. A simple rotating movement uncovers the opening. In this way the new beverage can retains its classic shape and also its usual stackability.
As the total amount of plastic material used in the end is small, the company claims that it doesn’t affect the recycling properties of the can. The end is very easy to open, reseal, and is completely pressure stable (up to 6.4 bars). The tamper-proof seal is retained, as the consumer can easily verify that the seal has not been broken prior to first opening. The new can end provides a barrier against light and gas.
The Resealable End is the result of collaboration between Ball Packaging Europe, Coca Cola and Bound2B, a company based in the Netherlands. It was first launched on the French market by Coca Cola for its 500 ml energy drink Burn.
Recently a Canadian inventor believes his patented ‘next generation’ swivelling beverage can tab will conquer the beverage market. Steve Archambault designed a ‘smart tab’ that consumers can use to open a can normally, but then swivel round to effect a non-watertight closure, stopping debris and insects from entering the can, preventing children from cutting their fingers on can mouths and reducing spillages.
The inventor claims that the existing resealable ones are made from plastic, which means they are not 100% recyclable, plus they are more expensive to produce. His tab, he claims, doesn’t cost anymore to produce than the present ‘stay-on’ tab.
Fact is that the curved end of his design makes it easier to get your finger in to open the beverage, as such an improvement, the benefits of his other claims are a bit doubtful for me.
Foboha’s leakproof re-closure
Foboha GmbH, from Haslach, Germany, a company of the Styner-Bienz Group, developed a production concept for a novel closure system for beverage cans.
The company claims that, for the first time, its closure provides a leakproof re-closure feature for beverage cans. The assembly technology is integrated in the injection moulding process, while the components are assembled in the automated process to produce the finished can top in assured quality.
As often the website doesn’t hold any more technical information or even a proper description about the working. Failing that, we have to take a look at the similar Can2close can end, which doesn’t help us a lot, as their website isn’t even operational.
Can2close can end
The Cans of the Year Awards 2012, organised by The Canmaker, an international trade magazine for the metal packaging industry, awarded Can2close GmbH in Germany the Promising Prototype Award for its prototype of an aluminium and plastics recloseable beverage end.
This design has yet to be commercialised, but is expected to be taken up by a customer in the drinks industry soon. The developing company, Can2close, is, like a number in the industry, funded by venture investors and expects to offer a complete manufacturing system that will enable drinks companies to buy the lids and incorporate on their can filling systems without modifications.
For this objective the Can2close design comprises a conventional aluminium end shell punched with a larger aperture to accommodate the plastics sealing system. With this design a plastics tab rotates to allow the flap to open, and be reclosed. Key features are the sealing o-ring under the lid and use of a tamper-evidence device.
But there also is the much more interesting Soda Seal.
Is the Ball Resealable End said to be pressure stable, the Canadian invention only covers the can opening without it closing it tightly. What the Foboha closure and the Can2close can end do, is not quite clear. In accordance with Ball, the invention of the Soda Seal by the Ukrainian inventor, Johan De Broyer, is said to be seal-tight.
Through inspiration of Johan DeBroyer, Robert Davis designed a device that not only prevents spills with its liquid tight seal, it also prevents gas from escaping the once opened cans.
The ingenious “Soda Seal” can appears like a standard beverage can, until it is opened. When the tab is turned the can becomes re-sealed with a water-tight and gas-tight seal, but also revealing a full-colour, high-resolution advertising messaging.
Davis, of Davis Advertising Inc., also sees the marketing potential of his design. He proposes using the surface of the seal to promote all types of ideas. From contest giveaways to corporate branding, the prime location of the seal provides endless promotional possibilities.
The can end as marketing tool
And with this we have left the area of technological improvements and entered the marketing potential of beverage can ends. The potential for using the can end and its closure as a marketing tool is proportionate to the more than 250 billion beverage cans consumed annually. The marketing boys and girls will have a field day with the options mentioned in this article.
After the more complicated Soda Seal, first a simple one. Designer Zhongren Zhang came up with the Spin Tab, a simple but effective solution to identify one’s drink when multiple people are enjoying a beverage with the same packaging. The Spin Tab concept is a simple improvement based on current can packaging that identifies one consumer’s drink from another.
Each beverage can has a coloured ring painted on its top. Once the drink is opened, the user spins the tab to the favourite colour to differentiate the drink from others. The selected colour can be seen through the hole in the top of the tab and provides distinction between different drinks at parties and at bars.
Designer Zhongren Zhang says the ring can be extended to different designs including mood icons, nations or rival team logos.
Some marketing ideas for can ends came from the Big Three: Ball, Rexam and Crown. It isn’t quite clear which one first started the colouring and lasering of the tabs. So, let’s just look at some examples.
Coloured and lasered tabs
Norwegian beverage company Mack, the northernmost brewery in the world, asked Rexam Beverage Can Europe to create a unique polar bear cut-out tab for its newly designed Arctic Beer series.
The new can design that had to have a strong appeal to young urban males aged between 18-35, positioning the product as a beer for the tough and adventurous.
The new twist is the use of Rexam’s coloured cut-out tab as a subtle but effective way to take their branding to the next level. Mack chose the polar bear as a symbol to reflect the products positioning and reinforce the masculine image in order to appeal to the target audience.
The first to bring the new laser-incised tabs from Ball Corporation to the market was Go Fast Sports and Beverage Co. of Denver, Colorado. The laser-incised tab is a solid, coloured tab that provides space for a small “billboard” for brand identity, advertising or promotional messaging.
Ball using state-of-the-art computer and laser technology is able to engrave letters, numbers, drawings or symbols on the tabs. The laser-incised tab’s technical performance is equal to that of existing tabs.
Many laser-incised tabs are produced under license from CanDO International Ltd., the holder of the U.S. patent and various foreign patents for laser-incised tabs.
Crown Superend Can
Crown claims that the SuperEnd beverage can ends deliver improved performance for the filler and the consumer with greater strength, enhanced appearance and improved pouring characteristics. SuperEnd beverage ends also feature a distinctive message or “billboard” area for marketers to print brand logos, special messages and co-branding promotions, instant win campaigns or to communicate with consumers about issues such as recycling.
This exclusive 45-degree angle countersink wall results from the unique geometry incorporated into the design of the SuperEnd.
Crown’s patented design uses 10% less metal than traditional beverage ends, providing significant sustainability advantages.
Toyo Seikan Kaisha, Ltd. is the latest can maker to license SuperEnd beverage ends. Other Crown licensees include Amcor Packaging (Australia) Pty Ltd., Nampak Limited, Showa Aluminum Can Corporation, Metal Container Corporation and Anheuser-Busch.
That was an overview of the various applications of beverage can ends.