On 27 October 2023, Bobst organized a seminar focused on vacuum metallizers at The Lalit Hotel in Delhi. The event drew an esteemed audience from the flexible packaging industry, with attendees hailing from various regions across the country. The seminar featured a lineup of diverse speakers who shared their expertise. Sameer Joshi from Bobst discussed ‘Equipment effectiveness: importance of a strong local service team,’ while Nick Copeland, also from Bobst, delved into ‘oneBARRIER PrimeCycle & FibreCycle’ and ‘AluBond & AlOx GEN II: high-barrier metal & transparent packaging films.’
Chris Cheetham, regional sales director at Bobst Manchester, delivered a presentation highlighting Bobst’s newest vacuum metallizer, the Vision K5 HS. During his presentation, Cheetham announced that the Vision K5 HS would be assembled in India at Bobst’s Pune facility.
Saba Haque, representing UPM, gave a presentation on ‘Co-creating sustainable paper-based packaging solutions.’ Ricky Tejwani and Emeric Gras, from Kennametal, contributed to the seminar with their insights on ‘New boat technology.’
Gianni Zanatta, from Bobst, shared insights on ‘Customized coating solutions for added value packaging & consumer goods.’ Deepak Agarwal, representing Michelman, addressed the audience with a presentation on ‘The next leap of sustainable packaging solutions.’
Cheetham elaborated on the advancements in the new Vision K5 HS metallizer, stating, “In the previous Vision K5 model, there was a semi-stagger configuration for wire feeding. However, in the new Vision K5 HS model, we have upgraded to a full stagger. In the Vision K5 HS setup, aluminum wires are fed from all sides of the source, ensuring they are not limited to one side but rather fed from both sides.”
The advantage of the full stagger design is that the wire path leading to the evaporator remains consistent for every evaporation process. This results in reduced vibration and shorter wire travel distance. Less vibration and decreased wire travel translate to a lower likelihood of aluminum spitting. Additionally, the new evaporation source design features a 100 mm full staggered ceramic boat arrangement, greatly enhancing coating uniformity.
“Furthermore, the machine has improved efficiency with lower aluminum consumption and an extended boat life. Access to both sides of the source simplifies the wire feeding system and reduces maintenance requirements. To enhance performance, a pneumatically activated shutter has been added, leading to faster response times,” explained Cheetham.
The enhanced venting and pump down times, along with a shorter production cycle, lead to an increased daily roll output and substantial cost savings in production. As a result, the total cost of ownership for Vision K5 HS is significantly reduced compared to the previous model.
During his presentation on the latest developments in AluBond technology, Copeland delved into the AluBond process’ exceptional performance. He highlighted how it outperforms standard metallized films, providing higher metal adhesion, as demonstrated by the EAA peel test, especially in duplex and triplex laminates. Additionally, AluBond technology enhances the barrier properties for polyolefin substrates, increases the corrosion resistance of the aluminum layer, reduces metallizing defects, and ensures a higher dyne level with better retention.
Copeland emphasized the significance of AluBond technology in the metallizer market, stating, “I believe that today, we cannot offer a metallizer without AluBond. Currently, almost 100% of the metallizers that Bobst sells come equipped with AluBond technology. As a customer, it’s increasingly challenging to remain competitive in the market without AluBond. If your competitor utilizes AluBond, it becomes very challenging to keep up because it doesn’t just bring marginal improvements but rather substantial enhancements.”
When discussing the new drivers for transparent inorganic barriers, Copeland underscored the trend of delayering, which involves transitioning from a triplex to a duplex laminate structure. He pointed out that most duplex structures require transparency unless surface printing is employed or the sealant web is metallized. Furthermore, inorganic transparent barrier layers are typically more recyclable, offering an environmentally friendly advantage.
Copeland also highlighted how Bobst’s AlOx technology facilitates the delayering process. He explained, “The market is increasingly focused on reducing materials, downgauging, and simplifying packaging structures, moving from three to two layers, or even from two to one layer configurations. Achieving this with metallization can be challenging, often leading to surface prints. However, not everyone, including many brand owners, prefers surface prints and instead favors a more conventional reverse print. AlOx technology allows us to maintain that duplex structure by combining the reverse print and the barrier layer. This means moving from a three-layer material that includes a printed web, a barrier web, and a sealant web to combining the barrier web and the printed web using AlOx. This eliminates the need to metallize the sealant web, streamlining the packaging structure, and providing transparency.”
During the seminar, Copeland introduced Bobst’s next-generation AlOx deposition process – AlOx Gen II, which has been specifically optimized for biaxially oriented polypropylene (BOPP) substrates. In contrast, the previous AlOx Gen I was designed and optimized for polyethylene terephthalate (PET) substrates. The introduction of AlOx Gen II signifies a significant technological advancement, catering to the specific needs of BOPP substrates.