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Steve Cook, chief technical officer, Dayton Systems Group (DSG)

DSG is an engineering and technology leader, specialising in production tooling systems, products and services to meet the needs of the can industry. We are located in Miamisburg, Ohio, US.

The company was founded in 1993 and is well known for integrating its technology and numerous patents in bringing innovation and solutions to meet the needs of our customers and to expand the markets we service together on a global basis.

Among the broad array of speciality products that DSG offers are reclosable food and beverage can products, fully automatic, high efficiency bagging and palletizing systems for can ends, high speed shell and end conversion press tooling systems for easy-open-ends, high production vacuum cap tooling systems and high accuracy sheet feeding systems. DSG also offers machining and manufacturing services, engineering, technical support, training and field service.

I am chief technical officer and have been with DSG for 18 years. I am responsible for all technology at Dayton Systems Group. This includes product innovation, system innovation, design and engineering for products, tooling and systems. I interact with customers on all aspects of the technology from concept, quoting and scheduling, installation and service.

Consumer convenience

The continuing challenge for the metal packaging industry is to make the container more convenient for the consumer. Most of the innovation recently has been towards reducing the cost of the package and there has been little advancement towards consumer convenience. If you go to the grocery store today versus 30 years ago the can looks virtually the same.

This is why we are very excited about our new resealable/reclosable food can. Our Food Cap Can is an innovative, patented cap, and can design, utilising existing three-piece steel can technology, specifically engineered to replace full panel open ends, foil ends and sanitary ends eliminating the need for a mechanical can opener. Food Cap Can utilises standard can sizes, existing standard filling technology and existing seaming and/or capping technology, enabling high volume fillers of food products new opportunities in marketing and expansion of the can industry. The cap can be manufactured utilising litho or decorated sheets.

The DSG Food Cap Can is an easy and safe to open, resealable, tamper-evident closure that converts standard three-piece food cans into a lightweight, unbreakable counterpart to a standard glass jar. The opening force is much lower than a glass jar and the vacuum within the DSG Food Cap Can is not broken all at once the cap is rotated, unlike a conventional glass jar cap.

Another key feature of the Food Cap Can is that the curl is on the outside of the cap, making it much stronger than current lug caps, enabling it to be retorted without requiring overriding pressure.

Other developments

DSG has developed a hydraforming process, which expands, embosses and debosses aluminium and steel cans, three-piece and D&I. Due to the gentle forming process of the hydraforming, the expansion percentage of the can or cylinder is greater than current punch and die expansion equipment. Unlike existing expansion or stretching equipment that require expanding segments which leave gaps or tooling marks in the can, DSG hydraforming process is smooth and conforming allowing for virtually infinite shapes and profiles in the can.

Also in development at DSG is the pasteurizable and retortable version of the beverage Cap Can container, for beverage categories including beer, juices, milk and nutritional drinks. Having passed internal testing at DSG, such as pressure testing and product process testing, the Cap Can beverage ends and caps will be tested by a can maker in the next few months.

Our major challenge for next year is to build filler and consumer interest and demand for our technology. The heightened filler and consumer interest, we believe, will increase the can maker’s confidence to invest in our technology. We will be increasing our efforts to expose our technology and development abilities to both the can maker and the end user. We have confidence that in 2012 several of our development programmes will come to fruition and we will be able to grow. Innovation is like most things in life, if you do not continue to develop, someone else will pass you by.

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