Crown marketing director gives aerosol market insight

Lee Bradley, European marketing director, Crown aerosols Europe, a business unit of Crown Holdings offers an insight into the global lubricants market and how aerosol packaging technology is contributing to its future growth.

The outlook for the lubricant industry is extremely bright. According to the latest market research from Freedonia Group, 37 million metric tons of lubricants are manufactured annually around the world and this is expected to rise 2.6% per year through to 2015.

The emerging markets of Asia are enjoying the fastest growth, followed by Africa and the Middle East and South America.

Oils and greases packaged in aerosol format are enjoying particularly strong sales due to their ease of use and ability to minimise product waste through use of too much product. This is seen as a key benefit by manufacturers as they seek ways to boost production line efficiency.

There is intense and increasing competition in the lubricants market, leading brand owners to investigate new methods of product differentiation.

For lubricants manufacturers to distinguish their products from competitors, they must be able to communicate the unique benefits of their product to consumers, particularly with regards to performance and ergonomics.

Packaging can play a key role here, both in terms of creating shelf appeal and making products easy to use.

Increasingly, brand owners are discovering the benefits of aerosol packaging for their lubricant products.

There have been innovations in aerosol technology in recent years to maximize lubricant shelf life by ensuring the product doesn’t dry out inside the packaging when not being used.

Packaging suppliers are also making strides in the light-weighting of their cans.

This is making aerosols ever more environmentally friendly due to reduced resources required for their fabrication, while performance remains at the same high level.

In addition, modern blow-forming techniques enable aerosol cans to be molded into an ergonomic form.

Handholds and other features make products easier to handle and operate for end users than ever before.

External coatings, such as Crown’s Soft Touch varnish with its smooth, paper-like feel, not only enhance shelf appeal for retail brands, but also improve grip when the can’s surface is wet.

This makes them an important feature on aerosol packaging for industrial products as well.

The precision dispensing offered by aerosol packaging means that manufacturers can apply the lubricant at the point it is required to ensure optimum performance.

This is a key requirement for the application of grease, which is viscous to ensure it remains in place within machinery to reduce wear and maintenance.

It also allows manufacturers to use less lubricant as they can be confident it has been applied exactly where it is needed, minimizing costly waste.

Aerosol nozzles can be developed to allow manufacturers to apply lubricating oil over a wider area and into spaces that may be hard to reach for standard application techniques.

The wide coverage offered can not only reduce the amount of oil used, as a thinner layer can be more easily applied, it can minimize production downtime during maintenance as less time is required to lubricate the same area than with traditional lubricant packaging formats.

This has the potential of boosting productivity for manufacturers.

Sustainability of manufacturing processes and of lubricant products themselves is becoming increasingly important, particularly in the emerging BRIC economies of Brazil, Russia, India and China, whose growth is beginning to impact on the environment.

Lubricant brand owners can differentiate themselves in the marketplace by ensuring their product is sustainable by reducing product and packaging waste.

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