Lighter, more stable metal packaging

The topic of lightweight products is of growing interest to the packaging and consumer goods industries: for example, the less an aluminium aerosol can weighs, the lower the material and transportation costs will be. The aerosol can produced by Schuler’s ICON V-Drive vertical drawing and ironing press weighs around 20% less than conventional containers. Following a proof-of-concept project recently completed, the prototype is now undergoing in-depth tests by a well-known manufacturer in the consumer goods industry.

“We have proven that the new technology works and offers considerable advantages over conventional processes,” said Markus Röver of Schuler’s Highspeed Technology division. He believes that the process developed by Schuler will have a major impact on the manufacturing of aerosol cans: “It would radically change the current production process.”

Aerosol cans are mainly produced on impact extrusion presses, which only process pure aluminium. By contrast, the ICON V-Drive enables the use of up to 100% recycled aluminium – automatically fed into the press in the form of disc blanks – the production of which releases much less carbon dioxide (CO2) into the atmosphere. The award-winning aerosol can, which Schuler produced in collaboration with Tubex, is made from 80% recycled aluminium.

One positive side effect is that the cans have thinner walls than aluminium aerosol cans produced by the impact extrusion process, as the alloy elements give the aluminium greater stability.

Thanks to its compact dimensions, the machine can be installed in plants with limited space: as it combines the functions of both a cupping and ironing press, its footprint is considerably smaller. This also makes it easier to integrate into existing production environments.

Furthermore, the vertical drawing and ironing process of the ICON V-Drive – in contrast to machines with horizontal operation – prevents the negative influence of gravity on the slide movement. “This will allow us to reach high production speeds of up to 250 cans per minute in the future,” adds Markus Röver. “The precise set-up and consistent alignment of cradle, tooling and domer ensure a stable production process.” This cuts maintenance needs, increases die service lives and reduces downtime.

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