“The packaging technology we are bringing to market now is not simple to make, but it does simplify the packaging supply chain for our customers," he says. “Since the acquisition of Alcan, Amcor Flexibles is on a simplification journey. We have grown through acquisitions, and to remain competitive, we needed to standardize and streamline our own supply chain and production processes,” says Hilty. “It is not an easy journey, but we’ve seen significant benefits in the form of better product quality control, streamlined processes, and cost savings.” Getting its own house in order allowed the business to put an even greater focus on new product development. “We know many of our customers are also on a simplification journey, and we can offer them a portfolio of products that supports those goals.”
Amcor Flexibles’ product portfolio includes several new material platforms that cover a broad range of packaging applications. Each of these material platforms offers targeted barrier properties, simplified product specification and management processes, improved performance on customers’ packing/filling lines, and shorter lead times.
N-Gage is a high barrier lidding film for fresh foods and medical products that seals directly to APET trays, eliminating an adhesive layer. AmFlow is a flow wrap for dried products with low barrier. AmPET is a metallized laminate with medium barrier; AmLock is a foil laminate for products needing high barrier.
“Customers are seeing the value in our platform approach,” says Hilty. “For example, we helped a customer transition their confectionary business from over ninety packaging material specifications to just four with AmFlow. This then allowed the customer to standardize aspects of their own production process and realize cost savings. That is much easier when you have only four materials to set up on your machines around the world, instead of ninety.”
Amcor Flexibles also believes that their customers may see added marketing benefits through simplifying their packaging material to one of these platforms. The new materials will appear the same (or better) as standard packaging products to consumers, but the time and cost saving through efficiency gains will allow brand owners to focus more on interesting packaging features, the company says. Easy-open and reclose features, various pack shapes, and the ability to change graphics more often thanks to shorter packaging lead times aim to keep products fresh, convenient, and appealing for consumers.
In addition to simplification, some recent Amcor products offer a new approach to traditional packaging. One example is VisualCan, a shrink wrap film for aluminium cans with an easy twist off top. VisualCan protects the can’s top during distribution. The easy to customize printed wrap film and the twist off top help brand owners to run promotions.
Hilty adds, “Amcor Flexibles sees the combination of simplification and innovation as a way to meet our customers’ needs. It’s helping our customers to simplify on the production side, and provide consumers with innovative packaging.”