From foil wrappers and household foil to semi-rigid foil containers, lids and laminated foil pouches, aluminium foil applications offer a versatile range of packaging solutions to meet today’s sustainability challenges. The physical properties of aluminium foil, such as the absolute barrier effect, lead to more protection and longer shelf-lives for the product contents, as well as better preservation of their nutritional and health benefits. The net result: less food waste and so greater resource efficiency. Also, less use of resources results in a reduction in the overall environmental impact and improved profitability.
In summary: More efficient packaging ultimately saves resources or, in other words, More is Less! The following lists some of the unique characteristics of aluminium foil and gives examples of how these properties provide resource- and energy-efficient solutions.
Barrier: Aluminium foil acts as an absolute barrier to light, gases and moisture providing almost perfect preservation of aroma, flavour and other product characteristics thus protecting product quality. It has a highly efficient barrier function to weight ratio, e.g., for 1 litre of milk packed in a beverage carton, only 1.5 grams of aluminium is sufficient to allow an ambient shelf-life of several months.
By enabling useful life of products for extended periods at room temperature, aluminium foil helps to reduce food waste and then to save the important resources used to produce the food. This also provides energy savings as products can be preserved without the need for refrigeration.
Product to pack ratio: In particular, due to the absolute barrier property even at very low gauges, aluminium foil allows for the development of packaging solutions that are both very efficient and very light. The product to pack ratio of flexible foil packaging is generally very high, potentially 5 to 10 times higher than for rigid packaging used for the same application.
High product to pack ratio means less packaging material is used to protect and deliver the same quantity of product. This also means less energy to transport the packaging whether empty or filled. And at the end of life there is significantly less packaging waste generated
Portion-ability: Foil’s excellent ability to be used alone or in combination with other materials (paper and/or plastic) provides flexibility to easily pack the product (food) into appropriate and convenient portions.
Providing food in appropriate quantities prevents both over-preparation and over-consumption which contribute to food wastage. Portioning also extends the shelf-life of the unprepared food by keeping it packaged and protected.
Material and space efficiency: Aluminium foil can efficiently be laminated with other materials to combine specific properties of several flexible packaging substrates in a complementary way for an improved overall performance and a very limited overall amount of material used. The reduced amount of material used in flexible foil packaging, plus the fact that it is delivered in the form of rolls, leads to more space efficiency during storage and transportation and enables further energy and cost savings.
Mechanical properties: Uniquely light yet strong, foil’s ‘deadfold’ characteristics allows it to wrap products tightly and without any glue or other sealing systems.
For household foil for example, the easy wrapping and reclose-ability helps to prevent food waste through appropriate protection of the goods at home or on-the-go and the possibility to efficiently preserve leftovers.
Thermal conductivity: Aluminium is an excellent conductor of heat and is able to withstand extreme temperatures. Alufoil is ideal for use in autoclaving, heat-sealing and other thermal processes (e.g. retort).
Excellent thermal conductivity minimizes the processing, sealing, chilling and re-heating times, thus saving energy and also ensuring a better protection of the organoleptic and nutritional quality of the food by flattening extreme temperature gradients within the product.
Electrical conductivity: Excellent electrical conductivity of aluminium foil enables high-
precision, contact-free sealing, thus widening the application range for efficient and fast filling technologies.The presence of aluminium foil in a packaging facilitates induction and ultrasonic sealing, saving materials and energy by minimizing the seal area and time.
Reflectivity: Aluminium foil reflects up to 98% of light and infrared heat. Good heat reflectivity saves energy during the cooling or heating of in pack prepared foods.
Multi-mode cooking: The unique combination of thermal, electrical heat transfer allows food to be cooked or re-heated by convection or microwave oven and/or in ‘bain marie’ systems. This flexibility in heating/cooking helps save time and energy during preparation.
Recyclability: Aluminium material is fully recyclable, endlessly, without any loss of quality. Increasing collection and recycling/recovery rates for aluminium foil and aluminium foil packaging means that an equivalent quantity of primary (i.e. virgin) aluminium will not be required by the industry. This represents a significant energy saving as processing recycled aluminium requires up to 95% less energy than the equivalent quantity of primary metal produced from bauxite.In Europe it is assumed that average recycling rate of all aluminium packaging is above 60%. The amount of aluminium packaging recycled greatly depends on the efficiency of the national packaging collection schemes in each European country. For aluminium foil trays and semi-rigid containers, the latest statistics show that the average recycling rate in Europe reaches about 55% thanks to continued work by the industry to promote the value of collection and recycling of aluminium foil packaging. For foil flexible packs, generally having a lower aluminium content since the packaging is often very thin and frequently laminated with plastics or paper, it is also possible to recover the aluminium from the scraps and reclaim it for closed-loop recycling, using specially developed technologies like pyrolysis. In the situations where aluminium foil packaging is not collected separately for recycling and enters an energy recovery process, a significant proportion of the aluminium in the packaging – even the thin gauge foil – can be collected from the bottom ashes for recycling. The part of aluminium which is oxidized during incineration is releasing energy which is recovered and converted to heat and electricity.
Resource Efficiency of aluminium foil packaging: For a given product there are often several effective packaging solutions able to perform the required functions. But some solutions are more resource efficient than others in that they use less resources.
Because of the combination of the unique above properties, aluminium foil packaging supports efficient use of resources and waste minimization throughout the lifecycle of the packed product. Not only does foil packaging help to save important food resources by offering optimised fit-for-purpose solutions with reduced risk of product waste, but it makes a very efficient use of packaging material over its entire life cycle.
Phase 0: Feasibility Analysis
The goal of this phase is to identify existing technology to achieve the intended high-level function. If technology can be purchased as opposed to developed, the scope of subsequent development phases changes.
Simply put, product development companies research and assess the probability that the current technology can be used to reach the intended functionality of the product. By doing this, the development efforts are reduced, which in financial terms represent a great reduction in development costs.
Moreover, if the technology is not yet available, then the assessment can result in longer development cycles and the focus moves into creating the new technology (if humanly possible) that can accomplish the functionality of the product.
This is an important part of the in any product development process because it is safer and financially responsible to understand the constraints that a product can have prior to starting a full development cycle. A feasibility study can cost between 7 -15 thousand dollars. It might be sound very expensive for some, but when it is much better than investing $100k+ to end up with a product that no manufacturer is able to produce.
Phase 1: Specification or PRD (Product Requirements Document) development
If your product is feasible, congratulations! you are a step closer to creating your product and you can move into documenting what is going to go into the product itself, aka the guts (product objective, core components, intended end-user, aesthetics, User interphase, etc).
In this phase, product design and engineering focus on documenting the critical functionality, constraints, and inputs to the design. This is a critical step to keep development focused, identify the high-risk areas, and ensure that scope creep is minimized later.
This document will help you communicate the key features of your product and how they are supposed to work to all members of your team. This will ensure that you keep everyone involved on the same page.
Without one, you are more likely to stay off track and miss deadlines. think about the PRD as your project management breakdown structure (BDS)
Phase 2: Concept Development
Initial shape development work identifies options for form, as well as possible approaches for complex mechanical engineering challenges. Initial flowchart of software/firmware also happens here, as well as concept design level user interface work. Aesthetic prototypes may be included in this Phase, if appropriate. Prototype in this phase will not typically be functional.
Phase 3: Initial Design and Engineering
Based on decisions made at the end a concept development phase, actual product design and engineering programming can start. In this phase, Level 1 prototypes are often used to test approaches to technical challenges.
Phase 4: Design Iteration
This part of the project is where we focus on rapid cycles, quickly developing designs and prototypes, as the depth of engineering work increases. This phase can include Level 2 and 3 prototypes, typically through multiple cycles. Some products require as many as twenty prototype cycles in this phase. Others may only require two or three.
Phase 5: Design Finalization / Optimization
With all assumptions tested and validated, the design can be finalized and then optimized for production. To properly optimize for production, product design and engineering teams take into account the target production volumes, as well as the requirements of the manufacturer. Regulatory work may start in this phase.
Phase 6: Manufacturing Start and Support
Before production starts, tooling is produced, and initial units are inspected. Final changes are negotiated with the manufacturer. Regulatory work also should wrap up in this phase.
If you are a DIY enthusiast, you may need a good welding machine. You can find different types of welding machines. Some are cheap and some are expensive. For aspiring welders, it’s a good idea to find out more about different types of welding machines. Given below are a few tips that can help you opt for the right equipment.
1. Consider the Type of Metal
Typically, the welding job is done on carbon steel. Actually, carbon steel can withstand a lot of heat. Therefore, it supports most of the welding machines you can find in the market.
Since stainless steel can resist corrosion, it’s a good choice for the storage of edible items or beverages. Moreover, it supports MIG and TIG machines as well. Aside from this, it doesn’t consume a lot of power.
Aluminum requires consistent heat in order to ensure that the weld pool doesn’t dry out. Moreover, the amount of heat leads to the deformation of the piece. So, you need a complex welder in order to work on aluminum. This type of equipment allows you to do pulse welding.
It’s a good idea to make an assessment of the metal that you want to conjoin prior to opting for a machine.
2. Choose the Right Amperage
The price of the equipment depends upon the amount of power it can produce. You need more current to work on thicker metals. So, before you make a choice, don’t forget to consider your needs.
For instance, if you need to work on a pipe or steel that has 1-inch or higher thickness, you need a stick welding machine.
For tin metals, you need a machine that is more sensitive. You need the right amount of heat to do your work
3. Opt for an Ideal Site
The workplace is also an important factor to keep in mind when opting for a welder. For instance, domestic facilities have 115 or 220 volts power supply. So, you may want to get a welder that works on either 115 or 220 volts. Some powerful welders require a three-phase power supply. So, you may want to keep this in mind.
4. Check the Specs Sheet
Don’t forget to read the specs sheet. It will help you know a lot of important things that will help you make the right choice. For instance, by reading the specs sheet, you can find out how much work a welder can do in a given time period.
Duty cycle refers to the number of minutes that a machine can weld. If you keep working even after the given time is over, you may risk damaging your machine due to overheating.
5. Compressed-Gas Requirements
Lastly, you need to consider the type of compressed gas as well. Common names include carbon dioxide, argon, and oxygen. Based on your requirements, you should opt for the right type of compressed gas.