Aluminium Wine Bottles Featured at Canmaker Summit in Japan


In Japan, wine is increasingly being consumed in aluminium bottles. It's a trend born of a need by wine lovers for alfresco drinking while maintaining the traditional style of container.

Aluminium bottles produced by Daiwa - one of Japan's leading canmakers - are lightweight and made in environmentally-friendly factories, ensuring that they are robust, easy to carry and recycle.

Called the Slim Wine Bottle Can, it won an industry award last year and is increasingly being adopted by wineries in Japan.

It will be one of the many innovations being highlighted at The Canmaker Summit, a yearly event where metal packaging professionals - they call themselves canmakers - meet and discuss the latest developments and technologies.

This year it is being held for the first time in Tokyo, providing an opportunity for the Japanese industry to showcase products that offer lower environmental impact - both in their manufacture and use - to a wider audience.

One of the two keynote speakers is Kazuhiro Tsujimoto, who is director of Daiwa's Overseas Division in its International Operations and will be talking about how canmaking technology that was pioneered in Japan is increasingly being adopted globally.

Daiwa's wine bottles are the latest development of a technology introduced in 2000 using pre-coated aluminium coil that has been licensed in the US for aerosol can manufacturing. It means that factories no longer have to apply solvent-based coatings with thermal curing. Energy consumption is dramatically reduced as a result.

The other keynote speaker is Hirofumi Miki, chairman of Toyo Seikan, one of the world's largest packaging manufacturers. Toyo Seikan is likewise spreading its environmentally-friendly manufacturing techniques overseas. In Japan, where demand for metal cans has flattened at about 30 billion units, one of the most popular drinks containers is the TULC can which has been supplied to domestic beer and beverage producers for more than two decades.

By also using aluminium or steel that is pre-coated, Toyo Seikan ensures that its factories have the lowest possible environmental impact. But there has been resistance to using it in the mature drinks can markets of North America and Europe - worth 150 billion units a year, half the world's total - largely because of the high installed base of established technologies. Which is why Toyo Seikan has been setting up its own operations outside Japan, first in Thailand and then in China with India and the Middle East now as possible targets.

Next time you drink your wine from a metal bottle, you'll be safe in the knowledge that its impact on your environment will have been as light as its weight.

The Canmaker Summit is being held at the Tokyo Hilton from 27-28 September and is organised by UK-based SPG Events. Tel: 44 1293 435100. www.spgevents.com

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