How To Start Aluminum Foil Manufacturing Business

Souvik Dey Souvik Dey
Dec 12, 2020 7 min read
How To Start Aluminum Foil Manufacturing Business

Packaging in today's world has emerged as an integral part of brand promotion. Aluminum is a metallic element that is available throughout the globe. Aluminum was used to make vessels, tins, tubes, etc. but it is also used for foil sheets and containers for packaging food and other articles. Aluminum foil manufacturing business seeing a steady GDP growth in recent years. Aluminum foils are produced by continuously casting and cold rolling of aluminum sheets. They are prepared in thin metal leave. Aluminum foil sheets are rapidly used in the manufacturing of various kinds of containers as per packaging requirements. The consumers can heat or freeze food items in the foil container directly. The global aluminum foil packaging market is estimated to grow at a CAGR of 4.8% from 2017 to 2025.

Consumption of aluminum foil is growing fast in India. Consumers can directly heat or freeze food products in the foil container. The demand for aluminum foil packaging in the cosmetic industry will post a CAGR of 2.63% through the forecast period, and the market is estimated to be valued at 1.41 million tons by 2020.

Aluminum Foil Container Making Business

Key Properties of Aluminum as Packaging Material

Property Advantages
Appearance Bright, reflective gloss makes for an attractive appearance
Stability When exposed to air, aluminium forms an oxide layer that prevents further oxidation. It is also inert and does not form toxic compounds when exposed to most chemicals, including most foods and cosmetics
Barrier Properties Heavier gauges form a complete barrier to gases and water. Aluminium reflects light, making it a suitable material to protect light-sensitive products
Hygienic Properties Aluminiumโ€™s smooth metallic surface is non-absorbent. It can be easily cleaned and sterilised
Formability Aluminiumโ€™s ductility makes it easy to form. It has excellent deadfold properties. Its friability (ability to crumple) makes it useful for blister packaging
Conductivity Aluminium conducts electricity and heat, making it useful for applications such as induction heat sealing of containers
Recyclability Aluminium can be recycled at relatively low cost (recycling requires about 5% of the energy required to refine aluminium)
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Advantages of Using Aluminum Foil Container

  • Recycling and Recovery
  • Formability and Strength
  • Heat performance of the product
  • Decorative characteristics
  • Safety and product security
  • Barrier protection
  • Hygiene
  • Eco-friendly
  • Offers flexibility to manufacture in various shapes and sizes
  • Chemically neutral and non-toxic
  • Light in weight making it is easy and economical to transport
  • Can be printed, coated or embossed
Market for Aluminium Packaging in Percentage
Market for Aluminum Packaging in Percentage

Raw Material Requirements:

  • Aluminum foil
  • Lubricants
  • Packaging materials

Machinery Requirements

  • Aluminum foil container machine โ€“ Single cavity
  • Decoiler (Max foil width: 450mm. Nsk bearing)
  • Control cabinet
  • Press for single cavity
  • Air compressor
  • Counter & Stacker
  • Mold lifter
  • Scrap collector
  • Collecting table
  • Mould/dies

Production of Aluminum Foil

Aluminum foil is typically less than 150 mm in thickness. A typical water vapor transmission rate (WVTR) for 9 mm foil is 0.3 g/m2 per 24 hours at 38ยฐC and 90% RH. As thickness is reduced, foil becomes more vulnerable to tearing or pinholing. The most economical means of manufacturing reroll stock. The system continuously feeds, casts, chills, and coils the reroll stock. After the foil stock has been manufactured, it must be further processed on a rolling mill. The work rolls have finely ground and polished surfaces to ensure a flat, even foil with a bright finish.

Machine Process ( Fully Automatic)
Machine Process ( Fully Automatic)

Each time the foil stock passes through the rolling mill, it is squeezed, its thickness is reduced and its length increases, but its width remains the same. This means the required width for the final foil product must be set at the beginning of the process. The addition of lubricants to the aluminum surfaces also maintains the workability of the material.

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Foil Finishes, Coatings, and Lacquers

Rolling produces two natural finishes on foil: bright and matte. The foil surfaces in contact with the work rolls are polished to a bright and shiny finish. If thinner foils are rolled together, the foil-to-foil face of each web develops a satin-like matte finish. Other finishes can be produced with special patterns on the work rolls or, more commonly, by using separate or in-line mechanical finishing machines. See the below table

Type of finish Description
Bright both sides Uniform bright specular finish, both sides
Extra-bright both sides Uniform extra-bright specular finish, both sides
Matte one side Diffuse reflecting finish, one side
Matte both sides Diffuse reflecting finish, both sides
Embossed Pattern impressed by engraved roll or plate
Annealed Completely softened by thermal treatment
Chemically cleaned Chemically washed to remove lubricants
Hard Foil fully work-hardened by rolling
Intermediate temper Foil temper between annealed and hard

In most packaging applications, aluminum foil is combined with other materials such as coatings, inks, papers, paperboards, and plastic films. A very useful characteristic of aluminum foil is that it can readily accept many different types of coating materials such as inks (for printing), varnishes and lacquers (for embossing), adhesives, and polymers (for heat sealing, etc.).

Coatings generally can be classified as protective or decorative. Protective functions for coatings include:

  • Making the foil more heat-resistant
  • Increasing tensile strength
  • Increasing resistance to potentially corrosive agents
  • Enhancing the barrier properties of low gauge foil
  • Increasing resistance to scratching or scuffing
  • Increasing the UV resistance of a printed foil

Printing and Embossing

If the foil is to be printed, it is important to be aware that its glossy surface may make small print difficult to read. Reverse type is best avoided unless it is large. It is sometimes necessary to print a matt white background on which black type will be more visible. It is given a primer or washes coat to ensure a clean surface and to provide a foundation for the ink.

Aluminum foil is particularly suited to embossing. This gives both a three dimensional quality to a design and increases the number of reflective surfaces able to reflect light to create a more eye-catching effect. It also increases stiffness and allows cut pieces of foil to be easily separated.

Machine Process ( Semi Automatic)
Machine Process ( Semi Automatic)

Using Aluminum Foil as a Laminate

Lamination involves combining sheets of different materials into a single layer, using a mixture of adhesives, pressure, and sometimes temperature to bond the materials together. Aluminum foil is laminated on web-fed rotary equipment which sometimes includes a coating unit to add further protection.

Four methods are used to laminate aluminum foil:

  • Wet bonding
  • Dry bonding
  • Extrusion bonding
  • Hot-melt bonding
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Aluminum Metalized Films

Aluminum is the only metal used for vacuum metalizing in packaging applications. Initially used for decoration, ย  is now widely used in flexible packaging. It improves the following points:

  • Gas and moisture
  • Barrier properties
  • Heat resistance
  • Light reflectance
  • Electrical conductivity

Metalized films are often a component in a laminate. Batch processing is the most widely used approach to metalizing.

Typical examples of laminates using metalized films

Product Type of laminate
Coffee 12 mm metallised BON/50 mm LDPE
Savoury snacks 18 mm OPP/adhesive/18 mm metallised OPP
Condiments/spices 12 mm metallised PET/38 mm MDPE
Bag-in-box wine 50 mm ionomer/12 mm metallised PET/75 mm EVA
Biscuits OPP/18 mm metallised OPP
Medical products paper/adhesive/18 mm metallised OPP/ionomer
Cold meats metallised PET/PE

Conclusion

The popularity of aluminum foil, especially for flexible packaging, will continue to grow. Even aluminum foil is being scrutinized in regard to its environmental 'friendliness.' Hence, manufacturers are increasing their efforts in the recycling area. Aluminum foil also uses less energy during both manufacturing and distribution. The global demand for aluminum foil is forecast to report strong growth driven by consumption in major emerging markets. More growth opportunities will turn up between 2019 and 2025 as compared to the past five years.

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