Metal has been used as a major packaging material for two centuries.
In this unit we
will discuss its history as a packaging material, metals used for packaging, types of metal
packages, can manufacturing processes, and foil.
History of Metal Packaging
The history of metal packaging is quite involved, so I am not going to describe it much
here (PKG 221 is the course on metal packaging and will have more detail).
notable accomplishment is the invention of the food can.
In 1810, Peter Durand, an
Englishman, developed a process to make metal cans for canning food. Durand made his
container by rolling a rectangular piece of tin plated wrought-iron sheet into a cylindrical shape,
soldered the side seam, and soldered a circular piece of tin plated sheet onto one end.
Advantages of Metal Packaging
Compared to other packaging materials, metal has the following advantages:
Highest temperature tolerance
Highest physical strength
Excellent light, gas, and moisture barrier properties
Higher production and filling speeds (this is why so many foods and beverages are still
packaged in cans)
Disadvantages of Metal Packaging
There are also a few disadvantages of metal packaging compared to other materials,
These include that metal:
Can’t form into complex shapes such as bottles (although currently there are some new
aluminum bottles), pouches, and closures
Can’t be colored
Can’t be heat sealed
Types of Metal Packaging
Food and beverage cans are probably the most common and familiar types of metal
Metals are also used for other types of packages though and include drums, pails,
closures, trays, racks, pallets, and strapping.
They are also used as foil or as a metalized coating
on plastic and paper.
The most common metals used for packaging are steel and aluminum.
Steel has been used in industry for more than 200 years. It is made from iron by
purification, controlling the carbon content, and a
dding other materials to make “alloys”.