Hinterkopf machines and production lines ensure sustainable, economical production of cans, tubes, and bottles. In an interview, Alexander Hinterkopf, Managing Director and son of the company’s founder, explains how new technologies help achieve this goal and why in 2015 Hinterkopf made the most sales in the company’s history.
For the first time in 2015, Hinterkopf, which is headquartered in Eislingen (Baden-Württemberg) Germany, will finish the year having made sales of more than EUR 50 million. Naturally this is a figure that makes Managing Director Alexander Hinterkopf happy: "This demonstrates that the lines and machines that we have developed in the past year reflect the current needs of the industry. With our machines and production lines, customers are in a position to produce sustainably and economically”, emphasises Hinterkopf. The relevance of this topic is increasing constantly for manufacturers of aerosol cans, tubes, and bottles. The goal must be to preserve resources and produce economically, yet to continue “producing beautifully-shaped and aesthetic packaging that encourages consumers’ decision to purchase these products”, according to Hinterkopf.
Process reliability thanks to laser cutting
Central in this context is the new L240 cutting machine, which is the first machine to use a laser cutting unit to process cans without touching them. For example, this innovative technology allows more exact cutting after the extrusion of the aluminum cans. This prevents waste even at the start of the production line. However the precise cutting also produces advantages during necking at the end of the line. “Imprecisely-cut cans jam up the forming tool, which causes an unplanned stop of the system,” explains Alexander Hinterkopf. Since with the L240 the cutting result is the same even with millions of cans, time-consuming and tiresome changes of the cutting tool and its adjustment are no longer required. The first two machines were sold to Nussbaum, Switzerland.
Efficient shaping with thin wall thicknesses
Hinterkopf also makes a contribution to sustainable and economical production with the new N50.3 necking machine. As compared to its predecessor, the N40, it has ten more stations where the shaping process can be carried out. Alexander Hinterkopf explains the reason for this expansion: “Ever more frequently, alloys are being used instead of pure aluminum.”
The harder alloys allow the production of cans with thinner wall thicknesses, which means that less material is required. However, this means that the forming process must be done in finer stages. The N50.3 does this without a problem.
Digital printing for new decoration possibilities
Hinterkopf also put its first digital printing machine, the D240, on
the market in 2015. The technology expands the decoration possibilities for packaging significantly, for thanks to its enormous color spectrum, it can produce photo-realistic images and provide 360-degree printing on hollow cylindrical bodies. The first machine was put into production successfully at Ritter, for the manufacturing of plastic cartridges. Up to now, the D240 was used primarily for plastic packaging. “We also want to establish this technology in the aerosol cans sector”, says Hinterkopf, then he adds: “But digital printing in this sector is not so perfect yet.
However, our developers are on their way toward adapting the colors and lacquers.”
Successful model H240
“Our customers prove that our systems fulfill the requirements of the market”, says Hinterkopf. The best evidence of a system’s performance is when a customer purchases a second system to supplement an existing line. The H240 line in particular has proven itself. New H240 lines are running both at CPMC in China and at Montebello (USA). “The H240 is our ‘bread-and-butter’ machine, which of course is also state of the art,” laughs Hinterkopf. The interplay of solid mechanics and sophisticated electronics guarantees safe processes with minimal waste. There are already six lines running in Central Europe, two in Turkey, two in Great Britain, and one additional one in the USA. For many companies, the H240 forms the basis for safe and sustainable production.
In addition, the proven H200 lines were in healthy demand in 2015. Jia Tian in Shanghai, for example, purchased its fifth H200.
Another system was installed at Goldion in Indonesia.
Goal: Produce quickly with lower energy consumption
With the current increase in sales, Hinterkopf would like to see a pleasing trend, however he prefers to think in the medium term:
“Between 2012 and 2014, our average sales were more than EUR 40 million. Our goal is to average EUR 50 million between 2015 and 2017.” Even if Hinterkopf is satisfied with the figures for 2015, he still sees optimisation potential. For example, the result of the trend toward larger and faster lines and machines is higher energy consumption. Here there has been a linear relationship in the past: “Doubled speed means doubled energy consumption in the oven”, he calculates, then adds: “We are working intensively to use less at the same speed.” Especially the washing and drying
processes are a current focus when the concern is sustainable and resource-sparing production processes.
Hinterkopf can be seen at InPrint 2015 on stand F44