Aluminium Foil

Aluminium Foil ProductionAluminium foil is a very thin aluminium sheet with a gauge below 200 µm, down to 4 µm.

It is a key and efficient material, developed more than 100 years ago, and used in many different applications, specially food, beverage and pharmaceutical packaging, as well as in technical applications. The global aluminium foil market had a size in 2010 of 3.4 millions tons. China is now the largest producer in the world with 48% of the total capacity, followed by Europe (25%), N.America (14%°) and Japan (5%)
Packaging (food, beverage, pharma) dominates the global aluminium foil market with 60% of the total demand, 40% being used for technical application like heat exchangers (automotive or building), insulation, cable wrap

 

 

 

 

Aluminium foil properties:

  • Absolute barrier protection

Aluminium foil is an absolute barrier to light, oxygen, gases, moisture, bacteries and provides high level of protection, preservation, conservation of products characteristics for long period of time and without refrigeration.

  • Net saver of resources

Thanks to its barrier properties, its light weight and its infinite recycling possibilities, aluminium foil in food and beverage applications saves more resources than what it needs for its production

  • Recycling

Aluminium, as a material, is infinitely recyclable, without any loss of quality or loss of its properties. Its remelting requires only 5% of the energy needed to produce primary aluminium.

  • Mechanical Properties

Aluminium foil is maleable, foldable, formable and can be used for wrapping without losing its barrier properties. According to its thickness, alloy or temper, any shape can be obtained.

  • Hygiene

After annealing at high temperature at the end of its production process, aluminium foil is completely sterile and it is safe to be used in food contact as it will not react with a large majority of foods. In most applications, it is used laminated with another material.

  • Printing qualities

Aluminium foil , bright or mat finish, is compatible with all printing technologies.

  • Conductivity

Aluminium Foil has an excellent thermal and electrical conductivity, ideal for heat-sealing or high-precision and ultra-sonic sealing
  • Light weight

Aluminium is a very light metal (density 2.7g/cm3, one third of the one of steel), and therefore minimizes the weight of packaging used, and helps to save resources during transportation of final product and waste.

Aluminium foil production

Aluminium is one of the most common elements of earth crust. It is one of the most commonly used metals and its enjoys unique properties such as infinite recyclability, superior corrosion resistance, absolute barrier protection, high heat conduction, and very high strength-tp-weight ratio. Aluminium is used in many innovative applications in many markets like packaging, automotive, aerospace.
Aluminium production starts with bauxite mining, which is refined into alumina (aluminium oxide) and then converted into aluminium through electrolytic reduction. Aluminium being infinitely recyclable, more and more recycled material are used in the production of aluminium products, including aluminium foil. The recycled aluminium is melted in a melting furnace (using only 5% of the energy needed to produce primary aluminium) and has exactly the same properties and specifications of the primary metal.
Aluminium foil can be produced through he « DC Process » or the « CC Process », both process able, with current technology and equipments, to produce good quality of thin aluminium foil. For the DC Process, the aluminium foil is produced by first rolling heated aluminium ingots (hot rolling) down to coils with gauuge of 2 to 4 mm, and then cold rolled by several passes to the required foil gauge. For the CC Process the molten metal is converted directly (continuous casting) into a coil with a gauge of 5-6 mm, which will be cold rolled to the finish requested gauge.
When the foil has reached the final gauge, the coils are slitted to final widths and coils size, before to be annealed in special furnace. For many applications, the annealing of the foil is a critical step, in order to remove all organic wastes and be absolutely clean for food contact, and to get the final mechanical properties for optimized running.

Aluminium Foil markets

One of the largest applications of aluminium foil is flexible packaging, which includes aseptic beverage cartons, confectionary, bakery and other oven cooked products, coffee, tea and chocolate drinks, tobacco products, and pharmaceutical packaging.

Other large applications of Aluminium Foil include aluminium foil containers, where aluminium foil properties offer a great range of solutions for food packaging, and Household foil, which became in many countries an essential part of modern life, for cooking, or for many uses at home, or in commercial kitchens (restaurants, hospitals, schools, canteens)

Beside all these food, beverage and pharmaceutical applications, aluminium foil is also used in many technical applications, mainly heat exchangers for car and trucks, and building, and also for insulation and cable wrap.