ENTRIES in last year’s Tube of the Year competition, organised by etma (European Tube Manufacturers Association), showed that the European tube industry had embarked on an innovation drive following the crisis in 2009. There were numerous new ideas in design, functionality and production technology; and the seven jury members chose the best tubes in aluminium, plastic, laminate and prototype categories.

Linhardt (Germany) was the winner of the aluminium tube award. The company impressed the jury with a combination of an aluminium tube and clearly visible tamper-evident protection. A coloured threaded nipple is attached to an aluminium tube that has a protective membrane. A pre-assembled closure and application device is then forced on to the nipple. The coloured nipple is proof of the tube’s integrity before it’s used for the first time, without the need to remove a spacer ring. When the user screws the closure and application device on to the tube for the first time, it perforates the membrane. The contents can then be applied comfortably and with pinpoint accuracy using the ergonomically-designed applicator.

A product from Tubex (Germany) came out top in the plastic tube category. The design of the tube body with its matt appearance is in appealing contrast to the high-gloss, colour-coordinated flip-top cap. The closure, which aligns precisely with the brand name, enables the product to be used simply and comfortably with only one hand.

Small burls on the upper and lower edges of the tube provide an additional, haptic feature.

 The application description on the reverse is particularly legible thanks to the white screen printing. The combination of silver hot embossing and the high-gloss screen printing on the matt-finished tube body convey a special touch and a high perceived value to the tube.

Linhardt was again successful in the laminate tube category, with its Multiflex product, in which an invisible weld seam is combined with an airless dispenser system that’s forced on to the tube. A vacuum is created by a special system when the user operates the dispenser, and a measured quantity of the contents is delivered. With each stroke the tube is increasingly compressed.

This laminate tube with an aluminium barrier layer displays all of the benefits of an airless pack.As the contents do not come into contact with the atmosphere, they can’t become contaminated,reducing the need for preservatives. As an additional consumer benefit, the special dispenser
functions in any position so the tube can also be used upside down.

Obrist (Switzerland) provided a shining example of the development of design and brandpresence with its Alu-Digital-Foil-Tube, which carried off the prize in the prototype category.
Using digital printing, photos are reproduced on thin PET or PP film, achieving impressive quality to match the original.

The film is heat-applied to the tube at the end of the tube-making procedure – either at Obrist’s plant or at the customer’s premises. The product offers marketers new opportunities to place an up-market premium design and brand image on the tube and on the retail shelf.

Gregor Spengler, etma secretary general, was highly satisfied with the standard of competition: ‘I’m particularly pleased that the innovations and prototypes presented demonstrate impressively what creative potential the European tube industry can unleash. Even during economically difficult times, member companies have continued to develop packaging materials and have invested sustainably in the future of the tube. That’s very encouraging and sends a clear signal to the European packaging market.

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