Aluminum foil has a wide range of uses. Relevant experts have divided it into more than 20 varieties according to different application characteristics. Due to differences in economic development levels in different countries, there is also a large gap in the consumption structure of aluminum foil. In developed countries in Europe and the United States, aluminum foil products used for packaging account for 70% of total demand. In the Chinese market, aluminum foil is mainly used as raw and auxiliary materials for industrial manufacturing, and packaging aluminum foil accounts for only 30% of total domestic demand. Although the development of aluminum foil packaging is relatively late, the current market is growing rapidly and the prospect is attractive.
The development of aluminum foil production and aluminum foil packaging
1.1 Development of aluminum foil production
China's aluminum foil production began in 1932, but did not begin to develop rapidly until after reform and opening up. Since the 1990s, aluminum foil production has entered an important period. Not only has a large number of advanced equipment been introduced, the level of production management and technology development has also gradually modernized and internationalized. This century, driven by the strong market demand, aluminum foil production capacity has increased rapidly. At present, there are more than 90 aluminum foil manufacturers in China, equipped with 66 modern aluminum foil rolling mills and 39 cold rolling mills. The total aluminum foil production capacity is 500,000 tons per year.
The development of aluminum foil packaging
Aluminium foil packaging began in the early 20th century, when aluminum foil was used as a packaging material and was only used for packaging. In 1911, the Swiss confectionery company began to package chocolate with aluminum foil, and gradually became popular instead of tin foil. Based on the success of aluminum smelting in 1913, the United States also began to produce aluminum foil, which was mainly used for packaging of goods, life-saving supplies and chewing gum. In 1921, the United States successfully developed composite aluminum foil cardboard, which is mainly used as decorative panels and packaging folding cartons. In 1938, heat-sealable aluminum foil was introduced. During World War II, aluminum foil was rapidly developed as a military packaging material. In 1948, food was packaged in molded aluminum foil containers. In the 1950s, aluminum paper and aluminum-plastic composite materials began to develop. By the 1970s, with the maturity of color printing technology, aluminum foil and aluminum-plastic composite packaging had entered a period of rapid popularity.
In the 21st century, the trend of market competition and product homogeneity has stimulated the rapid development of product packaging. The size of the global packaging market in 2002 has exceeded $ 500 billion. The development of aluminum foil packaging is basically synchronized with the development of the entire industry. In the Chinese market, aluminum foil packaging has developed faster for two main reasons: *, the gap between the development of China's flexible packaging market and developed countries is obvious, and the proportion of flexible packaging for consumer goods and food is small. Developed countries have accounted for more than 65%, and some have exceeded 70%, while China accounted for about 15%, and the proportion has increased rapidly in the past two years. Second, domestic aluminum-plastic composite and aluminum-paper composite technologies have continued to mature, reducing production costs and promoting The popularization of aluminum-based composite materials in China's packaging market.
Market Status of Aluminum Foil Packaging
近 After nearly a century of development, aluminum foil has become a major packaging material. Its market development has matured in European and American countries and regions, but in the Chinese market, aluminum foil packaging still has broad prospects. The following analyzes the main market of aluminum foil in flexible packaging.
铝 Aluminum foil for pharmaceutical packaging
In 2002, the global pharmaceutical packaging industry's output value was nearly 11 billion US dollars, with an average growth rate of 4%. The output value of China's pharmaceutical packaging market is about 1.8 billion US dollars, with an average annual growth rate of more than 10%. Aluminum foil is mainly used in blister packaging in medical packaging. Blister packs are mainly made of polyvinyl chloride sheet (PVC) and 0.02mm thick aluminum foil. Blister packaging has become the main packaging method for western medicine tablets and capsules. China's traditional Chinese medicine tablets, powders, capsules, pills and other packaging are gradually changing from paper bags, simple plastic bags, glass bottle packaging to aluminum plastic blister packaging. Blister packs have the advantages of moisture resistance, easy portability, safety and hygiene, etc. With the development of slow-release drugs, the market will be broader. At present, the annual demand for blister packaging for aluminum foil is more than 7,000 tons, and it is expected to exceed 10,000 tons in 2005.
Another important aluminum foil market is the production of aluminum-plastic easy-tear film (SP). At present, there are more than 1,000 such production lines in China, and the demand for aluminum foil is 3,000 tons / year. In addition, aluminum-plastic composite hoses for ointment packaging, aluminum-plastic composite bottle caps for liquid and injection packaging are also two potential markets for aluminum foil consumption. The current total demand for aluminum foil is more than 1,000 tons.
Aluminum foil has another potential market in the application of the pharmaceutical industry, namely aseptic packaging of pharmaceuticals. At present, there are only a few domestic companies producing aseptically packaged herbal teas and other health drinks, and no aseptically packaged liquid Chinese medicine has yet been developed. This new area will be an important potential market for flexible aluminum foil packaging.
Food packaging aluminum foil
China's food industry is in an important period of vigorous development. The emergence of flexible food packaging has greatly improved the mechanization and automation of food processing, and accelerated the modernization and socialization of people's diet. In developed countries, flexible packaging is mainly used for food and beverages, while the development of flexible packaging in China is relatively lagging behind. There are two main applications of aluminum foil in food packaging: one is aluminum-plastic or aluminum-paper composite packaging; the other is aluminum, plastic, and paper multilayer composite packaging, namely Tetra Pak. China's demand for aluminum foil for food flexible packaging is about 30,000 tons / year. The main fields of aluminum foil application are: 1) Chocolate and candy packaging. At present, almost all chocolates in China are packaged in aluminum foil, and their market demand is continuously increasing with the expansion of the Chinese chocolate consumption market. There are two situations for candy packaging, one is aluminum-plastic composite or aluminum paper composite packaging, and the other is aluminum packaging or single plastic packaging; 2) convenient food and cooked food packaging. Such as instant noodles, local specialty foods, etc. With the development of the food commercial market, the demand for this type of packaging is increasing, and the development prospect is very optimistic; 3) Milk product packaging. At present, milk powder is basically packaged in aluminum-plastic composite packaging. Liquid milk products are mainly packaged in aluminum foil cartons. There are large regional differences in China, and the regional distribution of milk products is unreasonable, providing a broad market for aluminum foil aseptic packaging. At the same time, there is huge room for the development of dairy products in China. It is estimated that by 2005, the per capita consumption of dairy products will reach 10 kg, the total output will reach 13.5 million tons, and the demand for aluminum foil for dairy packaging will reach 7,000 tons / year; 4) tea, coffee, etc. A considerable part of the product uses aluminum-plastic composite packaging, which is also an important market for aluminum foil packaging.
From the perspective of market development trends, fresh agricultural products and natural food (drink) products will become important development markets for China's flexible packaging. For example, fruit juice drinks and other beverages will reach 22.6 million tons in 2005, of which the demand for aluminum foil in flexible packaging is more than 7,000 tons. The vegetable juice beverage and seasoning processing industry will also develop greatly in the next 5 years. The best packaging will be aluminum foil aseptic packaging.
Toothpaste packaging composite hose
Aluminum-plastic composite hose has excellent barrier properties, strong anti-corrosion performance and good printing adaptability, so it is widely used in toothpaste, cosmetics and some industrial product packaging. For toothpaste packaging, in 2002, the aluminum-plastic composite tube completely replaced the traditional aluminum tube packaging. China's toothpaste production is 3 billion pieces / year, and the demand for aluminum foil for toothpaste packaging is 3,000 tons. In addition, the demand for aluminum-plastic composite hoses in other areas has also increased to varying degrees, such as: medical and health products, beauty cosmetics, condiments, industrial supplies, etc.
Development prospects of aluminum foil packaging
的 The development of aluminum foil packaging is closely related to the progress of material composite technology. The composite material is divided into a base layer, a functional layer and a heat-sealing layer: the base layer mainly plays a role of beauty, printing, moisture resistance, etc .; the functional layer mainly plays a role of blocking, avoiding light, etc .; the heat-sealing layer is in direct contact with the packaging item, and it is adaptable and resistant. Permeability, heat sealability and other functions. With the development of base materials and composite technology, the function of aluminum foil packaging will continue to improve.
Development of packaging materials
的 The development of the packaging industry is an important symbol of cultural development and technological progress. Since the 1950s, the rise of composite materials has caused a revolution in the field of packaging. The technology of material composites has continued to develop. At present, various emerging composite materials have emerged, which have a certain impact on the application of aluminum foil. For example: 1) As the food packaged in aluminum foil cannot be directly microwave-processed, a high-barrier microwave food packaging material has recently appeared, that is, a thin layer of silicon oxide is plated on a substrate such as plastic, so that the material has high barrier properties and high microwave Transparency and transparency, suitable for high-temperature cooking, microwave processing and other food packaging, can also be used for beverage and edible oil packaging, but this material is very expensive to produce and large-scale production technology is not yet perfect; 2) Nano packaging materials enter A period of rapid development. Nanotechnology is a young science and technology in the 21st century, and it is also considered as a promising packaging technology in the 21st century. Nano-packaging is still in the development stage and has few practical applications.
In addition, various new concepts of packaging materials have appeared on the market. Due to the excellent performance and relatively low cost of aluminum foil packaging, these new materials have not yet formed a large-scale market and have a substantial impact on aluminum foil packaging. But at present and in the next few years, the development of aluminized composite materials is an important trend. It will be used as an alternative to traditional rolled aluminum foil and replace aluminum foil in some markets.
The development of aluminized packaging
Aluminized film has been used in the packaging industry since the 1960s, and has developed rapidly in North America and Europe in the 1980s. China has introduced aluminized packaging since the early 1990s, but it has not been developed rapidly in recent years. The development of aluminization in China's packaging industry is divided into three stages: the * stage is mainly aluminized label stickers; the second stage is as product outer packaging and flexible packaging; the third stage is as cigarette liner paper.
As product outer packaging and flexible packaging. The application of aluminization to flexible packaging is mainly to replace unitary plastics and paper, thereby increasing the isolation and visual impact of packaging products. At the same time, some aluminum foil packaging is replaced by aluminized materials. With the development of aluminization production, especially the maturity of multilayer composite technology, aluminized materials will have a greater impact on aluminum foil packaging.
Aluminum-based composite materials will replace single materials more widely and are widely used in various flexible packaging. The emergence of some new concept packaging materials will have an impact on the application of aluminum foil, but for a period of time aluminum-based composite materials have comparative advantages in cost and performance. Composite flexible packaging will replace rigid and semi-rigid container packaging more. The market space ranges from paste, block, granule, powder products to liquid semi-liquid, gas-containing products; from consumer goods to military products. China currently has more than 4,000 flexible packaging companies with an annual production capacity of more than 1.5 million tons. With economic development, China is bound to become the main packaging demand-side market in the world. The development prospect of aluminum foil packaging is very broad.