Ardagh first created an embossed design for the Jupiler brand in 2014, producing 33cl and 50cl cans that were debossed on the can's lower halves.
The success with which the cans echoed the glassware’s characteristic ribbing, which is part of the brand’s identity in the Benelux countries, was reflected both in Jupiler’s sales, and its invitation to update the design for 2019.
John Reed, product application manager, European Metal division, Ardagh Group, said the fact that Jupiler chose to continue investing in embossed packaging for its Benelux market, is a measure of a renewed interest in the technology.
“The embossing market had been dormant for the past couple of years, but it's back in vogue again, especially among brewers,” he said.
“Brewers are looking to create a premium brand for their beers. The production innovation which resulted from the Jupiler project has wider benefits as it gives us the opportunity to take a fresh look at embossing and allows us to create more complicated designs while still achieving strong stand-out appeal.”
The challenge of replicating the distinctive flutes of Jupiler’s glassware in an embossed can led Ardagh Group to render embossed designs with greater definition, creating branding opportunities for its customers.
The latest version features debossed flutes that mirror the design of Jupiler glassware more closely and a functional benefit by lowering heat transfer to keep the cans colder for longer.
Diabatix thermal design
The functional aspect was thanks to research carried out by AB Inbev (ABI) in collaboration with Diabatix, a Belgian company that specialises in generative thermal design.
The results showed that, by reducing the surface area in contact with the drinker’s hand, the recessed relief of the full-length flutes lowers heat transfer.
“However, pressing a design into a can wall just 0.1mm thick, has to be done judiciously, and in the right areas,” added Reed.
One of the challenges, Reed added, is the larger the area to be embossed, the shallower and less well defined the impression created by the tooling.
“A partial solution was provided by dividing the flutes into short sections, but to achieve the required depth of debossing we went back to the drawing board to change the way the embossing tooling is cut,” he said.
The result was tooling capable of combining both definition and depth to create a debossed can which has better detail and meets the requirements for a cold beer for longer concept.
The finishing touch lies in the design’s sparing use of colour. Rather than being printed with a solid red as first intended, the Jupiler cans highlight the reflection of the bare can to create a premium feel and striking appearance.