Allowing brand owners and packaging designers to performance engineer their packaging and add premium value were the drivers behind the development of Smurfit Kappa’s metalized film laminated board MirriNor.
Developed as part of a joint venture between the Norboard division of Smurfit Kappa Sheetfeeding and Mirri, a worldwide brand in metallic laminated board and paper and division of Celloglas, the product is making significant headway.
Originally developed with the luxury goods and gift pack markets in mind, MirriNor is also relevant for a wide range of FMCG products to help provide the appearance of a premium pack.
Mirri metallic film is combined with Smurfit Kappa T-flute – a high quality microflute, FSC accredited and manufactured using a patent protected process. T-flute was developed to offer designers the ability to incorporate ‘curvable’ properties into their designs so that a carton no longer has to have regular geometry. T-flute is lightweight at 400gsm (850 micron) and designed to offer a full color print, premium quality finish and strength.
Popular at the luxury end
The MirriNor metallic variant has been particularly popular in the cosmetic, perfumery, high end spirits, brewery gift packs and multi media sectors and is now seeing interest across the confectionery and bakery market segments.
Using T-flute results in a pack that combines the look of a carton and tube, while delivering according to Smurfit Kappa “a highly print receptive surface with significantly enhanced protective qualities” but lighter weight than using traditional cartonboard.
This also has significant environmental benefits and using MirriNor can offer an alternative to an additional piece of composite packaging, such as a metal tube. Although, according to Smurfit Kappa Sheetfeeding’s technical manager Richard Revell this is still obviously dependent on the brand, as some of the more traditional spirits in the premium drinks sector will always opt for metal, it does however allow the brand repositioning of some products.
“It boils down to what the client wants as it is an extremely diverse marketplace. Some of the more premium brands are reticent to change but then they’ll be a brand that is aspirational and the transition is easier for them.”
The metallic film from Mirri is certified for use with the Color-Logic Process Metallic Color System, providing brand owners and product managers with the ability to differentiate their product with a simple print production process that according to Smurfit “yields dramatic results”.
UK Packaging design agency Concept Packaging, which specializes in the constructional side of packaging design has worked considerably with microflutes and also MirriNor. It has seen a high amount of interest from leading brands for the product because of its strength and quality image. Managing director and owner Chris Hallam comments: “It is thin enough to litho print and more and more converters and printers have developed the capability to print on it successfully.”
From a design perspective the finished look that using microflutes achieve adds to its appeal. Hallam explains: “You can’t see the evidence of the flutes, which is a criticism of other corrugates. Even on the exposed edges microflutes look more like solid board than corrugate and has constructional advantages over cartonboard.”
“The metalized versions such as MirriNor are even thinner due to the compression during the metalizing lamination process,” he adds.
MirriNor, like T-flute is machine erectable and can be printed using UV litho or conventional litho printing process using fully oxidizing inks. Revell concludes: “MirriNor has broken the mould. The curvability element was previously only available by using standard lightweight cartonboard material – not corrugated. It enables brand aspirations to lift a level.