A Conversation with Harry Brühlmeier

CEO, Caprosol AG, Switzerland

With Laser Technology for Spray Can Manufacturing at Metpack. The Caprosol AG Innovation with Potential.

AEROSOL EUROPE: Caprosol AG attended Metpack for the first time in May. What was your experience at this important trade fair?

Harry Brühlmeier: We were surprised by the large number of visitors we had at the booth. Interest was exceptionally great. We were also impressed by the broad range of international visitors. We were very satisfied with the trade fair.

AEROSOL EUROPE: With your innovation, the Laserdome concept, you also had something unique to show.

Harry Brühlmeier: There were many compliments about the beautiful shape of this tin plate can. The visitors found it very attractive. This monoblock design with round shoulders was well-
received, especially because it is possible to digitally print on it in the finished state all the way over the shoulder.

AEROSOL EUROPE: In addition to the Monoblock Design, does your Laserdome also have other advantages?

Harry Brühlmeier: Naturally. The main driving force behind our concept is weight reduction. From the pictures, it is already clear how much material is in the double seam. Since the lid and bottom are welded, only a very small overlap is necessary. Thus, a lot of material is saved with each fold that is eliminated.

Due to the stable laser welded seam, which connects the cover and bottom to the body, it is also possible to reduce the thickness of the sheet metal. Experiments have shown that the 15 bar internal pressure can be achieved with wall thicknesses as low as 0.100 mm in the can body. The top and bottom also present further potential for optimization. Here, too, tests are being carried out to produce such components in astonishingly thin materials and to bond them using our laser technology. Sheet thicknesses of less than 0.20 mm are also the objective here. This allows us to achieve considerable weight savings, which can also amount to 30%.

AEROSOL EUROPE: You also presented your LD 650 production cube at Metpack.

Harry Brühlmeier: In fact the LD 650 was on display. We wanted to show the public how small our production cube really is.

With a base area of about one square meter and a production output of 75-90 cans per minute, it can produce the components in a small space. Here the tops and bottoms are joined to the body and welded.

Depending on the desired line performance, the machines are set next to one another in order to achieve the desired capacity. Thus, a double set-up would be 150 to 180 cans per minute, which we consider the smallest unit.

AEROSOL EUROPE: So existing lines can also be retrofitted with your technology?

Harry Brühlmeier: A great advantage of the Laserdome process is that many existing production steps can be taken over by the 3-part can production. Adaptations in the top and bottom manufacturing area are, of course, necessary since geometries differ.

AEROSOL EUROPE: The laser in tinplate can manufacturing is indeed a new tool. Weren’t the visitors curious to know what the laser possibilities are?

Harry Brühlmeier: In fact there was a lot of talk about the possibilities for using laser applications in the manufacture of tinplate cans. During the discussions, there were really interesting applications found, which were discussed further. Perhaps we will be able to call it a new field of application in a future Aerosol Europe issue.

AEROSOL EUROPE: The ADF in New York is coming up very soon. Are you going to be attending?

Harry Brühlmeier: We were already at the ADF forums in Paris and New York twice, and they were always very interesting. Since we are in the process of relocating our company at the moment, we have a lot to do and unfortunately cannot participate. However, I received an invitation to take part as a speaker and will give a lecture on laser welding and our Laserdome process. Therefore, I will be available to interested members of the public.

AEROSOL EUROPE: What are your objectives for the future?

Harry Brühlmeier: As is clear from the interview, we are not just concerned with sealing an aerosol can. We would also like to offer the customer a can that is as attractive as possible. By this, we mean the manufacturing concept, the financial model, and the design of the can itself. This combination of factors creates the appeal of the Caprosol Laserdome concept. In addition to the discussions about the implementation of our Laserdome concept, we are also constantly receiving enquiries about laser welding. Different materials with a wide range of applications; we accept these gladly with no complications and check them very quickly for feasibility. This often leads to interesting possibilities that we can examine together with the customer on request. Therefore, we are also looking forward to the future with our innovative technology and still see the aerosol spray can as one of the most interesting packaging concepts, which has become an indispensable part of the market.

AEROSOL EUROPE: We thank you for this conversation.