The European Tube Manufacturers Association, etma, chose the winners of its annual Tube of the Year competition during this year’s annual meeting of its members at the end of June in Vienna.

A competent jury of experts from the association’s member companies judged the entries and selected winners in the categories aluminium, plastic, laminate and prototype tubes.

A range from Italian tubemaker La Metallurgica was chosen as the Aluminium Tube of the Year 2017. The tube is used for a spread cheese in different flavours: chili, paprika and pepper. The superbly printed photos and the excellent design promise a veritable explosion of flavours and create a desire for indulgence. A novel and revolutionary technology used during the digital printing, the DigIT system, makes the abundance of colours with its excellently depicted product promise possible. Together with the tone-in-tone cap, it gives the attractive and eye-catching aluminium tube a truly powerful look that appeals to the senses at the point of sale.

The winning tube in the Plastic Tube category scored with its appearance, which is no less impressive, and its outstandingly well implemented design, which is harmonious and technically convincing. The tube is produced by German manufacturer Tubex Wasungen for Schwarzkopf’s BC Fibre Force range. At first glance, the tube appears to be a classic plastic tube with a timeless design: elegant, simple and beautiful. In reality, the tube incorporates a wealth of first-class technical capabilities: the very fine and extremely gentle gradation on the translucent tube body is offset printed. This allows perfect covering power to be achieved at the end of the tube. In contrast, the translucency at the top end of the tube makes it possible to see the high-grade contents. The lettering is obtained by silkscreen printing to produce an appealing haptic and visual contrast to the softly shimmering substrate. Splendid hot-foil embossing adds an additional touch of luxury, perfectly complemented by the colour-coordinated metallic screw closure. A fascinating performance for the world of professional hair care. 

The winner in the Laminate Tube category was from the world of veterinary medicine. Here, Hoffmann Neopac AG of Switzerland provided an impressive solution for its client, MSD Animal Health. To treat cats and dogs with an ointment, the client was looking for a pack that guaranteed the sterility of the contents, was suitable for a shelf-life of up to 24 months, allowed precise dispensing while being ergonomic to handle and was geared to the very small fill quantities specifically required. 

The Twist´n´use Polyfoil tube from Hoffmann Neopac meets these criteria perfectly, especially as after practical tests the standard closure could be optimised still further in close cooperation with the client’s package engineering department. The result is a closure with four wings for considerably easier opening of the delicate tubes, which are available in six different sizes, with fill quantities from 0.4 to 5 ml. The new ergonomic design of the cap passed every consumer test with flying colours and following its successful commercial launch in Europe in the autumn of 2016 and in North America in the spring of 2017 it is certainly a successful example of user-oriented cooperation between producer and client to the benefit of the consumer.

Swiss manufacturer Hoffmann Neopac was also successful in the Prototypes category. Its new Stylo tube was specially developed for liquid and semi-solid products that need to be applied very precisely at a very specific point. For this, the Swiss company offers three different applicators: the Stylo Liner for extremely precise application, the Stylo Pipette with a Dropstop function for accurate dispensing, and the Stylo Bristle for a soft and gentle massage. Contents are only released once the on/off ring is turned. The consumer can understand intuitively how to handle it; the handling is also demonstrated using an embossed arrow pictogram. A transparent cone-shaped cap protects the applicator.

etma’s Secretary General Gregor Spengler is pleased with the results of this year’s competition. “Year in and year out our competition demonstrates the capabilities and innovativeness of the European tube industry. At the same time, trends and developments that will ensure the continued success of the tube ─ a proven yet nonetheless modern form of packaging ─ become apparent. This was again the case in 2017,” he says. “The focus is now on new printing techniques that facilitate the use of fascinating designs and make the tube as a whole even more attractive at the point of sale. The close cooperation between client and manufacturer creates new user-friendly packaging solutions and at the same time opens up new areas for products and uses. An even more intensive exchange of ideas and a confidential dialogue between tube manufacturers and their clients would certainly generate still more new products and market opportunities here in future, too. Our etma member companies are waiting at the ready.”

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