New solid-state heating element can be configured into a variety of shapes, and turns on with the push of a button.

Entrepreneurs hope market warms to self-heat device

A startup business is working to interest brand owners and others in self-heating technology that is supposedly far ahead of any previous such inventions.

Ironbridge Technologies is doing business as Heat-Genie, the name of its new device. HeatGenie generates heat when consumers press a button, warming the contents of a can or other container to serving temperature.

Company execs claim that HeatGenie is superior to previous self-heating technologies in several important respects. It uses solid fuel with Generally Recognized as Safe components, so that leaking or contamination is not an issue. It can be shaped into a variety of configurations, including a cylinder inside the container or a ring around its bottom. It shuts itself off when the container’s contents are emptied by sensing the change in ambient temperature. And it takes up only about 7% of the container’s volume, far less than other self-heat devices.

For more information, call 512-501-3800 or access www.heatgenie.com.

Bemis buys Alcan Flexible business

In a move that furthers consolidation the flexible packaging industry, Bemis Co. has purchased Alcan Food Packaging Americas.

The deal, for $1.2 billion in cash and stock, is expected to close this year. It will include 23 facilities in the United States, Canada, Mexico, Brazil, Argentina, and New Zealand.

Bemis acquired the business from Alcan’s parent, Brazil-based mining company Rio Tonto. Flexible food packaging is expected to increase from 57% to 70% of Bemis’ total sales as a result of the acquisition.

The sale was seen as a way for Rio Tonto to reduce the debt it incurred when it bought Alcan for $38 billion in 2007. It also divests a business that Rio Tonto saw as ancillary to mining; it bought Alcan mostly for its aluminum business.

BRIEFS:

Phoenix Closures has opened a new distribution center in Ontario, Calif. The facility, Phoenix’s first on the West Coast, will supply more than 30 kinds of closures for immediate shipment.

Harpak Inc., a supplier of primary and secondary packaging machinery, has joined the Women’s Business National Council.

NatureWorks LLC, a major supplier of bio-based resin, has transformed its former pilot plant into a bioresin applications lab capable of commercial grade compounding, sheet extrusion, thermoforming, injection molding and fiber spinning.

Flexible packaging converter Amgraph Packaging is celebrating its 25th anniversary with the opening of its “green plant” expansion later this year. The addition will incorporate an expanded extrusion line, a new printing press, multiple slitters, and a new adhesive laminator and cold seal application line.

Delkor Systems, a supplier of end-of-line packaging equipment, has hired Adam Koller as director of engineering.

CardPak Inc. is teaming with schools in its hometown of Solon, Ohio, to carry out a program called “Trees Into Cartons, Cartons Into Trees.” As a way of planting trees, used milk cartons are collected from the schools, seeds or saplings are planted inside, and the cartons are buried.

Ball Corp., a supplier of metal and plastic containers, has promoted Michael Herdman to the new position of chief commercial officer and Gerrit Heske to president of Ball Packaging Europe.

Adhesives and chemicals manufacturer H.B. Fuller Co. has acquired Nordic Adhesives, a supplier of adhesives for flexible packaging based in Buxtehude, Germany.

Plastic container manufacturer Graham Packaging has won a supplier excellence award from Abbott Laboratories. Graham supplies polypropylene bottles for Abbott’s Ensure nutritional beverage and Similac infant formula.

BrandWatch Technologies, a supplier of brand security technology, has hired Steve Delepine as vice president of business development.

Checkweigher supplier Mettler-Toledo Hi-Speed has appointed Bob Urban as operations manager. Sister company Mettler-Toledo Safeline, a supplier of metal detection and X-ray inspection systems, hired Joel Medina as service parts supervisor.

Hormel Foods has given Spirit of Excellence awards to Multivac Foods, a supplier of thermoforming and other packaging equipment, and can supplier Crown Food Packaging North America.

Conveyor supplier Dorner Manufacturing has launched its FIT Program to help ease the installation of its products. A team of Dorner technicians will visit customers to install new conveyors, evaluate any previously installed processing and packaging conveyors and train in-house maintenance personnel.

Crown Packaging Technology, a supplier of closures and other packaging materials, is now allowing the general public to submit ideas on its website (www.crowncork.com). Visitors can upload their ideas and supporting documentation by clicking the Innovation & Design section on the home page, then clicking the Open Innovation link at the left.

Mettler-Toledo’s Hi-Speed (checkweigher) and Safeline (contaminant detection) divisions have released newsletters with product information and case histories for different food markets. Access www.mt.com/pi-dairynews for dairy foods, www.mt.com/pi-fvnews for fruits and vegetables, and www.mt.com/pi-mprm-news for meat, poultry and ready meals.

Alcoa has named Kevin Kramer to the newly created position of president, growth initiatives. He will be responsible for identifying and developing new initiatives that respond to market trends and customers’ needs.