Fourth Rasselstein Future Symposium Brings Together the Packaging Steel Sector

Around 300 participants from 30 countries attended the fourth thyssenkrupp Rasselstein Future Symposium in Andernach, Germany

The event had many highlights to offer and was not simply a networking and discussion platform for future issues concerning the packaging steel industry, but also a class reunion for the entire sector, held in a relaxed atmosphere. A time capsule (literally) as a symbol for innovation, networking, interesting presentations, a myriad of information booths, and an appealing supporting program – the event was a resounding success.

“The purpose of the Future Symposium is to create dialogue, to exchange information and to give us an understanding of the expectations and needs of our customers,” said Dr. Peter Biele, CEO of thyssenkrupp Rasselstein GmbH, in his opening address. The desires of the market and the innovations and content presented throughout the day were gathered together in a time capsule. This will be opened up again at the next Future Symposium in three years in order to see whether the expectations for the future have been met. Until then, the capsule will be kept in plain sight in the company, serving as a reminder for employees to press ahead with innovations and to purposefully respond to customer wishes. 

In addition to the dialogue and present-day challenges, looking ahead to the future was one of the most important aspects of the event, and one that was echoed in numerous presentations. For instance, along with MAIKO Engineering and Lanico Maschinenbau, thyssenkrupp Rasselstein introduced an aerosol can made of rasselstein® Solidflex material. The value of the material is demonstrated by the making of an aerosol can that is up to 14 percent lighter and demonstrates a high degree of formability, despite its hardness. The material is already on the market and highlights the direction that packaging steel will be taking in the future. 

Whenever packaging of the future is talked about, it is practically inevitable that the topic of sustainability will be brought up as well. Dr. Christian Haller, CR Manager at ALDI, spoke in his presentation about the challenge of harmonizing customer wishes, along with product safety, recycling capability and material efficiency. In addition, he introduced the joint “ALDI packaging mission” of ALDI Nord and ALDI SÜD with the catchphrase “reduce.reuse.recycle.” The goals of the company are to make 100 percent of ALDI brand packaging recyclable by 2022 and to achieve a 30 percent reduction in the materials used by 2025 (compared to the base year of 2015). Haller also described exciting projects in the area of packaging, such as the “ALDI separation notice,” which is intended to help consumers separate reusable materials correctly. 

Juan Luis Kruger, CEO of Minsur, took up the topic sustainability as well in his presentation and demonstrated the sustainable sourcing of tin in Peru and Brazil under the Brand ‘SusTINable’. The process is 100% traceable from Minsur mines and its own smelters. The company is currently working to extend this traceability to the end consumer through blockchain technology.

One topic that is of particular interest to the sector at present is the upcoming EU-wide prohibition of the use of chromium (VI) in industrial processes. Affected by this is the industrial standard of manufacturing special chromium-coated packaging steel along with the – previously – standard process of passivation to protect the surface of tinplate. New solutions, such as TCCT and CFPA, are about to be added to the Euronorm. And the time is ripe for converting to the company’s alternative, chromium (VI)-free products.

“The fourth Rasselstein Future Symposium was a resounding success. Both innovative as well as currently relevant topics for the sector were discussed, and we have received thoroughly positive feedback from our guests. We will profit from the ideas and suggestions of everyone who participated and incorporate them in our work,” said Dr. Peter Biele. In closing he added: “We see ourselves as a pioneer and drive innovation through investments, quality and the commitment of our employees. We are grateful for honest feedback and the rigorous exchange with our partners – it is only in this way that we are able to constantly improve our work and the time capsule will be a reminder of this motivation until the next Future Symposium.”

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