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On a warm summer day, what is the first thing that you think about when you take a cold drink from the fridge and crack the ring pull open with a satisfying pssssth ? 


More than likely it will be the upcoming sensation of the cool refreshing liquid, be that beer, cola or maybe even a sparkling water, refreshing and slaking your thirst. Your first thought will probably NOT be how many stages it took someone to produce that can and fill it with liquid and seal it ? 

The Making of a Drinks Can 

Most drinks cans are made of Aluminium which is the most widespread metal on Earth, making up more than 8% of the Earth’s core mass. It’s also the third most common chemical element on our planet after oxygen and silicon !  


Aluminium is rolled into large coils from which beverage cans are made. Using the forming process of extrusion, the aluminium is shaped into its required form, a drinks can, which delivers unlimited possibilities in product design and graphics to enhance brand awareness and shelf appeal. 


It takes about 18 physical steps and process checks from start to finish to produce a finished can and then a further 7 or so steps to make the end complete with the ring pull. 


This magical process produces cans that can be filled at incredibly high speeds and then effectively closed to keep the contents fresh and sparkling for you to enjoy. An estimated 9.7 billion 2 – piece beverage cans are manufactured and shipped from UK can-makers alone each and every year. 


Special effects such as Thermochromic Reveals show what temperature the can is by changing colour or revealing graphics and text on the can. High Definition print using special inks such as Neon Inks all add to the experience. As we all know you eat and drink with your eyes as well as your taste receptors, as the senses combine. 


All this process and print and attention to detail is costly though. Any sight imperfection to a can, such as a small dent, or a scuff to the finish, or a tiny fold in the can neck will make it unusable and liable to being rejected by the filling brand. 

This how we roll !  

This is where the transit packaging of the finished cans becomes so important. The cans are stacked in tiers on an “oversized” plastic pallet with a plastic or cardboard layer pad in between, this holds the cans in place preventing them moving and becoming damaged in transit.  Around 5000 cans are on each pallet depending on the can capacity. 


The top tier is held in place with a plastic frame that is bandstrapped to a set tension, bringing stability and meaning the shrinkwrap is not needed to create a pallet load.  The layers also prevent any dust falling into the cans prior to filling.


All the 3 main pieces of equipment (Pallet Top, Frame, Layer Pad) are normally made from plastic and designed to do many trips, with many plastic layer pads still in use 12 years after they were first manufactured. They need to be inspected and cleaned and made ready for re-use to a very high standard. Contraload can help you by providing these services in our Conditioning Service locations across Europe. 


Contraload can pool this equipment and track it, minimising loss and encouraging true circularity and sustainability. We can provide this service, not only for the Beverage sector but also for any manufacturer producing plastic jars or bottles and shipping on standard 1200×1000 or 1200×800 mm pallets. 

High hygiene – High Quality and Highly Sustainable Packaging – maybe we can help your business ?! 

Stay safe !