1. Materials / Features
- Why use aluminium packaging?
Aluminium is light – a third as light as common metals on average – and therefore economises on weight and energy. It is an abundant material, easy to transform and with a structure offering excellent forming properties. An excellent barrier material, even at thicknesses of a few microns, aluminium protects all content from light, humidity, oxygen, external pollution… and micro-organisms. This allows it to preserve the essential qualities of its content – particularly for foodstuffs – including their organoleptic properties (hygiene, flavour, taste, odour, scent and colour). Aluminium is also a barrier to most solvents and can therefore contain the most sensitive products. Finally, aluminium is very resistant to temperature variations, facilitating sterilisation in dry heat or a steam steriliser for example.
- What are the qualities of aluminium used for your packaging?
Our containers are made of at least 99.5% pure aluminium, corresponding to the references ISO 1050A and 1070A of standard NF EN 573-1.
- What types of additional finishes do you offer?
Our containers can be delivered “bare” or with an interior varnish when the packaged product requires it.
Internal or external anodising is often offered for loose pharmaceutical products, reinforcing chemical resistance and improving physical properties on contact with the main active ingredients.
- What materials are used in the manufacture of your sealing systems?
Most of our screw caps are made from Polypropylene (PP) comprising a compressible multi-layered joint (Aluminium/Polyethylene (PE) on a PE foam backing), or Teflon joints on a PE foam backing. PE caps are also offered as an option on most of our ranges.
For loose pharmaceutical products, caps made from chlorobutyl (approved for pharmaceutical contact and sterilisable) are combined with an aluminium foil which can be crimp-wrapped to guarantee optimal protection and tamper-proofing.
Other ranges with very large openings have aluminium covers, some fitted with nitrile rubber or silicon O-rings, sealed using a galvanised steel tension hoop.
2. Manufacturing / Product design
- What are monobloc containers?
Most packaging made from tin, stainless steel or plastic contains welds. Welds present mechanical risks (leaks or ruptures) as well as risks in terms of contamination/pollution. Tournaire’s monobloc aluminium packaging is produced by transforming a single piece of metal (disc or slug). This weld-free packaging guarantees our customers optimal long-term security.
- What aluminium transformation techniques are used by TOURNAIRE?
At Tournaire S.A., we use two main techniques to manufacture aluminium packaging:
– Small packaging (up to 2.5l) is produced by extrusion and then tapering. Impact extrusion involves transforming a slug (thick disc) into a cylinder (tube) using a mechanical press. The metal cylinder is then trimmed and tapered in successive stages, contouring the outer edge to create a neck corresponding to the required specifications.
– The largest size packaging (from 2.5l) is stamped and then pushed out. Stamping involves deforming an aluminium disc into a cylinder using one or more impacts. This cylinder is then trimmed and pushed out on a tower to form the shoulders and neck according to the required specifications.
- What are the main sealing systems?
Tournaire S.A. offers various types of sealing systems: caps, dropper caps, hooded lids, lids and tension hoops, stoppers, foil wrapper, screw-on pumps, covers, etc.
Tamper-proof plastic stoppers with compressible or sealable barrier joints are the most commonly used and most reliable systems for industrial applications. Tournaire S.A. also offers seals using other principles, including caps, screw-on pumps, clickable caps, etc.
- How does TOURNAIRE’s manufacturing ensure optimum water-tightness?
Since 1920, Tournaire S.A. has been manufacturing monobloc aluminium packaging which eliminates the risks of leaks inherent in welded containers. Tournaire S.A. has also developed know-how and techniques for manufacturing the necks of its containers with unrivalled reliability and perfectly matching the chosen sealing systems.
- How does TOURNAIRE’s manufacturing ensure optimum emptying?
We offer you Tournaire’s product ranges. Ours are the broadest and deepest ranges of aluminium packaging on the market, with openings suited to all content types, whether liquid (volatile, viscous, etc.) or solid (powder or granules).
Our packaging is studied and designed to facilitate and optimise the emptying of your products by your customers (shape, opening, surface condition, relative absence of static electricity, etc.).
- How is TOURNAIRE packaging washed during manufacture?
Following mechanical forming, our containers undergo successive stages of powerful washing. Washing is one of the stages of the manufacturing chain subject to inspection. Containers are then dried before being packed.
- How is the interior varnish applied?
For our packaging with interior varnish, the varnish is applied by spraying and then controlled curing. Our varnished packaging, which is approved by the FDA, is chemically neutral and highly mechanically resistant.
- What are oxidised (anodised) containers?
For the packaging of loose pharmaceutical products, we offer anodic oxidation of containers, which means that after washing the containers are dipped in an electrolytic bath through which we pass a very high current. This electrolysis creates a special surface which improves the mechanical and chemical performance of packaging. This is compatible with sterilisation of aluminium packaging, in dry heat or a steam steriliser.
- What inspections do TOURNAIRE products undergo?
Inspections tailored to each manufacturing process are organised at various stages of production to ensure the conformity of raw materials, semi-finished products and containers. In addition to the continuous self-monitoring carried out by production line operators, and systematic inspections by product quality supervisors, various automated inspections (water-tightness and appearance) are carried out to ensure the highest possible level of quality. Furthermore, our Product Quality department is equipped with a Laboratory in which regulatory tests, as well as other more sophisticated tests, are regularly carried out. This Quality organisation is ISO 9001 certified.
- How is the traceability of quality controls ensured throughout the manufacturing process?
Tournaire S.A. is certified according to ISO 9001 (Quality), ISO 14001 (Environment) and MASE (Safety) standards. MASE is a very rigorous French certification requiring a safety improvement process within the company.
At every stage in the manufacturing process, from receipt of the raw material to stocking of finished products, a unique batch number is issued identifying the batch purchased or manufactured with respect to the various inspections. Computerised management of production and printing of labels and manufacturing orders, using bar codes, means we can guarantee the traceability of the box or pallet up to the point of delivery.
- What types of products can be packed in your aluminium packaging?
Firstly it should be remembered that it is the responsibility of the packaging customer to test the compatibility between the products to be packed and the packaging used. Our aluminium containers have been used for decades to preserve and transport a wide range of substances, including pharmaceutical raw materials, raw materials and compositions for the perfume industry, foodstuffs and speciality chemicals (adhesives, colorants, paints, etc.), including hazardous materials.
Some indications may be given by the American Aluminum Association booklet “Guidelines for the Use of Aluminum with Food and Chemicals”. It is not advisable however to pack products that are particularly corrosive to aluminium, e.g. too acidic or alkali (or foodstuffs that are too salty or acidic according to the Council of Europe recommendations).
- Can your packaging be used to transport foodstuffs?
Aluminium has been used to transport or even cook food for decades. At Tournaire, we use grades of aluminium meeting the requirements of standard EN602, relating to the manufacturing of aluminium articles for use in contact with food. We also offer a whole range of varnished containers (often preferred by our customers, particularly to comply with Council of Europe recommendations concerning liquids that are too salty or acidic).
Customers are reminded that the packager is responsible for testing product/packaging compatibility.
- Can your packaging be used to transport hazardous products?
Most of our packaging is certified for the transportation of materials classified under UN regulations, either in unit packaging (container + seal) or packaging contained in a consolidated carton. These certifications allow products to be transported in total safety and completely legally, by any means of transport (road, sea, rail and air) provided other aspects of the regulations are complied with, as discussed in the following question.
- What is “UN certified” packaging?
The UN has issued regulations setting out restrictions for transporting hazardous materials by road, sea, rail or air. Most of our packaging which has passed the UN’s tests in a certified laboratory is authorised for transporting hazardous materials in the hazard group approved by the UN tests (I, II or III). The French certification body for our packaging is BVT (Bureau des Vérifications Techniques). We also work with BAM and TUV in Germany and IBE in Belgium.
For information, it is necessary to comply fully with the requirements set out in the UN standard, particularly using only authorised components, assembling them according to the Approval Certificate and correctly identifying packaging and outer-packaging using appropriate labels once filled and assembled.
- What temperature can your packaging and their seals withstand?
For optimal use of our aluminium packaging (with thermoplastic seals), we recommend use between -20°C and 45°C. Long-term exposure to temperatures higher than 100°C permanently and irreversibly alters the characteristics of the aluminium and the plastic seals.
- What are your recommendations for storage of your aluminium packaging?
We recommend storing our products in warehouses compliant with applicable standards, free from humidity and the risk of contamination. It is also important to protect them from sudden temperature variations. Ideally, we recommend keeping products at temperatures ranging from 5°C to 30°C, with relative humidity of 40% to 60%.
You should also not stack more than two pallets on top of each other, nor stack other products on pallets of aluminium packaging.
- Is there a time limit on use of your packaging?
Aluminium containers are very stable and particularly resistant. In addition to the usual transport and storage uses, some of our customers use them to preserve their products for many years (up to several decades).
For regulatory reasons, however, UN-certified containers must be used within five years from the date stamped on the UN engraving.
- What pressure can your packaging withstand?
Our aluminium packaging and their seals can withstand quite high internal pressure without any leaks being observed.
All our UN-certified containers are approved for internal hydraulic pressure of between 1 and 2 bar. This pressure is specific to each seal, so please contact us if you have specific requirements.
N.B. It is possible that some containers may deform when the internal pressure becomes high, without their water-tightness being affected.
- Should I re-wash the packaging and how?
We pay particularly close attention to the washing of our containers, which is based on highly specialised experience. The procedure tailored to each type of container is approved and inspected in internally at each stage. Additional inspections are regularly carried out by independent certified bodies.
We do not advise re-washing for normal use. Re-washing may be carried out for pharmaceutical or food-related uses, however. Please contact us for further information.
- What are the possibilities and methods for sterilisation/depyrogenation?
Our “Pharmacy” ranges (T802, T835, O220, and T1C32) can be sterilised using most procedures currently used in industry. The main sterilisation techniques for aluminium containers are dry heat or a steam steriliser. Dry-heat sterilisation allows simultaneous depyrogenation, depending on temperature and duration.
This gives our oxidised aluminium containers a certain advantage over packaging including a plastic element.
4. Quality / Regulatory
- Is your packaging recyclable?
The aluminium used to manufacture “Tournaire S.A. aluminium packaging” is infinitely recyclable, retaining the same properties as the initial aluminium used. Only 5% of the initial energy is required to recycle aluminium, which has an excellent recyclability ratio. In France, 70%-80% of aluminium products are recycled. At Tournaire S.A., we optimise use of recycled aluminium, while complying with quality levels 1050 and 1070 required for your applications. We work actively on the reduction of raw materials at source, and return all aluminium offcuts generated during the manufacturing process to our suppliers to ensure complete recycling.
Similarly, we have developed Tournaire procedures with conclusive results for the recycling of plastic waste used to make seals (stoppers, collars, etc.) and co-extruded packaging.
- What Quality-Environment-Safety certifications does Tournaire S.A. possess?
At a corporate level, Tournaire S.A. is certified according to standards ISO 9001, ISO 14001 and MASE. MASE is a very rigorous French certification requiring a safety improvement process within the company.
In terms of products, most of our ranges are also UN certified, to the highest level, by authorised bodies (BVT in France, BAM and TUV in Germany). Our packaging is virtually unbreakable and particularly safe, allowing your products to be transported by any logistical means, in total safety and completely legally, anywhere in the world.
- What are the main development focuses of your quality policy?
Having been an industrial company for over 180 years, Tournaire S.A. has built its quality policy around six areas of progress, in order to constantly serve you better. These six progress areas guarantee the ongoing supply of technical packaging and your satisfaction:
– Delivering quality products (zero-fault target)
– Developing innovative packaging
– Ensuring satisfactory manufacturing lead-times
– Having a well-ordered and efficient production environment
– Progressing together by sharing everyone’s ideas and meeting our commitments
– Ensuring the company’s ongoing growth in order to serve our customers in the long term and very long term
- Can you provide us with the compliance certificates and analysis certificates?
We can provide you with the compliance certificates, at your specific request.
- Is your packaging registered in a DMF (Drug Master File) with the FDA (Food and Drug Administration)?
Yes, our “Pharmacy” range is registered with the FDA in a type-III DMF. We can provide you with a letter of access to this DMF, at your specific request.
- Is Tournaire S.A. recognised by customs as an “Approved Exporter”?
Yes, Tournaire S.A. has been granted the status of “Approved Exporter”. This status allows you to benefit from more competitive import taxes, subject to agreements being in place between your destination country and the European Union. This status also simplifies administrative and customs formalities for you.
- What security measures are in place to protect your sites?
Tournaire S.A.’s production and storage sites are enclosed and kept under surveillance 24 hours a day. External visitors may only enter the sites via the security point or accompanied by an authorised member of staff. Employees and accredited personnel are given an electronic badge.
- How do you guarantee your products’ traceability after dispatch?
Our packaging is marked (engraved, printed, etc.) to retain information concerning the batch or production run. Labels with a bar code also indicate the number of the batch, the specific portion of production, the article along with other related information. Finally, UN-certified products include an engraving of the certification number, including indication of the year of manufacture.