Can Coatings and Food Quality

Thomas J. Thompson and Brahm Prakash.
Thomas J. Thompson and Brahm Prakash.

We would like to thank Thomas J. Thompson, Technical Director – Americas, from PPG Industries for coming on May 14. He explained why cans have such a long shelf life and the processes around how PPG contributes to that.

Tom is a graduate of Pennsylvania State University with a science degree Chemistry. He went on to Carnegie Mellon University to get a Masters in Polymers. After graduation he worked in Pittsburg for 20 years, starting with PPG. Later PPG moved him out to Milford where he has been ever since.
PPG brings innovations, specifically here the paint coating to cans. PPG started in 1883 and are today the number 1 coating company. In addition to being in the consumer container industry, they are also in other industries like the aerospace and automotive coatings.

In the food canning industry, steel cans are the main product used. These cans help keep the food hermetically sealed, provide an economic way of delivering the product and are very tough. The storage capabilities allow for no refrigeration, have a 2+ year shelf life, and don’t have any UV issues other container may have. The coatings that PPG produces allow for cans to be the main product in use.
What makes the process so difficult? They can only use 225 milligrams of coating per can. The spraying process that puts the coating on occurs in just 8 milliseconds. The FDA has oversight on the production process. The coating itself acts like a barrier and is used on everything from green beans to tomatoes. Some food products include the hot’s and species peppers coming out of Mexico.

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