Within the last year or two soft drink makers have heavily promoted cartons printed with vibrant colorful graphics that aim to generate sales of 12- 18- 24- and 36-pack quantities of cans. The increasing popularity of these packs is good news not only for beverage companies but also for paperboard suppliers converters and machinery manufacturers involved in carton production. Coca-Cola Production S.A. in Socx France (near Dunkerque) is a good example. CCP signed a five-year leasing arrangement with Riverwood Intl. (Atlanta GA) to use a Twin-Stack® packaging system for 33-cL (11.15-oz) steel cans. CCP began operation of this system last May the first to use the machine in the European market. The Twin-Stack was introduced in the U.S. last October at the InterBev trade show. "The Twin-Stack is an addition to one of our four existing lines" explains Charles Bennett maintenance and engineering manager at CCP. "The real advantage it gives us is the ability to run 24-packs in a 12-over-12 configuration and 18-packs in a 9-over-9 pattern. We'll also be able to run 36-packs 18-over-18 which we plan to do later this year. Until we leased this machine we didn't have these capabilities. We ran conventional film-wrapped trays of 24 cans and 6- and 8-packs." "These packs serve as a key promotional tool especially during the peak beverage consumption periods" states Daniel Lavergne operations director. "The machine is developing sales markets for us." "The Twin-Stack was an answer to a request from our customer in France" recalls Bennett. "They asked us to install a system to run 24-packs in time for a summer promotional blitz on Coca-Cola. We ran three million packs for France last year; another 400 for Belgium and about 50 for a Christmas promotion in Germany." Lavergne expects to run in excess of 4 million 24-packs this year. "Marketers in other countries were attracted by the pack in France" he says. "That's how we got orders from Germany late last year. We also supply Benelux countries like Belgium and Holland and have shipped to Africa and to some Baltic republics and in the former Russia." Several suppliers provide CCP with the steel two-piece cans and aluminum easy-opening lids. Lavergne tells PW that by March CCP will have completed a change from a 206-diameter (2 6/16") can end to a 202-diameter (2 2/16") size. The smaller end "will save 1 tons of aluminum annually" he says. The change is not expected to affect the Twin-Stack machine though Lavergne does say "the switch involves adjusting the tooling of our filling and seaming equipment."