Cannex & Fillex preview – Part 1

This year’s Cannex canmaking technology exhibition, being held in China next month, shows that the business is as vibrant as ever. The Canmaker editorial team reports

Cannex & Fillex Asia Pacific, which returns to Guangzhou in China from 15-18 May 2018, will be the biggest Cannex ever and promises canmakers and other visitors an opportunity to discover a wealth of new technology and processes to help them improve their production efficiencies and to cut costs.

The international showcase for technology, equipment, services and materials for canmakers and fillers will feature more than 200 exhibiting companies offering products and services covering the entire canmaking process – from the provision of canstock, through to the latest two- and three-piece canmaking machinery, forming equipment, along with handling systems, end-making systems and aerosol manufacturing technologies.

Cannex, backed by the publisher of The Canmaker – which this year celebrates its 30th anniversary – will also feature exhibits and services for decorating cans, coatings and systems for testing the integrity of cans produced and controlling their quality. Completing the line-up will be a range of suppliers of ancillary equipment and services, including the latest tooling, lubrication and air systems, designed to help keep factories operating at peak overall equipment effectiveness.

With global sustainability and the ‘circular economy’ under scrutiny from governments, businesses and individuals, the superior recyclability of aluminium and tinplate cans over other packaging materials, will be a particular discussion point at the show. The very latest equipment and systems for reducing and recycling waste materials produced during canmaking will be on display.

Cannex is expected to attract visitors, including chief executives and technical specialists from canmakers and fillers, and consultants, designers and metal packaging professionals, from around the globe. It will provide an ideal opportunity for those attending the show to network with others in the sector, sharing knowledge and information they can take back to their businesses to help drive the profitability of their filling and packaging operations.

Visitors to Cannex who are members of The Canmaker Gold Club will also have free access to the exclusive Gold Club lounge where they can relax and have private business meetings.

This year’s Cannex is the 18th to be held and the fourth time in China, as the nation undergoes momentous change, demonstrating the rapid growth in its commerce and industry – not least within the canmaking sector and its customers in the food and drinks industries.

China’s canmaking business has been experiencing everything that comes with fierce growth, with entrepreneurial zeal leading to overcapacity in some sectors. But its leading canmakers and equipment suppliers are now growing internationally and becoming leaders in their own right.

In the two-piece beverage can sector, global canmakers still find China challenging, but domestically-based firms have risen to become leaders in the sector, such as ShengXing, which has emerged as one of the largest since taking on the management of Pacific Can through its owner.

Showing that innovation is key to gaining a lead is Baowu Steel, which also runs a number of plants making both tinplate and aluminium two-piece cans. To provide short runs of cans that are part of social media promotions it installed a digital printing system supplied by Germany’s Hinterkopf, an exhibitor at Cannex.

The two-piece beverage can market is approaching 40 billion units a year. Cans account for 22 percent of the domestic beer market – the world’s biggest – a share that is still growing.

The sheer size of beverage markets in China such as green tea – more than 12 billion units are consumed each year – have become highly competitive, with JiaDuoBao and Wong Lo Kat fighting for share. One of the biggest canmakers supplying this market is ORG Packaging which has branched out into two-piece beverage cans and bottles, along with filling systems. Its holding company has invested in the acquisition of canmaking operations in Australasia and New Zealand and is expanding production of infant formula cans that are used mostly in China.

The cans that ORG makes for green tea are decorated three-piece tinplate because the product is pasteurised, and these cans are also used for energy drink Red Bull, the second largest brand in China after JiaDuoBao, using some four billion cans a year.

Another discussion point at Cannex is bound to be the impact on the domestic tinplate suppliers in China of the import taxes recently proposed by the US. Some concessions have been made by exempting Canada and Mexico from the tariffs, in response to lobbying pressure. Despite these threats, China’s modernisation programme is unlikely to slow down.

For a nation that produces almost one-half of the world’s steel, the use of metal cans will inevitably remain a pillar of its progressive development. Since 1994, Cannex has been hosted in countries including Thailand, USA, Netherlands, Singapore, Australia and China, where it now returns since it was last here in 2015.

China’s rapid industrialisation is helping to meet the growing expectations of its domestic population, while simultaneously expanding its global export potential. To fulfil the demands of its population for the latest fast-moving consumer goods, companies manufacturing these products are adopting the very latest metal packaging, designs and product functionality that canmakers are now able to provide.

Sayers Publishing Group has been tracking these developments, providing market information and intelligence through its monthly magazine The Canmaker.

Read on to discover some of the highlights that exhibitors at Cannex will be showcasing.ACTEGA Coatings & Sealants makes internal and external coatings (solvent and water-based) for aerosol cans, two- and three-piece food cans, general line cans and aluminium tubes. At Cannex it will present its Artistica Sealants, which are water-based products for beverage, food easy-open ends and pantographic applications, also non-PVC compounds for lug caps applied by conventional injection liners. Artistica smart lining equipment will also be displayed, featuring automatic compound film measurement and control, feeding units and ovens for water-based non-PVC compounds. ACTEGA will also be showcasing BPA-NI coatings for monobloc aerosols, heat seal lacquers for peel-off ends and thermoplastic elastomer sealing compounds and adhesive lacquers.

Alfons Haar Maschinenbau offers complete production lines for lug caps, easy-open ends (EOE), sanitary ends and two-piece drawn and redrawn (DRD) cans. At the show it will be presenting sheet-fed presses and liners for migration-free products using various thermoplastic elastomer (TPE) sealing for caps. It will also highlight its down-gauging technology for EOE, sanitary ends and DRD cans, plus technology to eliminate lacquer ‘hair’ produced by BPA-NI coatings.

An industry leader in vision technology, Applied Vision Corporation, will demonstrate the Orion G6 colour vision system, which performs detailed colorimetric measurements of cans during manufacture at line speeds, providing 360 degrees of image coverage on both coated and uncoated cans. The company’s KromaKing systems are the culmination of 25 years of research and development in colour technology.

Conveyor belt supplier Ashworth Bros will highlight systems for can washing, drying and other conveyor duties.

US-based Belvac Production Machinery has long been associated with two-piece can necking systems and trimmers, but more recently it has been expanding the scope of its capability with the addition last year of cupping press technology and a high-speed bodymaking system, following a partnership with Germany’s Schuler, and the acquisition of Rosario Can Technology, a specialist in decoration systems. That gives Belvac the facility to offer practically all of the processes on a D&I canmaking line.

Brooks will be showing a new pin-oven chain, featuring an electrostatic pin-chain lubricator, single-sided chain guides and precision sprockets.

Bunting Magnetics Co, a manufacturer of magnetic cylinders for all types of decorators and printing machines, will unveil its new PlateMaster, a quick-mount magnetic plate cylinder and shaft assembly designed specifically for Rutherford decorators to make label changes faster and easier.

Canline Systems will be showing turnkey conveying and handling systems for two-piece and three-piece can lines. It will also be showcasing its specialist engineering and project management capabilities.

CarnaudMetalbox Engineering (CMB Engineering) will be showcasing its capabilities in the design, development and manufacture of high-performance canmaking machinery. This year’s show will include some key developments in the company’s Bodymaker with a step change in performance for its reformat brand. The UK-based company draws on a wealth of experience and expertise in the industry, clearly displayed in its reformat range utilising the latest cutting-edge technologies, enhanced flexibility and efficient operation.
Chan Yuen Tai Metal has more than 50 years’ experience in the business producing electrolytic tinplate (ETP) and TFS. Chan Yuen also offers sourcing, cutting, warehousing, printing and global distribution.

Steel supplier Changzhou Randa International Trade Co (Randa Group) supplies tinplate, TFS, printed and laminated steel and easy-open ends.

Canstock supplier Changzhou Taiye Tinplate & TFS has been approved for more widespread trade in ETP and TFS amongst its product range.

CMC-Kuhnke will present its SEAMscan XTS, a non-destructive system for double seam inspection, performing both cross-sectional measurements and a 360-deg tightness scan. CMC-Kuhnke will also display a selection of semi-automatic gauges and testers for measuring beverage, food, and aerosol cans. CMC-Kuhnke’s Eagle Vision division will be showing equipment that provides in-line vision inspection without product handling at speeds of more than 60,000 cans per hour. Its FES-4000 is a ‘front end station’ that automatically provides measurements of trimmed cans. It measures top-wall thickness, mid-wall thickness, trimmed can height and dome depth. This device’s mid-wall indicator is adjustable, meaning that no change-parts are necessary for various can heights and diameters.

Danobat-Overbeck will be presenting its IRD-200 high-precision die and punch grinding machine with a radius option. This has a maximum internal grinding diameter of 100mm, workpiece swing of 200mm and can handle workpieces weighing up to 30 kg. It will also be demonstrating software developed for use with the Siemens Sinumerik 840D controller. Danobat’s new IRD-C series, with models 200 and 400, is particularly suited to machining dies and transforming tools.

DRT Manufacturing Co, a specialist in the design and manufacture of high-speed end conversion systems for the beer, beverage and food industries, will be presenting recent developments, including new tabs, improved rivet systems and other product performance enhancements. General manager Jeff Shrout says DRT continues to exhibit year-after-year because: “The Cannex show remains the premier event in the metal packaging industry.”

Ecopaint Co, a coatings company from Thailand, will be presenting its low-temperature cure (160 deg C) lacquer coatings, BPA-NI lacquer coatings and powder coatings. Foshan City Yan Zhibang Machinery Equipment Co will present a new UV machine and coater, which is said to be more powerful than previous models, offering a longer life with easier maintenance while being more environmental friendly.

Foshan D Zhong Machinery Co will show a camera inspection and a light inspection system for the quality control of bottles and cans, and a can shaper. Four cameras and five-dimensional flat LED sources mean it is able to control defects in the exterior top screw thread and flange curl areas. Its light inspection system completes two-stage tests: one for coarse detection and the other for precision detection. It is able to detect cracks, tears and pinholes with a minimum 0.03 mm diameter on cans. The can shaper comes complete with star wheels and can handle a maximum of 1,000 cpm when running at full capacity.