Canmaking's road to China

With Cannex, the world trade show for metal packaging, being held in China on 1-4 June 2015, Mónica Higuera talks to local industry players.

* Guangzhou-based Jorson Packaging Machinery trades in and manufactures machinery for the metal packaging industry.

Jorson’s own weld-seam powder repair system holds ten patents with more than 170 sold worldwide since it was launched at Cannex in 2009.

Next move for Jorson is the installation of a line supplied by Jiangyin Ruixing Science and Technology for laminating steel with polyester film, which will be available for customers to trial.

With energy savings and lowered carbon emissions as the objective, Ruixing is a pioneer in polymer film-laminated steel in China and holds a patent for its technology to preserve the weld margin, guaranteeing that the film doesn’t burn off during the welding process.

About 30 companies are now using the system for fancy and industrial cans in China, with players in the food sector now running trials, such as ORG and Wahaha.

The technology is being used in Indonesia for fish cans, and in South Africa for paint cans.

* Founded in 1978, Golden Eagle is based at Zhoushan in Zhejiang province, and has a portfolio that includes production machinery for DRD cans, three-piece cans and ends, lug caps, as well as seamers.

Using technology from Estes Engineering in Singapore, Golden Eagle now also manufactures high pressure leak testers for empty aerosol cans. Developed as an alternative to the water bath test, the system is fed from a star wheel that drives the cans onto the machine’s testing chamber, where a pressure of up to 8-12 bar is created. Micro leaks create a pressure difference in the chamber which is detected by the pressure transmitter and measuring system. It operates at a rate of 120 cans a minute with 15 heads, and at up to 300 cans a minute with 36 heads.

* China Hanjiang makes equipment for producing three-piece cans and CNC two-piece canmaking machinery at Shantou city in Guangdong province. Hanjiang says it pioneered in China the design and manufacture of equipment for induction curing, powder spray coating, and for making rectangular luncheon-meat cans, as well as liners and drying machines for irregular ends and easy-open ends.

The company’s best selling product is its induction curing system for weld repair coatings. Claimed to be the most energy-saving post curing system, it has been adopted to work with medium- and high-speed welding machinery from Switzerland, Italy and Taiwan, and is being employed by customers in Germany and Italy.

The award-winning system cures each can in ten seconds, with just 1 kWh of energy needed to cure 5,000 cans; it also features automatic adjustment of diameter.

* Handan Zhuoli Fine Steel Plate Co began trading steel products, then started to cold roll steel, and in 2012 began manufacturing tinplate and tin-free steel. Today it has two tinplate lines with combined annual capacity of around 400,000 tonnes.

Some 70 percent of its production is tinplate, and it exports about 12,000 tonnes a month to Europe and the Middle East. The company aims to increase its exports, which currently account for about 35 percent of its business.

* Established in 2008, Shenzhen Youpeng Packaging Products makes aluminium and tinplate safe-rim easy-open ends, aluminium beverage ends, tinplate penny-lever lids and bottom ends, with annual manufacturing capacity of about 1.5 billion units.

Youpeng’s 10,000 sqm plant at Shenzhen in Guangdong province features 25 medium-speed and three high-speed lines.

* Changzhou Randa International Trade Co was established in 2009 at Changzhou city, in Jiangsu province, and exports 50,000 tonnes of tinplate and tin-free steel a year, including 10,000 tonnes of decorated sheet, and more than one billion easy-open ends. Randa is looking to increase its numbers of customers and agents, and is currently looking for a sales agent for Spain and Egypt.

* The Fujian Example Group comprises a group of companies that make tinplate cans, easy-open ends, and canmaking machinery.

Fujian Example EOE Group uses two high-speed end conversion systems featuring equipment from Minster and Stolle with capacity to make two billion easy-open ends a year.

About half of the company’s output is exported, mostly to Asia and the Middle East, with small volumes sold to Europe.

* Shinyi Can-Making Machinery Industry is based at Shantou in Guangdong province and has been focusing on developing fully-automatic equipment to counter higher labour costs.

The company specialises in production lines for 1- to 5-litre square cans, 18-litre square cans, as well as 18- to 25-litre pails. These operate at speeds of 30 cans a minute and are claimed to be the fastest made in China.

Shinyi also offers fully-automatic equipment for welding ears onto cans at a rate of 60 cans a minute.

* Based at Zhangzhou city in Fujian province, Xiangda Enterprise began as a tinplate and tin-free steel trader in 1998, a year later started manufacturing cans as Zhangzhou Jialong Can-Making, and in 2000 set up Zhangzhou Minda Tinplate Printing. It has since expanded canmaking to Heze in Shandong province and into Vietnam.

With 13 end-making lines, four of which are for easy-open ends, Xiangda has yearly capacity to make about 1.6 billion ends, and with 16 canmaking lines has capacity for about 1.3 billion two- and three-piece food cans. Xiangda’s operations feature six cutting lines and nine printing lines with capacity to process 60,000 tonnes of tinplate and tin-free steel, and nearly 145,000 tonnes of decorated sheet.

* Shantou Light Industrial Machinery Factory recently moved to a new 33,000sqm facility at the Taiwanese Investment Zone in the Haojiang district of China’s Shantou City. The company’s products include fully automatic can body lines and seamers. Shantou Light’s QM-500 welder runs at 500 cans a minute.

* China’s leading metal decorating system manufacturer Jiangsu Huayu Printing Equipment manufactured its first oven in 1978, and in the last 20 years has enjoyed ten percent year-on-year demand growth for its products.

In 2013, the company sold 102 ovens, 18 printing units (single and multicolour), and 45 coaters, in addition to 400,000 wickets, including wickets with anti-marking ceramic rollers which prevent marking on the rear of the sheets.

Among recent upgrades to its machinery, are the dynamic brake system designed to avoid sheets striking wickets and preventing scratches, and the e-magnetic and vacuum stackers, also developed to prevent scratches.

Recent orders are from Turkey, Saudi Arabia and the UAE, with some customers adding a second or third oven to their existing Jiangsu Huayu equipment.

Demand for UV lines is growing and there are currently a minimum of 300 UV lines in China, representing ten percent of the total number of lines, estimates Richard Ensor, the company’s agent for Europe, Middle East and Africa markets.

“Jiangsu Huayu are paying the highest attention to their own developments in that area,” he said. “They are also aware of the increasing popularity of the two piece can and are shaping their ideas accordingly.”

* Jiangsu Guolian Plate has three tinning lines with capacity to produce 200,000 tonnes of tinplate a year. The company’s 120,000 sqm facility in Changzhou city, adjacent to the Yangtse river, includes three cutting lines and a four-colour Fuji printing press.

* Hengli CNC Technology specialises in coil handling equipment and says it has in 14 years sold more than 550 coil cutting lines worldwide. Operating speeds range between 50 and 175 sheets per minute. Since its first order from Europe in 2009, Hengli’s business in the region has grown with three more lines being delivered to Spain, two to Italy and one to Germany. The company has also sold five lines to Russia, three to Ukraine, one to Belarus, two to Bulgaria and five to Turkey, while in Brazil there are currently five Hengli lines.

* Wantong Can-Making Machinery was established in 1990 at Nanhai city in Guangdong province as a specialist in welding and can body forming machines. In 1995 the company moved to Taishan city and in 2002 set up an R&D and sales centre at Foshan. Wantong’s plant in Guangzhou was opened in 2005 to research into and produce seaming equipment. In 2008 it opened an office at Dubai in the United Arab Emirates.

The company invests half of its profits to improve its machinery and improve automation. Wantong’s machinery range now also includes fully automatic lock seaming equipment for fancy cans that operate at between 40 and 100 cans per minute depending on can size and shape. Meanwhile, its latest fully-automatic line for pails runs at 30 cans a minute, with systems recently sold to customers in UAE and Ukraine.

* Sewing Coatings was founded in 1997 to produce external coatings for the metal packaging industry. Sewing’s products include white lacquers, overprint varnishes for all types of cans and adhesion lacquers for crown caps. The company’s production facilities are in Tianjin and Shanghai with capacity of 10,000 tonnes a year.

* Shanghai Ruiyuan Printing Machine was founded in 1997 and is part of the Shanghai Ruihua Group. The company makes sheet coaters, and printing lines with one-, two- and four-colour units, and says it has sold more than 300 lines in China.

* Zhengyi Tin Can Machine was promoting its latest can body line, the FHZ-D for pails in diameters between 260 and 290mm. The system welds, coats and cures the cans at a rate of 30 to 45 a minute. The company also makes induction-curing systems that are said to use just a fifth of the energy of conventional systems.

* Hualong EOE, founded ten years ago at Jieyang city in Guangdong province, makes 500 million food and beverage can ends a year in tinplate, tin free steel and aluminium.

* Zhoushan Dinghai Beijian Machinery Factory makes palletisers and depalletisers for full and empty cans that operate at 1.6 and at 2.6 layers a minute. The company also offers a CNC production line with no idle stroke that runs at 200 ends a minute; and film wrapping machines.

* Canmaking and canning machinery supplier Shantou Xinqing Cannery Machinery manufactures the New Dodo series of automatic body welders with operating speeds now ranging between 100 and 650 cans a minute.

* Zhoushan Putuo Boda Machinery Manufacturing is part of Zhejiang Wise Machinery Group, and produces equipment to manufacture three-piece food, beverage, aerosol and general line cans, as well as CNC sheet feeding equipment and liners for making ends. The company was established in 1989 and has three production bases, in Zhejiang, Jiangsu and Shanghai.

* Suzhou SLAC Precision Equipment, this year celebrating ten years in the business, manufactures coil- and sheet-feeding end shell systems, conversion systems, and auxiliary equipment including tab decoilers, post repair machines, automatic baggers, transfer belts, and spare parts.

* Keenson manufactures metal cutting machinery and organic waste air purification incinerators. The company’s customers include the large domestic tinplate mills and end maker Baofeng, as well as players in Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Vietnam, India, Iran and Russia. Keenson’s latest export sale was to the UK where a coil cutting line was successfully at tinplate supplier William Corbett of Ammanford in South Wales.

Keenson have recently developed a magnetic stacker on its coil cutting line in order to meet an Indonesian customer’s requirements for high quality tinplate sheets for use on his seven-colour printing machine.

* Hangzhou Taihai Easy Open End Technic Co trades in easy-open ends and makes tabstock with hot-dip galvanised steel from Baosteel, Jinan, and Wuhan Iron and Steel Company.

* Ever Bright International Trade Co makes impact-extruded aluminium aerosol cans and bottles at two plants in Zhejiang province and one in Shanghai. The company also exports monobloc cans from Oriental and China Aluminum Cans.