Last month’s Cannex & Fillex was the biggest canmaking industry show ever held in Asia. Printz Holman, Paul Hill and Peter Brown report from Guangzhou
Even as Dr Li Jian Hui, deputy director of the Civil Affairs Bureau of Guangdong Province, along with dignitaries and representatives from the global canmaking industry, cut the tape to officially open Cannex & Fillex, it had already beaten the previous show held three years earlier.
That made the show the biggest-ever canmaking event held in Asia, with more than 200 exhibiting companies offering technology, equipment and services, and reaffirms Asia as a key growth market for metal packaging.
It was the fourth time that Cannex & Fillex has been held in Guangzhou.
Since 1994, Cannex & Fillex has been hosted in countries that also include Thailand, USA, Netherlands, Singapore and Australia.
Here in this first of two reports are a few of the highlights.
CMB gears up for reformat bodymaker launch
Cannex & Fillex in China was used by CarnaudMetalbox Engineering (CMB) to present the latest chapter in its reformat brand story, in which the design of its product range is being overhauled with the objective of reducing the need for human interaction by introducing smart technology and intelligent direct drives into its equipment.
The first machine to be updated was the 3200 reformat inside spray machine, shown at Cannex in 2016. This was followed by the reformat decorator now undergoing final tests in CMB’s manufacturing facility in Shipley, UK. Once completed, the machine will be installed in a Crown canmaking plant for commissioning.
Along with previously announced features such as remote servo-controlled plate registration, the reformat decorator’s condition monitoring facility now includes a check mode that may be used for purposes such as recommending when a mandrel needs attention.
CMB has also worked with Roeslein to fit the decorator with an inker chiller featuring nine temperature controlled zones. This will ensure that individual inks are applied at their optimum temperatures, which should permit a finer quality of printing to be achieved.
Having revealed the first two reformat machines to the canmaking world, CMB is now preparing for an expected 2019 launch of its A-drive bodymaker at Cannex & Fillex in Denver. This will feature a new version of the hypocycloid drive.
Designed around 30 years ago by Don Haulsee for use on the Reynolds Mk4 bodymaker, the hypocycloid drive was subsequently licensed to several equipment manufacturers and remains in production to this day. Haulsee is the chief executive of Straight Line Drive (SLD) and a collaboration between his company and CMB Engineering is now enabling Haulsee to achieve a long-held ambition to improve this drive by drawing on his extensive experience with the Reynolds Mk4.
Although information about the A-drive bodymaker has been restricted, the placing of it within the reformat brand confirms that there will be an emphasis on smart technology, energy efficiency, remote monitoring, fewer mechanical parts and a lower requirement for operator input.
SLD, which exhibited alongside CMB Engineering at Cannex, was promoting its recently introduced S-drive which is designed as a retrofit for all current bodymakers.
SLD’s operations chief Lee Vanatta reported on operating results from the nine drives that are presently installed in canmaking facilities. These confirm a noticeable reduction in tool usage, speed increases of up to 66cpm, a drop of 60-70 percent in tear-off rates and lower operating costs of up to 15 percent (depending on the bodymaker and the drive that is being replaced). The savings are mostly attributed to reduced oil and electricity consumption as a result of the drive having a lower mass and up to two-thirds fewer parts.
Vanatta said that alongside these advantages, the S-drive will increase the life of a bodymaker by 15 years. “We truly feel we have made a step change in bodymakers.”
Stolle Machinery opens service centre in China
Canmaking machinery specialist Stolle Machinery officially opened a new service centre at Foshan in China last month, coinciding with the Cannex & Fillex show in nearby Guangzhou.
The facility, which will represent an investment of RMB 20 million ($3.2m) this time next year when it is fully operational, is already receiving orders from canmakers. Stolle Machinery, based in Denver, Colorado, is a leading manufacturer of process equipment used on beverage and food can production lines.
Serving canmakers mostly in China, the facility will concentrate initially on rebuilds, technical services and training before moving on to production of machinery. The Foshan site is planning to reach sales of $20m in its second year and sales of $50m in five years’ time.
Factors that influenced Stolle in setting up the facility in Foshan, a prefecture-level city in Guangdong, were that it was close to the free trade zone, had good logistical links and could fulfill Stolle’s requirements for a strong supply chain.
The site will be managed by Arnaldo Costa, who remains general manager of Stolle Brazil, aided by vice president China sales and operations, Qiong Liu. Stolle is renting the 4,300sqm site, with an option to expand to almost 10,000sqm. Qiong Liu said that renting rather than owning the site reflected Stolle’s philosophy to invest in people and machinery.
Costa and Liu said the aim of the Chinese facility is to replicate the model of Stolle’s facility based in Brazil. However unlike that site which has an international remit, it will focus solely on servicing the Chinese market in which it already has a strong foothold.
“When it comes to process issues or any kind of need, we want customers to automatically think of Stolle Machinery,” said Costa.
Canmaking environment better than ever
In contrast to the negative press coverage that plastics packaging is receiving, the canmaking sector continues to experience rude health, said Richard Colborne, director of sales for Europe with Crabtree of Gateshead in the UK, and this has been reflected in the market for their metal decorating equipment.
“Business has been going well. For example, we recently won our first order in Iran, with a company purchasing our FastReady4 machine: an upgrade on the previous Gen3,” said Colborne. “This release has been designed specifically for metal with flat sheet travel throughout. This makes it ideal for a wide range of stock thicknesses and it is suitable for both tinplate and aluminium.”
New customer haul for metal decorating specialist Ruiyuan
Cannex & Fillex proved to be highly successful for China-based metal decorating equipment manufacturer Shanghai Ruiyuan Printing.
“Cannex has again proven to be very fruitful for us. We continue to exhibit here every three years as it has a very positive effect on our business,” said Ruiyuan chairwoman Jian Mei Chen. “For example, we are hoping to expand globally and this show is great for building up contacts with companies from Europe and the US.”
Chen reported new customers from Europe, the Middle East and Indonesia in the early stages of the show. Chen added that robotics and intelligence were the two main trends in the industry right now, with the company’s R&D focusing on these areas: “We spend five percent of our overall budget on R&D and these two key trends are helping to reduce overall costs to ourselves and our customers.”
Ruiyuan was established 20 years ago in Shanghai. It has been evolving its product line of sheet metal decorators (with up to six colour units), coating machines, curing ovens, UV coaters, UV curers, PET sheet laminators, and currently sells to 20 countries worldwide.
More investment in canmaking for Sandvik Hyperion Sandvik Hyperion
has moved its manufacturing plant in Brazil to a new location in São Paulo to meet growth in demand for carbide tooling in Latin America.
Lluis Minarro, segment manager of can tooling, said: “This investment adds to our previous expansion at our Barcelona facility in 2016. There are a lot of opportunities for us in the canmaking market with growth and innovation in new can formats, such as slim and sleek cans.”
Turnkey future for general line canmaking
Turnkey projects are the future for the food and general line canmaking industry, with demand continuing to rise, said Brook Lin, vice president of China-based RIC Package.
RIC has plans to set up a sales service centre in every continent to support its global expansion programme, Lin reported. “We are already working in Russia, Vietnam and UAE, to name but a few countries,” he said.
With the Changzhou-based firm’s One Stop Project offering, it will provide a service in which it supplies process machines according to requirements, along with technical training, plant management, all raw material supply and an aftersales long-term guarantee.
RIC Package used the Cannex & Fillex show to display its machinery for making two-piece drawn cans, twist-off caps, general line caps and aerosol cones and domes, and to promote its multistage moulding line for making food and general line ends at up to 800 per minute, complete with inspection, stacking and packing.
Two-piece food cans are the focus for Hanjiang
Guangdong-based China Hanjiang has switched its focus to offering complete production lines for two-piece cans, as the market for three-piece welded food cans in China has become saturated.
Hanjiang’s chairman Huang Ruilong explained that his business was shifting its attention to two-piece drawn cans. “With the three-piece can machinery market saturated, two-piece cans will be more profitable and will better meet consumer needs,” he said.
“Although we are still very much involved in the three-piece market, the two-piece can is now our main focus,” said Ruilong. “For example, we recently sold two-piece canmaking equipment to ORG Packaging and to a subsidiary of Cofco. Two-piece cans such as bowls are growing at a fast rate in the local market. Cans are also becoming smaller, and this lends itself to
two-piece production rather than three-piece welding lines.
“As part of this evolution we are continuing to construct our 60,000sqm facility at Shantou, which will be complete in five years at a cost of US$30m.”
Hanjiang Light Industry Machinery was established in 1992 in Shantou in the Guangdong Province of China and its equipment covers the beverage, food, milk powder and chemical cans market.