In this second report from Cannex & Fillex in Guangzhou, the emphasis is on the growing number of equipment suppliers from Asia looking to broaden their horizons. Paul Hill and Peter Brown report
Cannex & Fillex Asia Pacific held in China this year proved more than ever the strength of the global canmaking equipment manufacturers that are increasingly widening their ranges of products, while developing new technologies and services to meet emerging needs in growing markets.
The domestic markets for canned products in China and around Asia are the fastest growing in the world. This has lead to increasing investment by canmaking equipment manufacturers in Asia in developing their products and services. This has also made their offerings more appealing on an international platform.
In this latest report, we look at some of the companies and developments from Asia that are attracting interest from around the world.
With a new combination machine for three-piece paint cans on display and ready to be shipped to Italy after this year’s Cannex show, China-based Boda Machinery is planning further expansion into Europe.
Parker Chan, export manager for the machinery manufacturer, explained that following its first European order from Blechwarenfabrik Limburg in Germany in 2016, it has been focusing on the European market, with a machine installation also planned at an Ardagh canmaking facility in the UK.
“This combination machine on display can produce up to 300 cans per minute, and is one of an increased number of orders in Europe. China is still where we do most of our business but we are gradually increasing our European sales figures,” Chan explained.
Founded in 1992, Boda was formerly known as San Yuan Machinery and Hang Seng Machinery, and now is a member of the ZheJiang Wise Group. Its factory covers 7,000 square metres, with the business producing more than 80 machines per year.
As the Chinese canmaking market matures, capacity becomes saturated and business becomes more competitive, China-based Zhoushan Jinjiao Machinery is also putting in place a strategy to expand internationally. Its sales manager, Huang Hai Song, said: “We now have sales in Russia, Turkey, Poland, Australia, Thailand and The Philippines.”
Domestic business has been good for the company so far this year. “In 2017 we sold 32 machines and if we carry on at our current rate we will be up by 30 percent at the end of this year.”
Zhoushan Jinjiao’s product range includes lid production lines, aerosol cone and dome production lines and two-piece canmaking machines for drawn food cans.
Chinese aluminium canstock manufacturer Betterlid Packaging plans to look at new markets in South East Asia once it has completed the construction of a new facility at Taishan in the Guandong province of China in October.
“We plan to explore South East Asia, followed by the Middle East and eventually Latin America,” a spokesman said. “We hope to increase our yearly revenue growth from 20 percent to 30 percent once the new plant is in operation.”
Betterlid, located at Jiangmen, produces canstock for aluminium easy-open ends and tabs. It currently has eight production lines and 150 employees.
Another two companies with their eyes firmly set on Europe are Chinese machinery manufacturer Golden Eagle and container testing equipment specialist Singapore Estes Engineering, which through their collaborative venture is helping them to remain competitive in the market. Commenting on its future plans, Frank Chen, who is export director for Golden Eagle and also managing director for Estes, said that both businesses would continue their strategic partnership, which had existed for more than 10 years. There are plans to open a new base in eastern Europe in the next year, he revealed, saying that cost, efficiency and logistics are the reasons behind the move.
Chen also remarked on growing demand for inspection equipment in the Asian markets. He said the two firms have already invested $20-25 million in manufacturing equipment, most of which is sourced in Europe.
David Fang, sales manager for Shenzhen Youpeng Packaging Products revealed that the company is expanding from making rectangular two-piece food cans for the meat, fish and fruit markets with the option of easy-open or peel-off ends into offering complete canmaking lines as part of a move into the international arena.
Fang says Youpeng has developed a patented process for making aluminium bowl cans, which are popular in China and capitalise on the popularity of portable and convenient canned food.
Meanwhile, Golden Wing Machinery said that it was about to deliver the 200cpm production line for paint cans it had on display to an Indian customer after the show. It also reported that an Iranian customer was expected to sign a deal for two more lines during the show.
Growth prospects in China
The fancy can market has been very profitable for Heisun, which specialises in making feeders for press lines, with the Chinese business having taking advantage of a gap it identified in the market over the past 18-24 months.
“There is strong demand in the domestic market in China for high quality fancy cans made in small production runs,” said Heisun’s sales director, Barton Lei: “This includes a whole range of products, including gift boxes and biscuit tins.”
Another company looking for continued growth opportunities in China is Haikou Hongbang.
Haikou’s director, Li Qing Hong, used Cannex to investigate new business opportunities to help maintain the company’s rapid growth. “If we continue 2018 as we started it, then we are set for 30 percent growth compared with the previous year,” Li said.
The company will continue to focus its investments on innovation and automation, he revealed. “These are the two main trends in the canmaking market at the moment,” he added.
Haikou Hongbang claims to be one of the largest suppliers of production lines for three-piece beverage cans in China. It also claims to have designed the first fish can production line with a speed of more than 500cpm, as well as the first three-piece drinks can line running at more than 500cpm.Following business it received at Cannex, Yongxin reported that it would be delivering the automatic square can seamer it had on show to fellow Chinese business Kon Zi Jiao. The machine will be used to make five-gallon paint cans at a rate of 30-35cpm. Yongxin’s machines are widely used in the production of food, chemical and biscuit cans.
Technology on display
Showcasing its machine for making peelable ends at Cannex, Solid Intelligent, based at Hangzhou, Zhejiang, was promoting a number of improvements. “I feel very positive about the canmaking industry and this machine in particular, which has enhanced safety features compared to the former model,” the company’s chief engineer said.
The machine makes aluminium foil easy-peel ends with a safety inner roll. It also features a touch screen for inputting and displaying a variety of data.
Solid Intelligent has an active R&D department which is developing ‘intelligent’ machines for non-standard food packaging. Its equipment is widely used in the food, beverage, healthcare, medicine, pesticide and chemicals sectors.
Making its first appearance at Cannex was CB Ceratizit, a newly-created joint venture that claims to be the market leader in Asia for the supply of carbide blanks and wear parts for cutting tools.
The joint venture is between Taiwan-based CB Carbide and Luxembourg-based Ceratizit, which between them boast more than 130 years of experience in the use of tungsten carbide.
With 48 facilities around the world, CB Ceratizit says it can provide a local service.
Products offered by CB Ceratizit that are specific to canmaking processes include tooling for cuppers, bodymakers and neckers.
Key strengths of the joint venture are quality control and traceability of its products, along with the monitoring of powder from its supplier through all steps in the production process.
Synthetic mats cut costs
The energy savings that are possible on D&I canmaking lines by converting the mats used in internal bake ovens is shown on an on-line calculator provided by US-based Integrated Packaging Solutions (IPS).
Launched at the show, IPS’s MatCONVERSION service changes stainless-steel mats to synthetic mats, with energy savings possible because the metal mat is not being heated and cooled within the bake oven cycle for beverage cans. The synthetic mat requires less energy to move and doesn’t absorb heat.
Just how much the savings can be is shown in the calculator by inserting details of a canmaker’s IBO such as length, width, temperature profile and yearly use in hours. The calculator shows the possible savings in US dollars.
Also offered by IPS is StripAIR, which by replacing the existing stripper air plumbing on a cupping press, energy saving are made by recycling the air.
IPS provides a range of auxiliary products and services to beverage can plants. One of its latest products is an internal spray machine for beverage cans that runs at up to 1,000 cpm.
Taking a lead in filling
A range of can filling equipment was on offer from Leadworld Machinery Technology based in Shanghai. While it is capable of supplying complete lines for canning fruit and vegetables, and drinks bottling lines, all the way to the palletiser, at Cannex Leadworld was showing a washing machine using magnetic conveyors to feed food cans through prior to filling. Although it has high-pressure standard nozzles, the washer is suitable for cans with ring-pull ends fitted prior to filling from the bottom. Leadworld Machinery Technology was established in 2009 and last year had sales of US$15 million.